How to work from home with kids during COVID-19 Outbreak
Photo Credit: Emily Jones with Sonoran Muses
Anyone that has ever tried working from home with kids knows how challenging this task truly is. Their needs change as they get older, yet they still crave our valuable time. Here are some tips to help you still get work done, yet also be a mom...and not lose your mind!
First of all, I would recommend having a family meeting to talk with your kids to explain what's happening. They don't need a lot of details, just help them to understand why they are home. Stay calm, be honest, and stick to the facts.
Here's a fun way to share how germs work:
1. Set up a family schedule! Many of us have a bit of a challenge never home schooling our kids before, so this will be critical in making sure we all keep on track and accomplish our assignments... work and school! I would recommend focusing hard for 45 minutes and then take a break.
Ideas for breaks:
a. Dance Party (put some great music on and dance together)
b. Walk or ride bike around the block
c. Make a fun snack
d. Go outside and pull 10 weeds each
e. Play with pets
f. Yoga a great way to decompress for both you and the kids. https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene
g. Color a page and yes this can be for you moms!
h. Write a note to someone, how about a pen pal?
i. If you play instruments, this is great break time fun.
Along with a schedule, make sure you have somewhere to work. We tend to gravitate to the table together, I do have a designated office so that does help a lot when I need to take calls or have quiet from all the teenage music in our house.
2. WORK while they SLEEP! Typically, when I work from home with the kids, it is summer time and is very hot in Tucson. We tend to go out during the evening, swim, and stay up late playing games and watching movies. But we are now in Spring and the weather is amazing. This makes it even more of a challenge to stay focused at home and not go out for fun. In my house, the kids sleep in and I take advantage of it. I get up and get coffee going, make my To-Do List, and start on the day. I knock out any paperwork/filing I need to do. I also take care of any virtual needs I may have. When they get up, I take a break and catch up with them for a bit. We make our plan for the day: find out what school assignments they have, find out how they can help around the house, and see what else they would like to do for the day. If your kids are little and still taking naps, use this time to get some work done...uninterrupted. (This is the best time to make calls with out noise in the background)
3. Quiet time with a Power Hour Box! I put this together when my kids were little and it worked like a charm. But it would work nicely for the older ones too, just use it with electronics.Put together a really fun box of surprise toys, coloring books, Legos, Play-dough, whatever they're into (older kids...electronics/TV). They can only play with the items while you are working for 1 Hour! If you are focused, you can get a ton done in 1 Hour. Customer Service calls, Follow Up Calls, Hostess Coaching or Booking Calls (if you're in Direct Sales), go Live on Facebook (if that's your flavor). Whatever you do with that 1 Hour that will give you maximum results.
4. Get a Baby Sitter! Yes I said it...sometimes you just need some help! Do NOT feel guilty about this! Get some of your friend's teenagers to come over. They can play with the kids while you get some work done. They can also do some light house work or an organization project to help you out. Pay them minimum wage, it will be worth every penny. If you're in Direct Sales and do parties, they can wrap door prize gifts and Hostess Packets too. They can take the kids outside to play or go to the park. If they are driving and you feel comfortable, have them take the kids somewhere if you need the quiet to do Conference Calls or whatever you need.
5. Child Swap with a Friend! Pick one day out of the week to have a play date at your house, then have the kids go over to your friend's another day. The kids can play and have fun while you get some work done. It's not perfect, but it does help. And...it doesn't cost money!
6. Involve the kids in your business! They can help put together info packets, put labels on brochures, organize something in your office area, get some laundry going, put dishes away. Kids do love to help out, just think outside of the box, if you're not doing it...it's saving you time so you can work on something else.
7. It's ok NOT to entertain them 100% of the day! It's good for kids to see their parents working on something. It teaches them patience, respect, and responsibility. Kids should be able to read, play, color, watch a show, make a sandwich, there's things they can do where you are not entertaining 24/7! I remember when mine were little, I would fill the bathtub with some water and let them get some toys and just play. I would sit on the floor and make calls while they played. It was really fun for them, yet they could see me working. Sometimes the kids just need to see us and they are quite happy to do their own thing. Each child is different, that's for sure! If you can, take work outside and let them get some fresh air. Many times I have had them do homework by my side at the patio table. We would take breaks together and talk or sing. It gave different scenery and fresh air. Sun does help this virus to die, so I'm going to be worshiping it!
8. Some things can WAIT! Sometimes it's worth just waiting until they are back in school to attack the bigger work tasks. Just keep being a good mom, and keep your business at a comfortable level. Always explain to your clients that your kids are home and see what kind of time frame they need. Most will understand. During this time we don't have extracurricular activities, so all we need to do is focus on our kids and work. We aren't getting pulled in as many different directions, so it's easier to work on strategy and get the ball rolling so when they are back in school we've got momentum.
9. Get to WORK! When you get the chance to work...then do it! Do it HARD and FOCUSED! Turn off the TV, music, get off ALL Social Media. Get all distractions out of the way and just WORK. I would like to recommend a book by Brian Tracy, called Eat that Frog. It is the best book if you tend to procrastinate. It's a quick read and gives such amazing strategy on focus. This book still resonates with me and I use the ideas from it often. Your entire mind set will change after reading it. You can use it in any area of your life.
10. Get HELP! I created my business right after I read the book, Power of Focus by Jack Canfield. His concept in one chapter on delegation was how I came up with the concept for my company. People need help many different times in their lives. If it doesn't make you money, delegate it so you can focus on what DOES make you money. Don't just PLAY office! Don't waste time filing if you can get someone else to do it. Don't waste time cleaning the house if you can get someone else to do it. Create quality time with the ones you love. If you're working smart then you will be able to afford delegation!
I really hope these tips help you during the crazy time of COVID-19! My bonus tip for you...use your Crock-pot or Instant-pot! They are game changers and helps you to spend less time in the kitchen. Such a great way to get nutrition into your family's bodies and save time for yourself too. I don't know about you, but by the end of the day, I am exhausted!
Blessings to you and yours!