Ah summer break! How wonderful is that? If you’re a work at home parent, you may run into a few stumbling blocks when it comes to working AND having your kids home from school. These experts give their advice and share some of their experiences with trying to juggle working from home and parenting. Do you have any tips to share? Comment below!
- Use the Pomodoro Method for yourself and your kids!-One of the simplest and most effective things I use to stay on task is the Pomodoro Method. The best thing about using the Pomodoro Method with kids is how tangible it is for them. They can see the timer counting down and know that at some point in the very near future, they’ll be done with the task. Kids need a light at the end of the tunnel to keep their spirits up.
- Have a plan and stick to it. -Have a plan for your week that includes realistic goals. At the end of each day, run over the following day’s plan. Having your goals in mind helps keep you motivated and focused on your priorities. People who set goals and have a plan for accomplishing them are more efficient, productive, and successful. I find having a written plan, with priorities for each day, helps me stay productive even on days when I’m unmotivated. All I have to do is work the plan.
- Get up and work in the early morning hours. –Having kids at home means constant interruptions. I’ve found getting up and working from 5-8 am helps me get 2-3 solid hours before the kids roll out of bed. It’s invaluable to have a solid chunk of quiet time to start the day. I use that time to concentrate on my top 3 goals for the day and am usually able to get to at least two of them done. If you aren’t accustomed to getting up early, start by going to bed an hour earlier and getting up an hour earlier and work your way backward until you’re satisfied. If you’re able to get several hours in before the kids wake up, you can spend some time in the afternoon engaging with the kids without feeling guilty or stressed that your work isn’t getting done.
- If you don’t already, get blackout curtains for your little one’s room so you can get an early start to the workday before they wake up. My early bird will rise with the sun otherwise!
- Summer camps often have half day or partial week programs in our area, so if you have the financial resources, scope out your local park district or YMCA and choose days when they are going to the pool or on a field trip to run down their little batteries so they get to sleep on time (again, blackout curtains will be your best friend with the longer daylight hours in the summer) and you can jump back on your computer after they go to bed.
- Set up a “Mommy and Me” desk and stock up their space with coloring pages, crafts, crayons, and a tablet or Chromebook so they can “work” while you work. You can take it a step further and ask them to “help” on a project and assign them the task of making some artwork for your workspace or other age appropriate task.
- Rediscover your local library. Most have summer reading clubs with fantastic reward systems, Kids’ Corners with play areas, computers, puzzles and and even age-appropriate activities during the week to that can provide entertainment while you work through your inbox on your cell phone. Bonus: it’s educational and free!
- If you can, block time in your calendar to play with your kids uninterrupted. They are only little once, and it really is quality of playtime versus quantity. If your little one is old enough to understand, letting them know when you’ve scheduled your uninterrupted time to play will make them feel important and set expectations so they aren’t wondering “what’s next?”
Mana Bhatt Sanghvi
Website : Sittereco
- Create a tight schedule during windows of opportunity (naptime, after bed at night)
- Secure a sitter for a few hours to give yourself flexibility and maximize productivity
- Engage your kids in your work if they are older – you may inadvertently inspire them and get some help as a result!
Website: Jewish Gift Place
- Put in more time earlier in the morning and later at night.
- Be realistic with your commitments. You will be getting less done during the summer than during the school year.
- Accept that you will have to do some work while on vacation.
- Hire help. Hire a freelancer and/or a housekeeper to give you more time to get the important work done that is necessary to maintain and grow your business.
Website: No Mo Nausea
1. Create a routine. Kids have had a routine all year long, make the transition into summer smooth by keeping a routine going.
2. Block your work into chunks so that you are able to enjoy the summer with your kids as well. If possible, get a chunk of work done in the early morning hours before the kids are out of bed, do another chunk after lunch while keeping the kids busy with a quiet activity such as reading time, quiet play time in their room, art time, etc. Try to schedule another block after dinner or after your significant other is home to help.
3. Team up with a friend who also works from home, or is a stay at home parent. You can take all of the the kids for few a hours, and then your friend takes them for a few hours so you get some time completely uninterrupted. It’s a win for everyone!
Varda Meyers Epstein
“My biggest issue with working at home over the summer is the noise. I’m a writer and I simply can’t work in a noisy environment, and let’s face it, kids are noisy when they’re home on summer vacation. My solution is to set the kids up in the living room in front of my PC (where I usually work) with treats and a movie, while I work on my laptop in my bedroom. There’s a hallway with a door between living room and bedroom so with both that door and the door to my bedroom closed, and the fan on full blast, it’s quiet enough for my purposes and thought process.”
Note From Leslie:
My kids are gone now, but I spent many summers and other breaks juggling work and parenting. It was difficult because my whole purpose for working at home was to be available to them. But I couldn’t simply slack off and not work simply because the kids were home. For me the answer came with extreme routine, a to-do list, and making sure I set aside time each day to do something with the kids. I also had them come up with projects to do over the summer, so they were busy with something other than TV or gaming while I worked. My kids planted butterfly gardens, learned to bake and much more, all while I was working at home.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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