17 Solutions for Working From Home and Parenting

Updated on December 14th, 2020

The pandemic has demanded adaptability and our typical routines have been flipped upside down. Many families are now spending more time together than ever. Parents are now working from home while school and daycare closings and other restrictions are forcing kids indoors.

Many parents dream of working from home. But if you’ve caught yourself missing the commute into work, your quiet office, or a regular work schedule, you’re not alone. Parents all of the country, from Philadelphia to Sacramento, are struggling with balancing the responsibilities of parenting and working from home. Here are 17 home solutions to balance working from home and parenting.

Find time for your kids when balancing work and life

Have a designated home office and flexible schedule

Consider altering your schedule

I tend to be a fairly unstructured person but when the schools shut down I found the best way as a single mom to manage my children was to turn to a regular schedule during the week and foster more independence in my children with online school, meals, clean up and self-care. To find solid focus time I have altered my own schedule so that I wake around 5 am to attend to tasks that take deep concentration. On the weekends we return to a free for all. – Baby Wit

Headphones are key

Pay up for good noise-canceling headphones to block out your kids’ loud online classroom. – Neighborhood Parent’s Network of Chicago

Hire professional help

Most jobs don’t allow for constant interruptions, school-aged ‘assistants’, or working where you sleep/unplug. Calling ‘working from home’ a success often includes hiring help. Employing a caregiver or nanny allows you to safely “shut the door” knowing the kids are safe and you can focus on your work – keeping boundaries. –NannyPay

Practice open communication

Parents working from home with young children are under a lot of pressure to get it all done. It’s an impossible expectation to believe that you can do everything the way it was done pre-pandemic. Open communication with your boss around meeting times that overlap with school schedules or family whiteboards with critical meetings noted for each parent can go a long way towards avoiding scheduling conflicts. – Anna McKay, Return to Work & Leadership Development Coach & Founder of Parents Pivot

Remove all distractions

This is not an easy thing to do and can vary drastically from family to family depending on their needs. If a family is unable to hire childcare to assist, our biggest recommendation is to keep distractions to the bare minimum. There is always “something” causing a distraction. It could be the phone, laundry, doorbell, tv, errands, etc. These things can all wait. They wouldn’t find you at work and they shouldn’t find you at home during your work/school time. Unplug what you need to and put up a “Do not Disturb” sign at the door. Trying to multitask all these things into your new routine will only add stress and chaos to your “new normal”. – Nannies and More

Home office space for working from home

 Create a space for e-learning

Find what works best for you and your children 

While this situation may bring uncertainty or discomfort for both the parent and child, we encourage families to experiment and explore together with their child, to find what works best and sparks joy. Whether it’s by going on a nature walk, reading about a favorite topic, or simply getting to know a new virtual classmate, show your child that curiosity and confidence go hand in hand. – Gina Fromer, CEO of Children’s Council of San Francisco

Create a routine

Create visual schedules, eye level for your child, to be able to follow with little guidance. Utilize timers, schedules, and a reward system. Set aside regular breaks throughout the day to connect with your child. Remember, you are a parent first, teacher second. Create a “yes” snack basket.  These are snacks that your older kids can grab anytime without having to ask. It will eliminate interruptions while you work. – Parenting Matters

Keep work and parenting separate

Set clear expectations

It’s important when working from home to set clear expectations and boundaries with everyone else in the house. For example, if you have a nanny helping with childcare while you work from home, let them know if there are certain hours in the day when you will be on the phone or Zoom and they can plan the day accordingly and make sure the children don’t disturb you. – Nashville Nanny Agency

Make a game plan with your partner

Prior to the pandemic, it was just me working from home. Quiet, peaceful, and dare I say it, productive. My husband now shares an office with me, I had to set up a makeshift classroom for our 6-year-old, and my one year old knows how to use our remote. By April, our new normal was balancing virtual learning, two 40-hour a week careers, and a baby. We knew we needed to huddle and have a solid game plan. We started by creating shifts and putting our schedules into a Google Drive so we could seamlessly know who had a meeting or conference call, and who was teaching at each point of the day. – Our Misconception

Successfully separate duties of work and parenting 

If we are able to do this, we not only become more productive at work, we also minimize mom guilt, and the kids are happier too. Set up mechanisms for the kids to know they are helping us become better work from home moms. One way is to have a creative “ritual” that you can do with them whenever they gave you a peaceful workday, and let them know they did a good job. Letting them choose a book to read after is a nice reward, or decorating a cookie together, even doing stretching exercises after a long day at your desk is a fun and memorable ritual bonding activity. For age-appropriate kids, setting up a mini work area for the child beside yours or in a nearby space, makes them feel part of your work routine. – Mommy Mundo

Find a schedule that works for everyone

Set clear expectations with your children and use visuals to assist them in managing their tasks or schoolwork. Devise a system that allows you and your children to work independently for a certain duration (e.g. 30 minutes). Use checklists to break down tasks and assignments and use a timer so both parties can be alerted to check in with each other. I highly recommend Time Timers because they are visual clocks that show the passage of time. – My Toddler Talks

Be kind with unyielding boundaries. It may seem counterintuitive because we think that being nice means to drop everything when our kids need us, but it’s a disservice to them and to us. Focus on creating a realistic schedule for yourself and for them and stick to it. We often feel bad that our kids are in this situation of virtual schooling while we can’t devote the time they want from us. Keeping honest boundaries will help you stay focused and in the present moment with work and the kids. – Dr. Eva Therapy

Keep your children socialized

Parents can think of creative ways to help their children stay in touch with their friends, like scheduling zoom playdates to keep their children engaged, social, and occupied. – The Infant and Childcare Training Academy

While I understand we are in challenging times and working from home.  I encourage you to send your child to a quality child care center that has the best COVID measures in place.  Send your child part-time or full-time so they can still interact and learn from other children their age. Children really need social interaction during these different times.   Also you can knock out your work project while they are in a safe environment. – Little Believer’s Academy

Dad and daughter washing hands in the kitchen

Spend time with your family

Make use of technology

Whether you are splitting time with a spouse or are fortunate enough to have a nanny to assist, use the take advantage of technology. Record milestones, take photos, and make sure you don’t miss out on your child’s achievements. And more importantly, deep breaths, as much patience as you can muster, and over-the-ear headphones. – Daily Nanny App

Invest time in your family

Keep a notebook for each kid, and with that, keep track of topics that you want/need to discuss with that particular child. In the back, jot down future topics or ideas for conversations, and in the front, keep track of what was said during your meetings and what goals were for each of us. Parenting is challenging, but with a little planning, conversations can make those teenage years a little easier because they are already used to this. – Parenting High Schoolers

Designate time for play

As a mom of seven, I’ve had to learn the art of taking time to play. This may sound counter-intuitive for trying to be more productive. However, when you start the day showing your child that you can give them some focused time and attention, they are then better able to respect when that time might not be possible. So, I recommend starting the day with an activity, even if small like a card game or 15-minute fun interaction, that allows you to pour into them before you need to focus and commit to the tasks your job entails. You will be surprised how taking this time to play allows you much more productive in the long run! – Parenting With Personality

Julia is a part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home be a charming beachside home with lots of light.
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