Five Tricks for Getting Work Done at Home When You Have Kids

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Five Tricks for Getting Work Done at Home When You Have Kids

We are all in the same position at the moment: juggling working from home with the need to homeschool while still trying to make quality time for each other.

I would by lying if I said it wasn’t a struggle, especially with both of my husband and I having reasonable stressful jobs that require a number of conference calls a day. Plus one of our children is in school and one is in nursery, with a four-year age gap between the two of them. Although the boys will happily play together, their educational needs are very different. This can cause resentment on behalf of the seven-year-old who watches his brother with very green eyes as he learns through play. 

Five weeks into our lockdown journey there are still many challenges - but we have learnt a few tricks, which are helping us to get work done while at home with the boys.

 

1) Tag Team

It is really important to realise that you can’t do everything, at least not successfully, without losing your mind. We have been trying to tag team most days. This means that my husband will sit with the boys at the kitchen table in the morning helping them with their school work and activities while I disappear to the office. Then after lunch we swap over, although we are both still working at the kitchen table.

Having set times in the home office means that we can plan our conference and client calls during this time so we are less likely to get interrupted. Just knowing we have set times means that work that requires extra concentration can be done. I find it so much less stressful.

2) Have a Plan for Homeschool Lessons

We get sent a lot of work from school that needs to be completed. When we first started homeschooling we had a rigid timetable with one-hour slots. Each slot had a task to be completed. We realised within two days this was not going to work for us. So instead of being so structured, our eldest gets a chance to choose what he wants to do and when. He knows he has to do all the work that is set throughout the week. If he doesn’t then he will need to make up extra lessons at the weekend.

We start each week knowing exactly what needs to be done, with all the sheets and activities printed out. This makes choosing a lot easier - plus, it reduces stress on a Monday morning and allows us to focus on our own work to-do list as well. Each day we tick off the things he has done so he also feels a sense of accomplishment. I’ve reduced my expectations significantly. He also much prefers free play and imaginative play, so I make sure that we allow time in the day for him to do just that - which also allows me to catch up on emails.

3) Fun Afternoons

To keep us all sane at the end of the day we have a treat. Some one-on-one time without mobiles and without laptops is something for all of us to look forward to. It helps my Mum guilt as I know we will have that quality time. It also helps the boys to focus on something. We try and make sure this is outside whenever possible since the weather has been glorious lately. It could be playing cricket or football in the field, going for a walk or bike ride or even getting the paddling pool out. If the weather is not very good then it will be a craft project that the kids choose. Bath bombs have become a favourite!

 

4) Food, Food, Food 

I have noticed if the kids are hungry then everything gets a lot more difficult - so we try and stick rigidly to meal and snack times throughout the day. They do seem a little never ending, but I have learnt life is a lot easier for all if they are well fed with healthy snacks. Plus they are less likely to interrupt a phone call demanding food! We fill up the school water bottles in the morning and afternoon for the same reason. 

5) Rewards

If all else fails bribery can work! Both boys have a reward jar with four different coloured buttons. Different colours have a different number of points attached to them. It helps the eldest feel like he is achieving something.

For the younger one we have several activities planned for the week, with all the items for that activity easily at hand. This saves time hunting for things in the morning. I made a similar mistake in the first week with the little one as I did with the older one: expecting us to be able to get through lots of things. That did not work.

At the end of the week the boys can trade in their buttons and points for sweets and pennies. The buttons are worked into all aspects of our day. For example our eldest will get a button for each homeschool activity he completes; the younger one for each craft he completes. If they are kind to each other and don’t fight then they will get a different coloured button. By having this option it does mean if either my husband or I have to do something urgently for work we can use the rewards to our advantage: offering out buttons in return for letting us complete a work task. Each Sunday night we count out the buttons and exchange them for rewards, reconfirming for the coming week the benefit to collecting the buttons.

 

These are the five things that are helping my husband and I to get work done with the kids at home. It's a tricky balancing act and I hope that they help your family as they have helped mine. Please also share in the comments things that are helping you get through this crazy time. I would love to hear about them.

About Me

 

I run Mudpie Fridays, a parenting and travel blog that shares my husband’s and my parenthood balancing act and our adventures both in the UK and abroad. My name is Clare and I am married with two gorgeous boys, Monkey aged 7 and Kipper who is 3. As a family we have a passion for searching out new experiences to share with the boys. We hope to ignite in them the desire to learn and understand different people and cultures. By sharing our adventures I hope to encourage other parents to do the same. Time is the most precious commodity. Choose to spend it well.

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