The end of the school year is near and working parents, who love their home office, will face a new set of challenges. The good news is that you will be spending more time with your kids. The not-so-good news is that distractions might be varied and many. Working remote has always had some challenges, but school vacation time adds to them.
Here are some tips that will help you and ways to get them accomplished:
- Make an adjustment to your schedule
- Schedule activities
- Make expectations clear
- Bring help in
- Involve the kids
- Play together
Make adjustment to your schedule
In order to be successful at getting your work done during the kids’ summer break, you must make changes to your schedule. If you are an early bird, start your day early in the morning before the kids get up to get more done. If you feel more productive at night, you can work late after the kids have gone to bed. Break up the rest of your day into blocks: work and play. Now is the best time to take advantage of time flexibility that comes with working from home.
Remember to take short breaks away from your work during the day. You can check in with the kids, while giving your eyes or back a rest from the screen.
Make expectations clear
Whether it’s hanging a sign like a traffic light on the door or having a discussion to tell the kids you will be working, you must talk to your kids and set expectations. Let them know that just because you work from home doesn’t mean your work is less important. Your boss or clients have expectations for you to get the work done on time. Most kids can understand that home can also be an office, and there are times when you’re available and times when you’re not.
A sign on the door might read:
- Red — do not enter, unless an “emergency”
- Yellow — interrupt if important
- Green — it’s okay to come in to talk, but you are working
If you block off the time during the day to spend with your kids, make sure you stick to your promise. Leading by example will set you up for success and give you leverage if at some point the kids stop following the rules.
Working from home can be as demanding as working in the office. However, you can still schedule time with your kids during the work week. Set a time and take them out to the park or a fun learning museum. Taking this time out will refresh you as well as give your kids important family time. Being your own boss offers rewards when it comes to time management as well as time with family.
Consider getting the kids involved in activities, such as full-time or half-day camps, to give you time at home alone. Day camps, YMCA activities and play dates are on the list for many parents. Involve the kids in choosing the activities so they have a great time and experience the stimulation that can be missed during less-active summer months.
Offer to swap days with other work-at-home parents. It gets the kids out of the house to hang out with their friends, while you get the work done at home.
Some kids will enjoy having quiet time at home to work on their own projects, such as puzzles, writing or drawing. Create a schedule for them to follow, which may include craft time, screen time, chore time (depending on age). These activities will not need supervision.
Involve the kids
There may be certain aspects of your work that the kids can do, such as having older kids do sorting, filing or organizing. Most kids enjoy helping out especially with work-related tasks. They may also have the tech skills that will surprise you. Kids these days can help you add content to your website, do research or navigate social media for marketing ideas. From editing videos to shredding papers, kids will enjoy contributing to your work.
Bring help in
Hire temporary childcare or help with the housework if you are able. Outsourcing chores can make life less stressful, making the home look less chaotic while you are free to get your work done. Moreover, a babysitter or nanny can take the kids out to the park or a movie, making your home quieter and more conducive to getting work done.
Neighborhood teens and students from college enjoy the chance to earn some extra money and might be able to watch your kids some of the time while you are working. This should cost less than traditional day care or camp.
Don’t be afraid to call on grandparents or other family members if you need some quiet time. The kids may enjoy the adventure of a sleepover.
Working remotely at home can have its benefits year-round even when the kids are home from school. The main takeaway here is planning. Spend some time prepping and brainstorming ideas, research activities, and figure out the schedule that works for you and your family. Having the kids know the boundaries and allowing time for fun should create a happy home and a productive and stress-free summer for you.