9 Productivity Tips for Working From Home with Young Children
How in the WORLD can we get anything done with little ones in the home? It’s tough, but it can be done. These are some of the best tips from more than 2 years of experience working full time, while caring for babies and toddlers. If you think you can’t do it, try implementing these 9 productivity tips for working from home with young children, and see if you don’t amaze yourself at how much you can really accomplish.
You Don’t Have to Ignore Your Kids in Order to Work From Home
Don’t worry – I’m not going to tell you to set your kids in front of the TV while you work! I am offering realistic ways to get work hours in throughout your week WITHOUT neglecting those precious little ones! Being a good mom is the MOST important job you have. These tips will help you to work AND be a good mom at the same time.
There are 4 Essential Tips for Work-From-Home Mom Productivity
I elaborate on these in my previous post, The 4 Most Important Productivity Tips for Work-From-Home-Moms. Make sure you are doing these first:
1) Wake up before the kids
2) Fill Up Their Love Tanks
3) Set and Follow a Schedule
4) Take Care of Mommy
Here are the Negotiable Productivity Tips
The first 4 are absolutes, so don’t try to cheat on those! The next 5 offer you some wiggle room. These are the productivity tips for working from home that you can shuffle throughout your week. Try them all and see what works best for you.
5) Work During Feedings
How?! Well, it can be a bit tricky, but after a few weeks of practice, I mastered the art of holding baby with one arm to nurse or feed a bottle, while typing on my computer with the other. They are happy because they are snuggling with you and getting fed, and you are still able to enjoy the bonding time while you’re getting work done (if you have 2 infants, you can do this back to back where one gets fed just after the other).
When they move to solids, you can spoon out the purees with one hand while working with the other. This does require a bit of practice to get used to using your non-dominant hand for wielding a spoon! I never said this was EASY…it is definitely a lot of hard work, but it can be done – I’ve done it!
Once your toddler is eating on their own, you can place them in their high chair while you sit across from them at the table and work. Obviously, don’t just ignore them though! You can engage in light conversation or occasionally compliment your toddler on his great new self-feeding skills. Another fun thing my boys have always enjoyed is peek-a-boo. I will “hide” behind my laptop and type a few sentences, then pop my head up and make a silly face of some sort. They feel like we are engaged the entire time because we are playing a game…but in reality, I am multi-tasking!
6) Work During Naps
This probably goes without saying, but from my experience, I also know there can be a lot of distractions. When your little ones are finally down for a nap, you just want to plop yourself down on the couch very dramatically, and just bask in the silence for a few minutes. Then you decide you deserve a fresh cup of piping hot coffee to enjoy in your peaceful moment. Oh yeah, you need to throw the laundry on – it will only take a minute. Why not grab a bite to eat while you have the freedom? Then the baby wakes. *CRINGE* There went your nap time working opportunity!
You really have to focus and get to work as soon as they go down for a nap. This is a great way to knock out a big block of work, usually 1-2 hours, depending on how long your little ones nap. Take advantage of it!
7) Work and Play
As with everything else I’ve mentioned, this will take some practice to master. But you can work even while you play with your small children.
If you have a baby, set out some of their favorite toys on a play mat, and set your laptop up a few feet away. Spend 2-3 minutes engaging with your baby in play time, then turn to your computer for a few minutes while they continue playing (a baby is capable of entertaining his or her self for a few minutes at a time, as their curiosity is growing).
Go back and forth like this during the course of your baby’s play time to get small work tasks done. You are not neglecting your baby by alternating between allowing them to explore for a few minutes at a time while you are right next to them, and engaging with them in activities for an equal amount of time.
If you have a toddler, set your laptop in an area that is accessible to you, but not to your toddler. A counter or a desk is usually where mine ends up. Spend a few minutes doing an activity with your toddler, such as chasing them or reading a book. Then take the next few minutes to work on your laptop.
8)Recruit Help When Possible
If you can, get Daddy to help with play time and bedtime routines in the evenings as much as possible. An extra 30-60 minutes of uninterrupted work time can help a lot. Or, if you have an older child who can play with your little ones or read books with them for half an hour, ask them to help.
Do the grandparents live nearby? Aunts and uncles? Not all families are tight-knit, but if you have close family in the area, take advantage of extra help whenever you can.
9)Use Your Weekends Wisely
I know the last thing you want to think about on the weekends is work. But if you want to be a successful work-from-home mom, you may need to work a little on the weekends too. Even a couple hours here and there can add up. If you can keep your weekly schedule during the weekends also, you can get a lot done. I’m not saying to work all weekend – you have to take time out for yourself at some point too. Just remember that the weekends are another option, especially if someone else can watch the kids for a while and let you work for a block of time without interruption.
Find Out What Works for Your Family
These 9 productivity tips will make working for home with your little ones go much smoother. It is totally possible to work full time if you plan ahead. Make sure you wake up before the kids, fill their love tanks, take care of yourself, and stick to a schedule! These are the most important ones. Then figure out which of the other tips work best for you and your family, and implement them too. Soon you will see that it is more doable than you thought to work from home with young children.
Do you have any great productivity tips for working from home that you would like to share with the rest of us? We can all use your tips and tricks, so let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to subscribe to stay updated on more helpful work-from-home mom tips like these!