Whether you work from home regularly or you’ve had to make some changes due to coronavirus, working from home with a baby or kids can be a big adjustment.
Work-life balance feels like a luxury of the past, and everyday tasks like conference calls, video chats, or phone calls suddenly become way more complicated. If you've recently been on maternity leave, readjusting to work again is hard enough, let alone if you're working from home with your newborn!
If this sounds like you, give yourself some slack. Parenting is tough as it is, and balancing caring for your children with a full-time job isn’t easy. To help you live your best WFH life with littles, we’re here to provide you with some tips on how to work from home with a baby or kids, including best practices for yourself and your little ones!
Tips for Working from Home with a Baby or Young Kids
Here are some ideas to help you keep your work day productive. We’ll go into detail of each, too, to help you live your best WFH life with littles.
- Alter your work schedule
- Utilize your baby carrier
- Schedule quiet time for kids
- Practice continuous communication with your workplace
- Take advantage of soothing baby accessories
- Take turns with your partner
- Find your own space
- Use to-do lists
- Take breaks when needed
1. Alter your work schedule
If your job allows it, try revolving your work hours around your kids’ schedules to make things as seamless as possible. For example, try waking up early to get a few hours of work done while your kids are asleep, or, if you have a baby who goes to bed early, work during the evening hours. Take advantage of baby’s naptime if you can, or if you have older children, try to work while they’re doing homework or attending online classes. You can even set up your work station near theirs!
2. Use a baby carrier
Have a fussy baby who needs to be held all the time? Strap your babe into a quality baby carrier and get to work. That way, you don’t have to keep getting up to tend to your little throughout the day - they’re already right next to mama!
3. Arrange a "quiet time" for kids
If you have older children, set a special time for them to silently work on their own activities. Coloring, art projects, homework, baby activity toys — all of these are great opportunities for “quiet time” (especially if they involve snacks!). To keep your littles occupied, check out our Itzy Activity Booklet. It’s free to download and print and has coloring pages and fun games for your babes.
4. Communicate with your workplace
You can never communicate too much! Let your co-workers and colleagues know of your situation and any changes that may pop up so they’re well aware. Others are likely going through something similar - it’s not uncommon to hear a crying baby or child playing in the background of conference calls these days!
5. Take advantage of soothing baby accessories
There are plenty of cute baby accessories out there that are designed to help occupy and comfort your little. Pacifiers and teethers can soothe a fussy baby, while infant swings and seats can help safely lull baby to sleep. While your child is blissfully preoccupied, you can give your full attention to work.
6. Take turns with your partner
If you have a spouse or partner and you’re both working parents, work in “shifts” to divide and conquer parental duties. For example, ask your partner to take over while you knock out some work. (Or have a snack by yourself!) There’s no shame in asking for help, and working as a team can be beneficial for both of you!
7. Find your own space, however big or small!
You don’t need a formal study or office to create a home office; sometimes it’s just about having your favorite notebook and go-to pen at your own table. Transform a spare bedroom, a particular room that doesn’t get much traffic, or even a walk-in closet into your own dedicated workspace. Or head outside if the weather is nice (for everyone in Chicago like us, this might not be an option ❄). Get creative with it and decorate it to feel like you! That way, you’ll enjoy your personal space. If you have older children, put up a fun sign (they could even help make it!) that notes when you’re busy working in your “office” and shouldn’t be disturbed.
8. Use to-do lists
It’s amazing how a simple to-do list can keep you on track! Be realistic when creating your list — try to start small and add only two or three big items that need to get done for the day. Then, enjoy the satisfied feeling that comes with crossing off each task! Pro tip: pepper in little ones, too, like “organize my desktop” to give you more things to check off the list. This way, the bigger ones will look more doable.
9. Take breaks
Have you ever tried to power through your workday, only to eventually find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram? Yeah, us too. Taking breaks is not only healthy, it’s also necessary for productivity! Grab the stroller and go for a quick walk, play with your little, enjoy some family time or step away from the screen to eat something. Trust us, even 5 minutes away to grab some ice water with lemon can make a huge difference.
Do the Best You Can to Stay Productive
Being a work-at-home mom is no easy task! It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and even seem impossible at times. During this time of uncertainty, all we can do is the best we can. Remember that you’re doing a great job, and that there is no perfect way to handle all of this. Go easy on yourself, and give yourself credit: Every. Single. Day.
You've got this, mama!