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Working From Home With Kids: Tips For Managing Remote Work And Family

    A woman in black working from home with her kid playing in the foreground.

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    Meet Sarah, the Director of Marketing at a top advertising agency who is working from home with young kids. She exudes confidence and professionalism, with blonde hair and a trendy yet comfortable outfit. Her home office is immaculately designed, featuring a sleek white desk, an inspiring statement wall art. And a potted plant in the corner that screams “I have my life together.”

    As she sits down for her morning video call, she brushes a strand of perfectly styled blonde hair out of her face and takes a sip of her favorite morning beverage. But just as she begins to present her latest project proposal to a new client, chaos ensues. Her toddler bursts in wearing a superhero cape and a mischievous grin. As Sarah tries to usher him out of the room, her client chuckles and says, “Don’t worry, I have a two-year-old at home too. We’ve all been there!”

    If you can relate to Sarah’s struggle, you’re not alone. Working from home with kids is a unique challenge that many of us face. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find some humor in the situation. So grab a fresh cup of coffee (or reheated if that’s more your speed), and let’s explore some tips and tricks for navigating the wild world of remote work and family with kids of all ages.

    Blonde woman wearing glasses at home playing with her young child on a white couch.

    Challenges of Working from Home with Kids

    Let’s face it, working from home (WFH) with kids is hard. It’s not your fault. You’re not a bad parent or a bad employee. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many parents, especially women, to juggle the demands of remote work and caring for their children. The reality is that we’re all doing the best we can to adapt. But that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.

    Here are some practical tips to help you manage the challenges of working from home with kids. With a particular focus on three different age groups: toddlers aged 6 months to 5 years, children aged 5 to 9, and kids aged 9 to 12. We’ll also offer general advice for women working from home, including how to handle unexpected interruptions during online meetings and how to manage time effectively.

    One of the biggest challenges of working from home with kids is managing interruptions and distractions during work hours. To minimize these distractions, it is important to set boundaries and establish a routine. You may find it helpful to schedule your work tasks around your child’s schedule. However, communicate your availability to your employer and colleagues as best you can.

    Woman working from home on a laptop with her kid drawing with colored pens.

    Working from Home with Kids Ages 6 Months to 5 Years

    For parents with young children, the challenges of remote work can be especially difficult. Infants and toddlers require constant attention, and it can be hard to focus on work while also caring for them. Here are some tips for parents with young children:

    Create a schedule: Developing a routine can be helpful for both parents and children. Try to establish set times for work, play, and meals, and stick to them as much as possible. This will help children understand when it is time for them to engage in different activities and will also help parents to manage their time better.

    A woman in a black top sitting on the grass and playing with her young child.

    Take advantage of nap time: Infants and toddlers typically nap during the day. Use this time to tackle more demanding work tasks or attend important meetings. This can be the most productive time for parents to complete tasks that require their full attention.

    Set up a dedicated workspace: Having a designated workspace can help parents stay organized and focused. If possible, set up a separate room or area for work, where you can close the door to minimize distractions. This will also help create a boundary between work and home life.

    Managing WFH with Children (5 – 9 Years Old)

    Children aged 5-9 are more independent than younger children but still require supervision and assistance. Parents can try the following strategies to balance work and childcare:

    Establish a daily routine: Children thrive on routine, so establishing a consistent daily schedule can be helpful. This will help children know when they are expected to do homework or engage in other activities, giving parents more time to focus on work.

    Involve children in chores: Giving children age-appropriate chores not only helps to instill responsibility but can also give parents some much-needed time to work. For instance, children can help with setting the table, folding laundry, or cleaning up their toys.

    Set boundaries: Children in this age group can be very demanding, but it is essential to set boundaries with them. Parents can set aside specific times when they are not to be disturbed, such as during virtual meetings. Let children know that they should not interrupt you during those times, except in the case of an emergency.


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    Managing Remote Work with Pre-Teens (9 – 12 Years Old)

    Children aged 9-12 are more independent and may require less supervision than younger children. However, parents should still be available to support them as needed. Here are some tips for managing work and childcare:

    Encourage independence: Encouraging children to be independent can be helpful for parents who are working from home. Encourage your children to complete their homework or engage in other activities on their own. This will give parents more time to focus on work.

    Help with homework: While children in this age group are more independent, they may still need help with homework or other tasks. Parents can set aside specific times each day to help with homework or check in on their progress.

    Encourage physical activity: Encouraging physical activity is not only essential for children’s health, but it can also give parents some much-needed time to work. Encourage your children to engage in physical activities such as bike riding, playing outside, or going for a walk.

    General Tips for Working from Home with Kids: Time Management and Interruptions

    One of the biggest challenges of working from home with kids is managing interruptions and distractions during work hours. To minimize these distractions, it is important to set boundaries and establish a routine. You may find it helpful to schedule your work tasks around your child’s schedule. However, communicate your availability to your employer and colleagues as best you can.

    “Maria, a healthcare worker and mother of a young baby, struggled with the constant interruptions and distractions of working from home with a child. One day, during a video call with a patient, her baby started crying in the background. Instead of trying to hide it or apologize, Maria simply acknowledged the situation and explained that she was working from home with her child. To her surprise, the patient was understanding and even offered some tips on how to soothe a crying baby.”

    Another helpful tip is to create a designated workspace. This can help you stay focused and minimize distractions during work hours. You can also try using noise-cancelling headphones to help you stay focused during important tasks.

    Finally, it is important to remember that interruptions will happen. If your child interrupts you during an important call or meeting, try to remain calm and professional. Consider muting your microphone or using a virtual background to hide any background noise or chaos.

    Working From Home with Pets

    Working from home with pets can be just as challenging as working from home with kids. While they may not interrupt a video call with a noisy tantrum, they can still demand attention, distract us from work, and even cause chaos.

    For example, imagine you’re trying to finish up a report, but your cat jumps up on your desk and starts batting at your pen. Or your dog barks at every passing squirrel, making it impossible to hear your coworkers on a conference call. And let’s not forget about the occasional hairball or litter box odor that can make an unwelcome appearance in the background of a video call.

    Young woman in a white shirt and blue jeans working at home on an ipad with a brown cat on her couch.

    But despite the challenges, many of us wouldn’t have it any other way. Our pets provide comfort, companionship, and a much-needed break from the stress of work. And with a little creativity and patience, it’s possible to balance the needs of our furry friends with the demands of our jobs.

    So if you’re working from home with pets, don’t worry – you’re in good company. With a few tips and tricks, you can make it work and enjoy the best of both worlds.

    Man in a red t-shirt with a brown dog on his lap as he works on a desk.

    Managing Time between Work and Home-Life Activities

    Finally, managing time effectively is essential for parents working from home with kids. This might involve setting boundaries with work hours, delegating tasks, or creating a schedule that includes time for both work and family activities. It’s important to prioritize self-care and take breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout.

    You Can Do This!

    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many parents to balance remote work and childcare. Working from home with kids is not easy, but it is possible to find a balance with the right strategies and mindset. Whether you have a young toddler or a school-aged child, there are strategies you can implement to manage your time and responsibilities effectively.

    With patience, creativity, and a little bit of flexibility, you can thrive in your professional and personal roles while working from home with kids.

    Shaun Mendonsa, PhD is an influencing expert and pharmaceutical development leader. He writes on the topics of influence and persuasion, and develops next generation drugs in human pharma by advising international pharmaceutical CROs and CMOs. He can be reached at [email protected].


    Work From Home; Remote Work; Coronavirus Lockdown; Teenagers; Toddlers; Work-Life Balance; Pets

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