5 Ways to Make Working at Home a Little Easier
Trying to work from home with children in the mix? Same here! Here are the 5 strategies we're practicing in our own homes as we try to balance work/family responsibilities:
1. Designate one space/room in your home as “the office”. Stock your work space with water, snacks, charging cords, and any other supplies you might need. Limiting the number of times you come in and out of the office will help your child remain engaged in play.
2. Use a visual door sign to distinguish when you’re in a meeting vs. available for quick visits. One side might include a drawing of you chatting on the phone, labeled MEETING. The other side could feature a drawing of you working on the computer and say COME VISIT. We often use the MEETING side because we have lots to get done, but welcome brief visits throughout the day- especially when these visits include snacks, cuddles, or coffee!
3. Commit to a family lunch break. If you're alternating work and childcare responsibilities with your partner, sit down every evening to plan who will be with the children and when. Try taking on entire workdays or large sections of the day, rather than switching back and forth every hour. Squeezing in a family lunch break each day is a valuable way to connect and catch up as a family before tackling the afternoon.
4. Create a basket/tray of “work” so an older child can occasionally join you in the office. My son (3.5 years old) simply wants to sit beside Dada while he works. We created a tray of "work" for him: sticker books, notebooks, and washable markers. Joining my husband for a mini work session or two helps him feel included. It's helpful to set clear expectations. "When this call is finished, you'll head back to the play room with Mama and Violet" or "Let's listen to two songs while we work and then you'll head back to the play room."
5. Shift hours to post-bedtime when necessary, but also schedule entire evenings off. Right now, the days feel long. The idea of shifting some work hours to post-bedtime probably sounds exhausting, but it may serve everyone well. I'm more present with my children during the day when I can rely on dedicated work time in the evening. Just be sure to schedule nights off, too!
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