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School Holidays and Working From Home

25 Sep 2022 0 Comments

How to successfully work from home - with the kids.

Working from home with the kids

It's school holiday time again and although we love it when the kids aren’t at school (and we can temporarily take a break from the frustration over shoes and socks every morning), working from home with kids can be difficult, and burnout – a very real thing can occur. It feels like we move from one juggling act to another, doesn't it?

After a few years of working from home with kids, we thought we’d share our top 5 tips and a Free school holiday planner for you to to download and fill in to maximise your time. 

1. Make a plan—but be realistic! 

Download Our printable school holiday planner. It’s free, it’s simple, it’s effective.

Edit it in Excel and keep a digital copy or print it out and stick it to the fridge. Our advice – plan the weeks around your kids, not your typical work schedule. You know them best. When do they want to leave the house and be active, and when are they happiest playing together or alone? What days do they have activities or playdates that you need to factor in? Are they going to want to come home and relax after a busy morning out, because that would be a great block to work in. Planning around your kids' needs is going to make your work blocks more productive. It’s also going to remove potential interruptions from frustrated and bored kids.

If you do use screen time for the kids during your working blocks (no judgement, we all do it), there are some great parental tools to help you manage their time and activities. Just look up screen time parental controls for apple or android. There are plenty of guides and how-tos out there.

2. Create a workspace 

A way to create a boundary for yourself and the kids in your work block is to have a designated workspace. It can be a room, a wall or even a motion that shows you are in work mode, like wearing headphones while on the couch with the kids. You’d be surprised how effective this can be with the kids, it’s like a prompt that reminds them that you’re not unavailable, but busy. Kids are pretty cluey and they’ll know whether it’s worth interrupting or not when they realise you’re working.

3. Take breaks 

This is a big one. You know those days where you crawl into bed with a headache and the guilt is in the pit of your stomach because there are so many things you should have done better today? We actively try to avoid that feeling, and a great way to do so are tips 3 and 4. Our 15 minutes that matter.

Breaks aren’t just nice to have – they are critical! We know long periods of sitting aren’t good for our physical health, but what about our mental health? Our job satisfaction? The message we are sending to our kids? We feel guilty for so many things, and a break here and there shouldn’t be one of them. So get up, make yourself a tea, have a stretch, tell the kids a fart joke, or go for a quick walk around the block. None of these simple and free activities are going to remove you from your desk for long, but they will make a huge difference to your comfort levels and ability to remain focused and on task.

We use Chrome extensions like PostureMinder and momentum to stay productive and receive reminders to stand and stretch. 

4. Accept parent guilt is a thing and kick its butt in just 15 minutes a day. 

Parent guilt sucks. And “balance” isn’t as easy as it sounds (is it even possible?). But giving yourself to your kids consistently each day for just 15 minutes alleviates a lot of guilt and is an enjoyable way to finish the day for you and the kids.

Included with the free calendar download above is 12 free bedtime activities for you to try these school holidays. You can try as many or as little as you like. The main thing is that you are available for at least 15 minutes (per child) each night.

Why, you ask? It’s been a long day and I just want to sit on the couch. We hear you, but if the kids feel their needs haven’t been met, you’re going to spend your evening fielding random questions and helping them settle back into bed. This often goes on for much longer than 15 minutes.

We’ve found over the years that this 15-minute window is the best part of our day. This is when the kids tell us their thoughts, dreams, fears, excitement – comic book ideas, fart jokes, you name it! It all comes out. When they know they have our undivided attention, they feel safe and supported, knowing that even on the busiest days, we still have time for them.

5. Continue packing lunches! 

I know we've just celebrated the fact that we don't have to find missing shoes and socks but lunchboxes midday when you're in the zone can be a huge help! Don't just pack the kids lunch boxes, make sure you've packed something for yourself too. This will mean less time spent making lunch and more time on the couch or out the back eating lunch with the kids. 

Takeaway - You can still be productive and have fun with kids at home.

When you work from home with kids, the key is to find what works best for both you and your family. And remember, as long as everyone stays safe and happy during the process, there are no right or wrong ways to work from home with kids.

Above all else, enjoy those little faces that interrupt your day. You mean everything to them and they don't understand the working world or the importance of a deadline. Be kind to them and yourself. 

The WFH Team 

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