Over the past years, many of us have made the transition to working from home - whether we like it or not! Without a doubt, working from home comes with a whole new set of both perks and challenges that can take some time getting used to.
Cutting out the commute, greater flexibility, and the ability to work from the comfort of your own home make the home office something that many people have happily gotten used to. But enjoying the comfort of home can often mean having a whole host of family members sharing the same space - which isn’t always easy!
Especially for those doing home office due to lockdown restrictions, childcare options may have vastly decreased. Many working parents are now not only finding themselves unable to drop their kids off to the usual minder, but they are also expected to get work done with those same kids running around at home.
All this has meant that working parents are quickly developing their skills when it comes to multitasking work and childcare. Learn from these tried and tested methods used by working parents to keep your little ones happy and engaged, allowing you to get your work done with peace of mind!
Define clear spaces
A key step in developing a successful home office - with or without kids - is making sure to correctly designate your different spaces. In order to maintain work/life balance, it’s important to set aside a separate space that will function both physically and mentally as the workplace.
Throw kids into the mix, and creating this distinction becomes even more crucial. Creating a clear division between the spaces reserved for both work and play will help children to understand that once you’re in your office, that means that you’re at work.
If possible, you can also use spaces around the house itself to help keep the kids entertained by designating different areas for different activities.
Creating clearly designated areas - for reading, homework, and play - encourages children to switch up their activity simply by moving from one space to another. Using this “zone” method, you can ensure that your kids are encouraged to engage in diverse activities throughout the day, without having to go give them instructions every half an hour.
Build up a craft box
Make it a habit to collect little bits and pieces throughout the year in craft shops and pound shops. Little craft items like stickers, pipe cleaners, paints, and brushes can often be found at a great price during the post-holiday and back to school sales.
If you pick up some bits and bobs every now and then, you’ll quickly amass enough supplies to build a craft box that makes for endless hours of fun and creativity. When children grow idle and restless, the best thing to do is give them a way to channel their energy and let their creativity shine through. After all, nothing is more entertaining for a child than their own imagination!
Building up a craft box is a great way to get children excited about arts and crafts, and an easy hands-off way of encouraging them to entertain themselves by exploring all the combinations of crafts the box has to offer.
Encourage scavenger hunts
Scavenger hunts are a great way to keep children entertained for hours, without needing to do the entertaining yourself. If you know you have a busy day ahead, or important meetings in the home office that you don’t want interrupted, take a few minutes at the start of the day to set up a scavenger hunt around the house or garden.
Working with a theme makes things even more fun and exciting for the kids, and encourages their imaginations to run wild. Buy a bag of chocolate gold coins and set them off on their own pirate-themed adventure - they’ll have the time of their lives, and all the while you’ll be getting the peace and quiet you need to get your work done. After all, the more headspace you have to complete your work means the sooner it will be that you get to spend quality time with the kids.
Involve the kids in your breaks
If you take a break during the day to take a walk or make lunch - make sure to get the kids involved! Bring them on your walks and encourage them to help with any cooking there is to be done. Better yet, if your children are old enough you can even begin to entrust them with preparing lunch for themselves.
Setting aside pre-chopped veggies, spreads, and bread at their very own “cooking station” is a great way to lift another task from your shoulders while encouraging a passion for the culinary arts. Who knows - someday you might find they become the ones cooking up dinner for you!
Taking on the extra responsibility of childcare alongside work is no easy feat, and is often something that happens without us having much say in the matter. Even if this is the case, having the kids at home while you work is a great way to learn more about what gets them excited and keeps them entertained, and in the end can become a powerful tool for fostering your little ones’ independence!