The Coronoavirus pandemic has changed the way we work and our daily routines at home.
As a parent, it feels like we have to multi-task more than usual, especially if working from home with little ones has been added into the mix.
You need to keep little ones busy during work calls, grab a shower, take online meetings, make meals, walk the dog and still stay sane, which sometimes seems impossible!
It can feel overwhelming, especially if you are finding it hard to separate work and home in this uncertain time.
Just remember that you cannot do it all and that what you are doing is already enough. When you get into a good routine, it will all seem much more manageable, and if it does get overwhelming, make sure you shout up and ask for help.
Here are our tips for working from home with little ones:
- Make a loose schedule to focus and get some work done during your “work” time. If you have another parent at home, have clear shared responsibilities throughout the day so that resentment does not build and you both have time with your little one and get some work done. You also have peace of mind that your baby is consistently with someone.
- Be realistic, you are going to have short bursts of time to get work done rather than long leisurely hours, so prioritize your workload with this in mind.
- If you have a call scheduled, have some good quality time with your baby beforehand and put your phone away so that you can give them your full attention.
- Set up the area where you will be working where your little one can easily see or hear you. This will give your little one more comfort, keep them occupied for longer and hopefully stop them shouting for you, crying or seeking you out. Having a communication device handy even if you are out the room will help too.
- Change your little ones nappy and feed them before your call, or give them some snacks, so they have something to keep them busy while you are working.
- If you know your baby’s typical schedule, you can avoid an over-hungry or over-tired baby during online meetings and calls by keeping an eye on their sleepy/hungry cues.
- Working before your little one wakes in the morning or after their bedtime is a good idea if your job allows this sort of flexibility.
- If you have set hours or can’t choose off-times, make sure to keep to your regular hours and switch off during ‘home time’. Don’t be on your laptop checking emails, however tempting it is.
- Bring out novelty household objects to surprise your little one in an emergency. It is incredible how appealing a whisk, handheld mirror, loofa or cotton balls can be (always keep an eye on them, obviously).
- Fill a zip lock bag with water, add some frozen fruit, slime, bath foam letters, or ice cubes. This should keep little hands busy for a while.
- Cooking in bulk at the weekend and planning meals for the week takes another stress out of your working day.
- If you have a young baby, you could wear them in a baby carrier, sling or wrap, so they feel close to you while you work.
- If your little one enjoys it, they may enjoy entertaining themselves for short stints in a bouncer, activity centre, baby gym or baby swing.
- Toddlers should be encouraged to play independently. Set a timer on your phone or an alarm clock, and make sure when the timer goes off, you and your toddler both know that it’s time for some time together to go for a walk, do a jigsaw, read a book or play a game.
- Our biggest tip is do not feel guilty! Despite our best efforts, working from home with a little one can be really hard! Do not berate yourself for not engaging with your baby every single second of the day. Use Baby TV while you are on a zoom call, get your older children to entertain the younger ones and do not feel guilty about it. Desperate times call for desperate measures!