Working Remotely Tips / For Parents
Create designated spaces. Just like you have a designated work space – create spaces for your kids (e.g. school work space, craft space, play space, etc.)
Supervise from a safe distance. Consider creating a play space that you can see/supervise from your work area. You can also try setting up an activity center in your home office so kids feel as if they have their own spot to do projects while you catch up on e-mails.
Use headphones and mute as much as possible. Seems obvious, but it’s easier for you to hear and it’s easier for those on the phone to hear you vs being on speaker phone. And of course, use that mute button whenever you’re not speaking.
Your Routine – Work smarter, not harder.
Sync your schedules. During what times do your kids have the most energy and need the most attention? What times are your kids most relaxed and able to focus on something independently? Have a “morning briefing” with your partner each morning to determine when you each need high priority quiet/focus time.
Use time blocks. Dedicate an hour each morning to do an energetic activity with your kids – go for a walk, play soccer or have a catch, create an obstacle course, etc. Tip: tag team – you take an hour and have your partner take an hour. Double the energy burn!
Capitalize on nap time. Plan important calls or high-focus projects during nap time. If your child doesn’t/won’t nap, try 30 minutes of quiet time. Lights out or dimmed with a few books in bed.
Take breaks together. Let your kids take breaks from play time, screen time, etc. when you take breaks from working. Have a snack together, exercise together, do an activity together. Humans need to work in intervals. That includes your kids.
Think about your life in terms of energy. What can you do to lift yourself up? Think of energy in terms of ROI. What activity can you invest time in that will have a return so high that you’re lifted up for the rest of the day (going for a run, meditating, journaling, cooking, etc.)?
Stick to your schedule. And make it clear and known – write it down and hang it up. Review it together to set expectations for the day.
Take a parenting time out. When you feel overwhelmed or are hit with a wave of stress, take 15 minutes for yourself. Go for a walk, listen to a podcast, or whatever you need to reset.
Set expectations with your family. “When I have this ribbon on the handle of my office door, I’m on a very important phone call and cannot be interrupted.”
Set expectations with your colleagues. “I want to make sure I get through everything you need in the next 30 minutes since I have my daughter here with me today and I’m likely to have a hard stop.” Be patient and empathetic with your colleagues and they will do the same for you.
Set [realistic] expectations with yourself. Become a CEO (Chief Editing Officer). This is the time to make cuts. Cut what doesn’t belong and what isn’t necessary. Cut out negativity. Prioritize your projects – both professional and personal.
Look at this challenge as an opportunity. What skills will you learn that you can leverage in the future?
Ask for help. This is a chance to re-balance your partnership with your significant other, peers, colleagues, etc. Delegate. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
Be compassionate with yourself. This is not a time to be super human.
Our Favorite Reads for Parents Working From Home
”Days home with small children should be approached like airplane flights with small children: Whatever it takes to get through it, do it, as long as they’re safe and not hurting anyone. We’re going to have to stretch some of our rules here. I don’t love YouTube, but as we’re talking my youngest is on there watching an alphabet cartoon, and the older one is engrossed in a video of a vlogger talking about her pet bird. It’s fine. They’ll be fine.”
- Figuring Out Work and Family in the Age of Coronavirus, New York Times
“Set aside a few cool toys that your kids can play with or special movie viewings only during “Mommy’s/Daddy’s work time.” If your children have something to look forward to, they’ll be less likely to interrupt you.”
- How to Master Working From Home – While Under Quarantine With Kids, Parents Magazine
- Got Kids? 11 Quick Tips for Working From Home While They’re With You, Fast Company
- Parents Share Their Tiny Victories While Working From Home With Kids, New York Times
- 20 Old-School Ways to Keep Kids Busy Without Screen Time, Mother.ly
- The Secret to Keeping Your Kids Happy, Busy and Learning, Time Magazine
- 13 Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy at Home, New York Mag