The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of workers to work from home indefinitely. While most people see it as a superb benefit, some individuals find it challenging, including working parents. A recent Microsoft study found that more than half of parents in the U.S. find it difficult to balance work and household responsibilities while working from home. This caused productivity among working parents to drop by at least 2%. Working moms tend to suffer more from productivity loss than working dads due to household distractions, including childcare.
Parenting alone is not easy. But watching over your kids while working from home can be extra challenging. Fortunately, here are some parenting hacks that can help you balance work and parenting responsibilities at home:
1. Communicate with your partner and divide household responsibilities.
It takes two to tango, especially in parenting. If you’re living with a partner, discuss with each other your day-to-day responsibilities at work. After that, create a plan on how you can divide and take turns in doing household chores. For instance, your partner can watch over your kids while you attend virtual meetings and vice versa. Try to find common ground where both of you can balance work and parenting tasks effectively.
If you’re a single parent, ask other family members to watch over your children while you work. You can also communicate with your supervisor to manage workload expectations, especially when you’re living alone with your children.
2. Prepare a schedule and plan for interruptions.
Create a daily routine that will incorporate both your work assignments and household responsibilities. This will help you manage your time more effectively and plan for unprecedented interruptions. Additionally, establishing a routine for your kids helps them feel secure and teach them to do things on their own. This can free up some of your time that will let you do more work or household tasks.
3. Designate a kid-free zone.
It is highly likely that your kids will interrupt you during calls, especially when you’re working in a common area at home. Having a designated workspace and house rules in place can help you limit these distractions.
Set your boundaries by telling your kids to stay away from your work area during working hours. Let them know that they can interrupt you only if it’s something urgent. You can also post signage outside your room to let them know that you’re in a meeting. Dividers can also prevent unwanted distractions while you work in the kitchen or in the living room. But make sure to check in on them from time to time, especially when no one is watching over your kids.
4. Create activities for your kids while you work from home.
Most schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has forced children to be homeschooled for the time being. While this may come as an extra task for parents, keeping your children busy with schoolwork can help you get more work done at home.
Maximize your time for work while your children take their online classes. Plan some indoor activities such as arts and crafts. Let them watch educational shows to keep them preoccupied while you work. You can also let them play in the backyard, but make sure to have some safety measures in place. Residential fences can keep your toddler from going outdoors, while an in-house security camera will let you monitor their activities.
5. Set goals for them and recognize their good behavior.
Create a to-do list for your kids and praise them for their little achievements. Not only does this keep them busy for the day, but this can also boost their morale. Giving your children simple tasks can make them feel that they have accomplished something.
Aside from this, praising your children for their positive behavior can do wonders in child discipline. This encourages them to repeat the same behavior and avoid actions that do not gain positive feedback.
6. Spend some time with them.
A busy work schedule should never be an excuse not to spend time with your kids. Make them feel valued and loved by making time for them amid your busy day. Take frequent breaks to check in on them. Make sure to still have lunch or dinner with them. Help them with their homework once you’re done for the day. Ask them how their day went before putting them to bed.
Working from home with kids can be overwhelming, but it’s possible. Find out what works for your household and stick to it. Following these tips could help you figure things out and make your life easier. Lastly, working from home is a privilege, so take it to your full advantage.