If you’re a remote worker, you’ve probably chosen this arrangement because of the flexibility it affords. Doubtless, working from home can be convenient, freeing, and autonomous, among other perks. But it’s not without its challenges. A big one is how to structure your schedule when family obligations, like childcare, are paramount.
If like many people, you’re expected to work during the school holiday period, how do you manage the tricky task of juggling your work and family responsibilities, particularly when full-time childcare is out of the question?
When you’re looking at a day at home with kids – especially in winter when outdoor activities are limited – the thought alone may fill you with angst.
Add to that the need to get work done, and you know by 5 p.m. you’ll be hiding in a dark corner of your bedroom, lights out, hoping your kids forgot you were alive.
To survive, you know you have to plan ahead.
Being super organized and prioritizing your tasks goes without saying… but here are a few other tips that may help you preserve your sanity and maybe even have fun in the process!
Be an Early Bird
One of the perks of working from home is not having to get up early and commute to an office. Sure, you may have gotten used to the 2-foot leap you take to get to your desk each morning and perhaps snoozing the alarm clock a few times has become a habit of sorts. Remember those early hours though, when the house is quiet, everyone else is asleep and your brain is clear as a summer blue sky, ready to kick into overdrive. This is the perfect time to get some focused work done with no interruptions!
Discuss Your Schedule
School aged kids are old enough to understand your need for structured time and quiet time. At school, they follow a daily schedule with assigned activities as well as choice time. So having a plan (however loose) for what you and they will do while home together can help create the necessary structure and give you needed chunks of time to get your own work done. And, getting their buy-in during the planning phase will likely minimize any complaints down the road.
Schedule Play Dates
What’s the best entertainment for your child other than a trip to a theme park? You guessed it. It’s having their friends around. Have a couple of kids over for an afternoon or see if another parent friend is willing to host yours. They may (quietly) turn your house upside down but at least you’ll have a couple hours of peace in the meantime.
Sign Up for Camp
Just like during the summer break, you can always count on camps to offer a school alternative. They may range from full week offerings to morning or afternoon only options. Art classes? Theater? Robotics? Soccer camp or rock climbing? You’re bound to find something when you do your research. Camps run by your local city or town council are typically a well-priced alternative.
Carve Out Some Down Time
Kids love to spend time with grown ups but playing together has become a lost art form, with busy schedules, outside activities and other responsibilities frequently getting in the way. A school break is a great time to re-connect and play with your kids.
So how do you manage this when you have to work? The good news is that you don’t need to be present 24-7. Just an hour of your time can go a long way. Spend that hour with intention and you will fill up both you and your child.
And chances are, they will respect your need for grown up time afterwards. So, carve out a break in your schedule, put your computer aside and your phone on mute, break out the art supplies or Lego box, and have some fun.
Catch up on TV and movies
We’ve all used television shows as a babysitter at times. Sometimes the guilt creeps in – are we hurting our kids with another screen diversion?
No. Unless they’re glued to the screen for hours each day, a morning or an afternoon will be a welcome respite.
So find a flick they’ve been dying to watch or turn on a favorite show – your kids can use an escape and so can you. At least until you hear them scream “it’s finished!”
About the Author
Natasha Kosoff is a certified career coach dedicated to helping others build fulfilling careers aligned with their true passions and strengths. She believes that all of us have unique skills and talents and the power to create and live our best professional lives.