When I start to work from home with kids, my 2nd daughter is only 7.5 months old. The age when they start to climb, explore and get busy. Working around her schedule was not a big problem since both my daughters started their routines at young. But as you know, a child being a child does not really go by the book, so after a few trials and errors, I discovered quite a number of ways on how I can work successfully (most of the time) from home with a toddler.
7 Tips to help you work from home with kids.
It is not easy to create and cultivate a routine with kids, so I will normally set a timetable with 15mins buffer each time to get my work done. Schedule your work according to your child’s routine, not the other way around. Although every day does not have to be exactly the same, there should be a routine or regular schedule that you can follow throughout the week. Remember, ‘that you can follow throughout the week’. Manage your expectations and goal carefully.
Set an alarm and determine your working hours.
I have my phone with different reminders and alarms accordingly,
– the time to wake up
– the time to pick up the elder one from school
– the time to pick up the little one from the childcare centre
– the time to cook
– the time to entertain them
For the hours you set to work, make sure you’re fully focused on the work in front of you. Try to keep your child occupied during this time so you’re not distracted. Getting them to be distracted for at least 15mins is a blessing. If you need longer than that, wait for their nap time. This is me trying to get her distracted as long as I can.
Create a workspace where you can watch your child.
Toddlers (Even older kids, like my current Primary school girl, I’ll have to supervise her work) they cannot be left unattended at all times. You’ll need to set up your workspace near their play area or in their room where you have a good view of the entire area. So you can watch over them while you work.
My current working space in the living room and my elder daughter’s study table, also known as or doubles up as a play station for them too.
Baby carrier to the rescue!
Although I’m more of a stroller person compared to a baby carrier, this is a must-have if you are planning to work from home. Useful when your child refuses to sleep, is breastfeeding or cranky or even, just wants your attention. Using a simple baby carrier can buy you at least an hour’s worth of working time.
If you can, invest in a laptop so you can work everywhere, even in the toilet! Sometimes you just need to get things done, but your child just wants to play with something new, or they are having a fever and you need to do a fever bath. I work on the desktop but I always have my laptop charged and ready to stand by.
Connect your mobile phone to your laptop, so you can access your documents anywhere, anytime.
Daddy plays an important role
Husband plays an important role if they are supportive of your entrepreneurial dream. Get daddy to help entertain them by bringing your child to the playground to have some dad-child bonding time. Or if your husband gets home after dinner, get him to oversee your child’s sleeping time. All this would help you buy some time for work or get important calls!
I wouldn’t say this gadget is a must-have but good to have to monitor your child’s nap and sleeping time if you don’t want your keyboard tapping noise to wake them up. You can monitor them in your most comfortable working area without worrying.
Working from home with a toddler is definitely not an easy task. Hey, it’s not all perfect, from time to time, we do have meltdowns that we don’t wish to do anything especially if we have a cranky baby on a particular day.
But with a little creativity and flexibility, you can be a successful work-from-home mum and a mumpreneur.