The need to work from home has only grown as more parents find it much more convenient and effective compared to commuting to work every now and again. The main hinderance to this setup is when you have kids as taking care of them while working isn’t easy.
While handling a baby (less than a year old) or bigger kid (above 5 years) is easy since the former isn’t mobile and the latter can take care of themselves, toddlers (5 to 5 years) can move around yet can’t fully control their actions. Your attention will thus be needed to both be a good parent and a good worker.
The solution to working from home with toddlers is proper planning. You’ll have to work with their sleep cycle, learn how to keep them safe and make the most of the time you have on your own. The best takeaway from all this is to always do one thing at a time. That way, both your work and the toddler will have your undivided attention.
Working from Home with Toddlers: The Tips
Before taking your work home, always inform your boss and colleagues that there is a kid in your life that may divert your attention every now and again. Even then, don’t get frustrated that you can’t work as much as you do at the office since you simply can’t. The tips here are meant to help you overcome this frustration and still manage to work with your child around.
The tips on how to work from home with toddlers include the following:
1. Get Up Before the Toddler
Whether you’re a morning person or not, the best way to stay in control of your work and parenting is to wake up before the toddler. This gives you a head start in your work as you can use that time to tackle the most attention-demanding parts of your work before the toddler gets up.
You can reply to emails, delegate some tasks and clean up the house. You can also prepare the meals for the day to save on time when working and parenting. It’s also a good time to plan out the rest of the day in a proper manner.
2. Make the Most of Nap Time
First of all, you need to make sure your child has a well-enforced sleeping routine. Besides helping the child to develop better, sleep also helps you work without distractions or worry. You should go for long nap times such as 2 to 3 hours as most toddlers easily sleep for this long.
During the child’s nap, you can focus on your work until they wake up again. Keep in mind that most toddlers will sleep in the afternoon after lunch. Preparing for this period will be productive on your end.
3. Encourage the Toddler to Play on their Own
Encouraging your toddler to engage in independent play helps them grow into independent individuals and aids their development in general. Besides that, it gives you the chance to focus on your work without distractions.
You can be working in one corner as your child is busy with their toys just beside you. That way, you can keep them safe without being fully involved in their activities. This has the benefit of giving you time to work without risking the child to any injuries.
4. Use A Babysitting Swap Setup
If you know another parent with a kid working from home, doing a babysitting swap is a great way to have some quality working time. To do this, one of you takes the other’s child and babysits both of them as the other one works. This arrangement can be made either in a few hours or full days. Your partner can also do this with you to keep the child happy and provide time for the other to work.
5. Give Your Work and Toddler Undivided Attention
While chances are high that you’ll be dealing with your toddler and work almost at the same time, the best way to go about it is to give each your full attention. With toddlers, they’ll not stop until they get your full attention. If you give them that, they’ll be happy and can give you a few moments on your own.
The same goes with your work. If you want the best results, focus on it fully. You should thus focus on reinforcing the good behavior in the kid and discouraging the bad behavior to have the right attention for work and the child.
6. Let the Toddler Win
Toddlers can be quite clumsy. As such, they tend to fail at most simple tasks. This builds up frustration which leads to their demand for attention. To make them feel better and even behave as you want, give them small wins here and there.
Give them simpler tasks such as moving items from your container to the other. If they try to compete with you say by running away or hitting you with a pillow, let them win. Eventually, they feel good and make it easier dealing with.
7. Communicate Properly with the Toddler
Almost all toddlers don’t understand most words and trying to explain to them that you need a few minutes to work won’t stop them from screaming as you make that skype call to your clients. Instead, use gestures and other non-verbal cues to communicate with them.
Use faces, hand gestures and few words to explain your ideas in a playful way. If you notice the child is a bit frustrated, spend some time with them, calm them down before spending a few moments away. Use short phrases in a repeated way and always try to mirror their emotions for the best communication.
8. Have the Right Awareness
The awareness you need in this case is that of knowing what to do and when. For example, if you’re on a call with your office and your child starts yelling, it’s best to excuse yourself then mute the phone so that the rest of your colleagues don’t listen to your fight with your toddler.
9. Engage their Senses
The best way to keep the toddlers on their own for uninterrupted work is finding tasks they love then making them do them for a while. It could be simple painting, watching a movie, playing with (small amounts of) water and others. This way, they’ll focus on satisfying their senses are you work while watching over them.
10. Hire a Parent’s Helper or Babysitter
At times, the only solution to working from home is getting someone else to take care of the child as you work. It all depends on the nature of the job you have on your hands. For example, an artist will find it hard handling a toddler while creating a painting while a computer user can handle it quite well.
A babysitter will be available at most times while a parent’s helper can be coming to your home every now and again to lighten the load of parenting. For most people, the main hinderance to having either of them is the cost. However, if you can afford one, it’s a good way to make yourself more productive at home.
A partner can also help with this if they have some time off. Besides that, you can have your parents (the toddler’s grandparents) over for some time to help with the babysitting.
Toddlers are quite a handful if you don’t know how to properly deal with them. Their demand for attention is so high that they’ll even intentionally misbehave to get your attention. For this reason, give them attention every now and again to keep them calm. Above all else, make sure the child is kept safe from any hazards in the home.