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11 tips (and resources) for working from home with kids

work from home with kids tips resources daiga-ellaby
  1. Create a routine. For younger kids especially, try to mimic their school routine – include free play, outdoor time, worksheets, art/crafts time, music time, quiet/solo reading time, snacks & meals, etc. Make sure kids are aware of the routine for the day by posting a customized routine chart – they thrive knowing what to expect. Here is a resource for free printable routine cards.

  2. Share the load. Take turns scheduling time blocks of work and kid time with your partner. Have an easy to recognize sign so kids know which parent is “on-duty.” This could be an actual sign on an office door or even something like a hat if the working parent is not in an isolated location of the house.

  3. Communicate. Make sure your partner knows your work schedule, whether you have pressing deadlines and when you will need them to be the go-to parent. And loop your kids in too. Let them know you need 20 minutes of quiet to get something accomplished and set a timer so you both stay accountable.

  4. Be open and honest. Let your team know what to expect if you’re working from home with kids. For example, tell them they may hear a kid in the background during a conference call or ask them for help with client communication if you’re unable to take a call at a certain time because of your children’s schedule. And thank your team for supporting you while you navigate a new situation!

  5. Make the most of quiet moments. Strategically plan meal times, screen time, naps and activities that engage your kids (i.e.  quiet time for you) so that they align with internal calls, meetings or time for focused work.

  6. Work an alternate schedule. If possible, coordinate with your employer to work alternative hours – early morning and evening time when kids are more likely to be asleep.

  7. Set goals. It can get overwhelming having kids and work all in your home at once. Set one goal for each category daily to help you feel focused and accomplished. For example: read a book with the kids, unload the dishwasher and tackle part of a project.

  8. Empower them. Set up a snack and drink station so even small kids can serve themselves. Do this with activities and household tasks or chores that they can own. If they are older, build details like taking the lead on cooking dinner into their daily schedule so they know what to expect and when.

  9. Have fun together. Set aside specific times of day to be fully present and engaged with your kids. Build this time into your daily schedule and use it as an opportunity to get all the extra energy out and really connect.

  10. Keep things calm(ish). Engage their minds and bodies throughout the day to help them release energy and stay entertained while creating opportunities for you to focus on work. Here are some strategies and resources:

    • Exercise & meditate. Make exercise a family activity, do it early in the day to help release energy and help manage anxiety or stress 
    • Plan for the crazy time of day. You’ll find those times of day where everyone gets cranky and things get chaotic. Prepare an activity that you know your kids will love for this time to calm things down.

    • Surprise them. Have a few surprise activities prepared for times when you need an uninterrupted moment. These should be things your kids will love, don’t get to play or do very often and you know will hold their attention (i.e., screen time, messy play, a favorite or special toy, etc.)

    • READ! Read together. Schedule quiet reading time for the whole family. Utilize read-aloud tools. Watch YouTube videos of authors reading their books. Here’s an awesome roundup from Growing Book by Book of online literacy tools.

    • Participate in fun online activities. Tons of museums, libraries and other institutions or organizations are hosting virtual tours or events like Lunch Doodles with Mo Williems from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Your local library branches and community centers might also have these kinds of online activities! Other resources:
    • Make use of self-guided activities where possible like printable worksheets related to their classroom work, online learning opportunities or hands-on activities. Here’s a list of some resources:
      • Messy Motherhood created this excellent survival kit for kids home from school that includes tips for talking to kids about Coronavirus, ideas for how to stay calm, fun and free activities and at-home learning tools. 
      • Check out this roundup of 60+ free online learning resources from We Are Teachers. Popular educational game site for kids ages 2-8, ABCmouse.com is offering a free 30-day trial right now. 
      • Mommy Poppins’ Coronavirus Guide for Parents has hundreds of activities including  online learning tools, tutoring resources, science experiments, math games, fitness tips, sensory activities and more
      • Sign up for PBS KIDS Daily’s new weekday newsletter, complete with activity ideas. 
      • Amazing Educational Resources created this comprehensive list of education companies offering free subscriptions because of COVID-19. Note: this is a giant list, plan to sift through it to determine the best resources for you. 
      • Start following age-appropriate Instagram accounts or blogs. For young kids, our favorites are @handsonaswegrow, @dayswithgrey and @homeschoolingideas or educational accounts like these with info that will appeal to older kids and spark conversation.
      • Dig into the Smithsonian’s seemingly endless educational resources that will appeal especially to older kids. 
      • Khan Academy has courses for every age and subject and is an incredible resource for starting to homeschool. 

11. Above all else, have patience and grace. This is uncharted territory for both you and your kids. There will be a few bumps in the road, but eventually, you will get into a routine that fosters a connection between your family and allows you time for focus and productivity. You got this.

Belle Communication

Belle Communication is a digital PR, influencer and social media firm based in Columbus, Ohio. With Belles from coast-to-coast in six states, the firm serves the restaurant, food + beverage, tourism and business service industries, and has partnered with more than 70 brands. As a WBENC-certified Women’s Business Enterprise, Belle is an all women team that ties PR to business goals through a smart, savvy approach.

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