Telecommuting is becoming increasingly popular today. For the family with children, a stay at home job means that you don’t need to pay the exorbitant daycare bills. However, it takes a unique person to work from home with kids and juggle everything.
Children thrive in their home environment. Having the pleasure of working from home means that you get to be a part of all their milestones. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about what may or may not be happening at the daycare or babysitters’ home.
Setting Boundaries When You Work From Home With Kids
No one can care for your child like you. Consequently, it’s a real balancing act to try to juggle the role of employee and parent simultaneously. How can you bring in the bacon while making lunch and changing diapers too? Here are some healthy boundaries to help you make working from home with kids a success.
1. Maintain A Routine
Some jobs are a bit more restrictive than others. Whether you can work whenever you want, or you need to punch the virtual time clock doesn’t matter. You must have a routine to be successful.
It’s easy to get your days and nights mixed up when you allow the children to dictate the routine. To feel and be a success in this job setting, you need a schedule. The beauty of being at home is that you can lay in that extra 15 minutes or you can take a longer lunch.
Get up bright and early and start your day. You don’t need to account for traffic on the commute and dressing for success. Just make sure you keep a schedule so that the children don’t get their sleep patterns off balance, which can affect the entire home.
2. Have A Dedicated Workspace
Working from your dining room or the coffee table in the living room will only last so long. You must have a dedicated space so that you can be organized. Also, the children must learn that this area is off-limits to little hands.
If you’re lucky to have a room where you can close the door, then it works out great. No matter where you set your home office, it must be a space that allows you to concentrate. If your children are younger, then you will need to be close to keep an eye on them.
Kids of all ages must learn that they can’t mess with your papers, scissors, pens, or other necessary office supplies. Establish early on that your space is for you only. Having clear rules about your work area will help to learn the importance of leaving you and your things alone in this zone.
If your children are older and more responsible, then you may want to put a sign on the door to let them know when it’s safe to come in. If you’re going to be on a conference call or doing a Skype chat, then you want to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.
Having some simple boundaries can save you from some embarrassing situations that can arise as you work from home with kids.
3. Have A Sitter on Back-Up
While working from home allows you the freedom to watch your children, there may be times when you need to go to the office. Each career has different demands, and you must be flexible to adjust to those requirements. If you need to go to a meeting, then your boss is not going to want you to bring the children along.
Have a person that you can trust to watch your kids for a few hours each week, if necessary. Even if you don’t need to go to the office, you must get out and get some fresh air at times. You and your children will enjoy a break from each other on occasion.
4. Enhance Your Ability to Focus on One Task at a Time
Before you even begin your job where you work from home with kids, you need to be a multi-tasker. You may be changing diapers while talking to your boss or a client. You need to learn the power of the mute button on the phone.
Get a good pair of earbuds that have noise cancellation features. There are times when you need to ask the children to be quiet, and you don’t want the entire office to hear your banter with the youngsters. No matter how hard you try to mold them, your children are not always going to be perfect angels.
It takes a special person to balance the life of a parent and career individual from your abode. Setting boundaries is imperative, but you must also be able to do a juggling act every day.
5. Learn to Drown Out the Chaos
Have you ever seen or been with a parent that has their kids screaming and playing around them and doesn’t seem to be bothered by the noise? You must become that parent who can tune out the chaos to get anything done. No matter the age of your children, you will always have them at your door and in your face wanting and needing you for something.
Sadly, it doesn’t seem to get any better when they are older. To be a parent who works from home with kids, you need not let every little noise bother you. Unless you’re on the call with a boss or talking to a customer, then drown the noise out.
Some parents who work from home like to play classical music in their earbuds while they work. They can still hear the kids should there be an incident that they need to help with, but they can focus on the task at hand, thanks to the likes of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.
6. Let Workers Know You Have Kids or Pets
Your employer should know if there is anything that can distract you during the day. Some jobs know and expect that there will be children, spouses, and pets that can interrupt, and they are okay with it.
If your job requires you to be on video conference calls, you should let everyone know upfront if a child may come in crying or a dog may bark. It helps everyone else to learn why you may have that mute button on more than the next person.
Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of a meeting before you let everyone know. Working at home can be chaotic on a good day, so it’s best that your company understands your situation and knows what to expect during such events.
7. Carve Out Time for You
Boundaries are essential with your children, but you must also set some personal boundaries to ensure your sanity. Working from home is not for the faint of heart. You won’t get the social interaction that you need.
In your weekly planner, you must include things that allow you to have some free time. You need a night with your buddies or wine with the girls. You must have some time that is just for fun and relaxation that’s outside your home.
When you work and live in the same place, it can be quite overwhelming never to have an escape. Your sanity demands that you have some time away from your home and out amongst other people.
8. Tell Your Children What You Expect
You must tell your children what you expect while you are working. They should have clearly defined rules to ensure your success. While you cannot talk with a newborn about rules, a five-year-old can undoubtedly know the importance of leaving mommy or daddy alone while they’re telecommuting.
When you work from home with kids, you must somehow make money while taking care of their needs. So they need to know why your job is so outstanding and why they need good behavior. Make a rule sheet and enforce these rules to ensure that your days are a little easier.
9. Give Your Children an Approved List of Activities
Your kids need to have an approved list of activities that they can do while you are working. Some great things for them to do can be:
•Play on Tablet
•Video Games (with limits)
•Play with Toys
Then they also need to know things they cannot do, like:
•Go Outside Without Permission
•Ride Bike Too Far
•Play with Noisy Toys
•Argue with Siblings
•Get in Swimming Pool or Hot Tub Unattended
Keep in mind that these guidelines must be written the age in mind. A 15-year-old can do some light cooking or ride their bike, but you wouldn’t want a seven-year-old to feel adventurous.
Final Thoughts: Strike a Balanced Life and Work from Home with Kids Successfully
Whether you chose to work from home with kids or you were forced into this role, you need to make the best of the situation. Telecommuting is the wave of the future. It can be a great way to make a living and be there for all your children’s little moments.
Childcare is such a considerable cost, and you can’t forget the savings in transportation costs too. If you can make working from home with kids a success, then, by all means, you should do it. Setting effective boundaries will ensure that your home can be both your haven of rest and place of employment.