Working From Home With Kids? Our Readers Offer Their Advice

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Are you working from home during this pandemic? A month ago, our kids were sent home from school and most parents were sent home from work. We have yet to return. In the time since, many families have been figuring out how to work from home while parenting and, in some cases, schooling their children.

Greenville County Schools provided some tools for teaching at home via their eLearning Parent Resources and teachers have been available via e-mail for guidance and support as well. However, with kids and working parents at home, under the same roof, adjustments (and several readjustments) are surely being made.

With the aim of supporting families, we asked our readers who are working from home “What are your tips for getting work done and keeping the kids entertained?”

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How to Work From Home With Kids in the House

In general, reader comments suggest that there are 3 keys to success:

  • have a routine
  • be flexible
  • be willing to use a range of resources

Get a Routine & Have Some Patience

Many readers asserted that routines are sanity savers and shape everyone’s expectations for the day.

A routine. My husband and I work from home even before the pandemic. My daughter has learned the importance of having a routine even before we started homeschooling.

Paula

A routine (more like an order of doing things, less about the time of day they’re done) has been helpful with my almost-5-year-old. I get a LOT of interruptions from him, so I make the most of early mornings before he’s awake and right after lunch when I’ve enforced a one-hour ‘quiet time’ where he has to stay in his room. On nice days, the backyard is key! Kiddie pool, hose, and all his trucks = ‘truck wash’ and keeps him busy for a while. Hang in there, parents!

Beth

Having a routine is key. Not being too hard on ourselves has been the biggest struggle.

Christy

As part of her routine, one reader suggested giving kids attention first thing in the day has been a constructive start to their daily routine.

Filling their ‘attention cups’ first has helped me immensely. I start with some focused time with them, and after not too long, they wander off to do other things and I’m able to work.

Rebekah

Check Your Expectations & Be Flexible

In a recent podcast, popular author Brene Brown talked about Terrible First Times (such as living in a global pandemic). One of the things she suggests is reality checking expectations. So did some of our readers.

Patience!! And frequent breaks seem to do the trick here. Not an ideal situation, so trying to do what we can and not have the expectation of anything being perfect.

Jill

Do whatever you got to do that won’t get your kid hurt or you arrested….this can get difficult and my kid is pretty independent but as soon as I’m on a zoom with boss etc….needs me then ..not later …

Jennifer

Not doing the work has been great for us (me). 🤷🏽‍♀️🤣 homeschooling an 8 and 6 year old while trying to keep an 8 month old alive + full time job just isn’t happening. Ain’t. No. Shame. Up. In. My. Game.

Jessica

Practical Tools

Many readers offered practical advice, with specific activity recommendations.

We bought up a bunch of fairy village stuff from Dollar Tree. They have played with it for 3 weeks now. We keep slipping a few new pieces in. They have moved it from tree to tree, made little roads, and had a blast. And I can at least get a little done and feel good about what they are doing at the same time. It’s beautiful out, so it’s great to sit outside and work from computer while they get vitamin D and get creative. Also, simple craft packs from Michaels that are mostly independent helps for indoor entertainment.

Amanda

Routines, a few preplanned activities (you can paint, paper activity, stamps, or color), exercise videos, or outside.

Abigail

Disney+ on rainy days. Sprinkler on sunny/warm days, though this makes a mess and works best followed by bath time.

Sarah

I created this today to make things a little more exciting! Each activity they land on is 30 minutes! Used my Twister game spinner and a paper plate

Meg
Photo credit: KAG Reader, Meg

Embrace the Screen Time

My kids have surely been getting a lot more screen time than what a normal school day ever allows. Several readers suggested that this is a practical tool for helping them get their work done.

This may not be a popular opinion, but this is only for a temporary crisis situation and not all the time. Hand them a tablet or phone.

Ann Marie

I agree, I am super behind at this point! Between school aged kids and a baby… hardly any work is getting done.

Stephanie

I agree, we’ve been allowing ~2 hours of screen time for preschooler after nap so we can get things done! I bought new educational apps or put a movie in French. These are tough times, let’s be easy on ourselves and do what works! Arts and crafts, chalk, etc. is great but requires more intervention at least with our kiddo.

Noemie

Chore Charts As Helpful Deterrent

Some parents craftily suggested using a chore chart to encourage kids to fight boredom.

As soon as they say ‘I’m bored’ you bust out the chore charts and they tend to leave you alone.

Ashley

If they’re bored (and old enough), give them chores! That’ll only happen once; after that, they will find their own entertainment.

Abigail

Have A Sense of Humor

There are moments in each day when I laugh at how ridiculous the tasks in front of me seem–with a 2-year old child harassing our new-to-us dog, my 5-year old child struggling to stay on task with his homework, me trying to get my own work done, and my husband on a work call or focusing on a big project he’s trying to get done. A sense of humor seems to be a saving grace for others too.

Go in a room with a door and get one of those do not disturb signs from hotels for the door

Kali

Being quarantined with a talkative child is like having an insane parrot glued to your shoulder.

Tricia

With our “Home or Work” order still in effect, parents are surely going to use many resources to keep their families happy and healthy. Embracing routine, but being flexible and using a range of resources–including humor–will surely take many families a long way.

How are you and your family members getting work done? What have you found most helpful?

About the Author
India Menon is a native New Orleanian married to a South Indian immigrant. They have lived in Greenville since 2011. A former educational researcher, she is now a stay-at-home parent to two children and helps organize a local Meetup group for stay-at-home moms. Fueled by coffee and good humor, she enjoys playing outdoors, cooking, eating, reading, and plenty of Pinterest fails.

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