Tips for Working From Home (with Kids)

I’ve had the blessing and privilege of working from home for over 5 years now, and most of that time, we have also homeschooled our kids. So, while everyone else is adjusting to the new circumstances of attempting to slow down a pandemic, I’m in the curious situation of not having anything change much from my normal day to day.

Here are some tips based on the things I have learned. I’m not perfect, and so I don’t follow these tips 100% of the time myself, but when I do, my quality of life has been much, much higher.

Take daily walks outside

Preferably, get some sun. If it’s been dreary, take Vitamin D.

Have a dedicated space to work

Even if it’s just the corner of your bedroom. Leave your computer (and your work) in that space. It doesn’t belong in the living room, nor at the dinner table, nor in your bed.

Embrace interruptions from your kids

They are the main reason you are even working to begin with, so it is pretty silly to treat the thing you are doing on their behalf as more important than them.

Sometimes, you will have to buckle down and focus, so set those clear boundaries beforehand, but more often than not, they will not be interrupting something critical. Sometimes they just want to show you a picture they drew, and it takes less than 15 seconds.

Have a special hand signal to wave them off if you are on the phone. Lock your door. Whatever. This saves you from losing your patience and getting angry over dumb things.

And that’s it. Those are the tips, distilled down to the most critical.

Bonus Tip: Home Education

As a bonus, don’t expect your kids to keep to an extremely strict schedule while they are being educated at home. It just leads to your exasperation, and their frustration. Regimented schedules with strict time tables might be necessary when trying to wrangle large groups of children, with a high teacher to child ratio, but they don’t have to be the law of the land in your house.

It’s OK if they don’t start until 10:00 AM. It’s OK if they take a 2 hour break after lunch. It’s OK if you don’t cover every single subject every single day. It’s also OK if you go to a four-day school week. You are in charge. It’s your house. They’re your kids. Each one is different. Embrace the flexibility, and don’t let it break you. Maybe read to them out loud a little more.

It is truly amazing what a kid can learn and experience in just 2 hours in a given day. Don’t let the tyranny of mismatched expectations weigh you down.

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