Wednesday, June 13, 2018
How to Work When the Kids Are Home Too
School is winding down around here, so that means the kids will soon be home for two months. For a writer, that can bring with it challenges. During the school year, the kids are gone for six or more hours a day. Summer comes and suddenly your time is no longer your own. You want to spend time together. They want you to drive them places. How can the work-from-home parent manage it all?
Working from home, while the kids are there too, doesn’t have to mean burning the midnight oil just to keep up with your to-do list. Here are a few ways you can remain productive, keep the kids occupied, and still leave room for family time.
Adjust Your Schedule
I'm a firm believer that productivity is tied to finding a work schedule that is best for you. With the kids home, however, that schedule might not be practical.
Consider getting up a bit earlier than usual. While this might not be easy all year long, it is a temporary solution that can help you accomplish your weekly goals. Make sure you continue to take advantage of time spent in waiting rooms or at your child's practice (for us it's soccer) to get additional work done.
Take More Frequent Breaks
While it might seem counterproductive to take more breaks during the day, you’ll get more done if you don’t have to listen to, “I’m bored!” every five minutes.
Set a timer. When it goes off, put your work down and spend time with the kids. Read, have a picnic lunch in the backyard, or play a game together.
Easy Arts and Crafts
Nowadays, there are so many arts and crafts kits available, and ideas on blogs or Pinterest, that there is bound to be something your children will like.
A good way to transition from family time back to work time is to have arts and crafts set out for the kids. When you’re done playing, let them choose what they want to create. Read the instructions together and then let them know you need to work until the timer rings again. Make sure to have other simple activities such as molding clay, paints or coloring books and crayons available in case they get bored with what they are working on.
If they distract you, remind them that you can’t be interrupted until the timer goes off. As long as you consistently get up and spend time with them when promised, the kids will learn to respect your work schedule.
Mommy’s or Daddy's Little Helpers
Young children love to help out. Take advantage of this by allowing them to dust or sweep the floor. Will it be perfect? No. But it will be good enough. Older children can do the laundry, wash dishes, empty the trash or clean the living areas so that you can spend more time together later.
I wasn't always a huge fan of play dates. Spending time dropping off the kids and then driving home, not to mention wasting time talking with another parent during drop off and pick up, seemed counterproductive. But even one hour of uninterrupted time can make a difference in how much you accomplish.
Schedule regular play dates throughout the summer. This will keep kids in touch with their friends, and parents who take turns hosting play dates at their houses get some much needed relief. Day camps can also be a chance for your children to interact with their peers while allowing you the freedom to work without guilt.
Summer is a fun time for families. It can also be a productive season for you. With a few simple changes, you can work at home even when the kids are there too.
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and the recently released, Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com