I woke up this morning to messages asking: How ON EARTH do I get things done while my kids are at home???
There are a lot of questions I do not know the answers to, but this one I can answer!
I’m an author and speaker and I homeschool my six kids, which means I’ve spent the last nineteen years practicing getting stuff done so I would have something helpful to tell you at this moment.
How to Work From Home With Kids
Here’s how I get stuff done while the kids are at home.
2 practices + 3 tools = work gets done and nobody is in tears. Not even me.
Set Expectations—Theirs AND Yours
This is so important! If I expect that my work is going to look exactly the same with kids around as it would if I was all alone, well, I’m going to spend all day frustrated.
If instead I expect that I will be able to get things done, but it’s going to require more creativity and involve more breaks and interruptions than usual, I’ll be in a much better place to handle the day I’m actually having.
But I also need to set my KIDS’ expectations for the day. If I know I will need quiet, or alone time, or even just that I’ll be working next to them, they need to know that, too.
With older kids, I might let them know what to expect the night before, so we can hit the ground running in the morning.
With younger kids, I might lay out the plan for the whole day in the morning.
And for smaller kids who can’t really conceptualize the whole day at once, I’ll just let them know what to expect for the morning, or just for the afternoon, or even just for the next hour.
Fill Their Tanks BEFORE You Get To Work
If I know I’m going to need time for focused work—maybe I need to make a phone call, record an interview, or have some time to get stuff done—I try to give my kids focused attention FIRST, before I ask them to give me alone time. That way their “attention tanks” are filled before I even get started.
That might mean I sit on the floor and build the Legos for ten minutes. It might mean we play a quick board game. It might mean we sit together and eat breakfast, no devices in hands, and I listen while they tell me about their Really Long Dreams from the night before. (You know what I’m talking about.) It doesn’t really matter WHAT we do, it just matters that they feel like they had my full attention for whatever they needed.
I used to think it would make sense to do those things AFTER I finished working, as a sort of reward. (Hang on, guys! We can play Uno when I’m done!)
But the problem is, that makes the waiting REALLY HARD for small kids. If they know something fun is coming when I finish working, they want me to finish NOW. That leads to more interruptions instead of fewer.
When I swapped to giving them focused attention FIRST, they were suddenly much more content to entertain themselves while I was working.
More Tools to Help You Work From Home With Kids
In the video, you’ll hear about more tools we use to help things run smoother, including: how an iPad timer can save the day, what the Buddy System has to offer, and how to set challenges to keep kids engaged while you’re working.
P.S. Yes these strategies totally work for keeping kids happy while you’re NOT working, too, when just need some quiet time to recharge. xo.