How to Work From Home With Kids
Nurture your career as well as your family.
Remote-working parents faced with the challenge of managing childcare and their careers simultaneously have their days cut out for them. Knowing how to work from home with kids is not a superpower you must be born with, however. It's something you can develop and actually get better at.
As plenty of parents can attest, this struggle of balancing personal and professional lives is nothing new, but never was it more pronounced than in the COVID-19 pandemic and global shutdowns of 2020 when the home, office, school, and daycare are temporarily co-mingled.
If you’re among the employees whose position became entirely or at least partially remote for the foreseeable future, chances are you’ll be pulling double (or triple duty) by providing your own childcare and tutoring services.
These are some best practices that can better teach you how to work from home with kids so you can nurture your career as well as your family.
1. Create a Schedule
Start each morning by writing out a schedule for older kids, such as doing assignments, studying, and completing virtual classes online. If your kids are younger, create a schedule filled with activities like arts and crafts, virtual classes, and puzzles and games.
Try to mimic the schedule they have for the school day, but swap in virtual classes, textbooks and worksheets, and other learning activities so you don’t have to do your job and become an expert in advanced algebra.
2. Make Your Workday More Accommodating
If you’re working remotely with kids that need constant supervision and have a partner who is also working from home, take turns so you can each get some blocks of uninterrupted work time. One of you could work in the same room with the kids or do the activities with them, while the other works elsewhere.
If you’re a solo parent during the workday, talk to your manager and see about schedule flexibility and if you can work at different hours that are more convenient for you. You could wake up early and work before your kids wake up, work during their naptime, and log back on once your kids are asleep.
3. Create a Work Area
Your immediate environment plays a big part in learning how to work from home with kids. If possible, make one of the rooms of your home a temporary office. Put a sign on the door so people know that you are in a meeting or on a call. Use headphones for calls and mute yourself when you aren’t speaking so it is less noisy.
4. Be Open With Your Co-Workers
Chances are that at least one of your co-workers is also working from home and taking care of other loved ones in their lives, whether it is aging parents, children of their own, or a family member who is sick. Normally, you might be more private about sharing the details of your family life, but people have grown accustomed to a new normal.
Let co-workers know that there is a chance that your toddler will interrupt your video chat, that you need to take a family member to the hospital, or that you can’t make a particular meeting time. Be honest about deadlines and deliverables, and communicate if you think you need an extension or can’t complete something. Another team member might be able to help.
5. Take Breaks
Remote working with kids is no walk in the park. It’s draining to say the least, both emotionally, physically, and mentally. Know that it is okay if the school schedule goes out the window, screen-time increases for the entire family, or you aren’t as productive and focused as usual.
If you go on social media, it might seem like people have it all figured out—people share their homeschool schedules, their kids take video classes with grandparents and teachers, and they all cook a gourmet meal together each night. Try not to compare yourself; instead, focus on what is best for you and your family—even if that means taking a puzzle break after a conference call or turning on cartoons when you really need to finish your marketing report by the deadline.
Keep Your Career Moving Forward
Truth is there’s no secret to perfecting how to work from home with kids. It takes time and patience on everybody’s part. Want to learn more ways to keep your career front of mind? Monster can help. Join for free and we’ll send you get career advice and job search tips to help you stay centered while you’re juggling a million other things.