By Lisa Caplan
Life happens. If you have young children and work from home, the day will come when you will need to work while your child is home. Working with a young child in tow can be challenging, but there are a few strategies you can use to help you stay focused and productive:
- The reality is that your productivity will most likely be impacted when you have a child in tow. Set realistic expectations, be patient with yourself and accept that you may not be able to accomplish as much as you would on a typical workday.
- If it’s helpful, communicate with your coworkers that you don’t have childcare and will be working with a little helper.
- Plan your work tasks around your child’s schedule. For example, use your child’s naptime to work on more challenging tasks.
- If your child is old enough, you can use visual aids to help them understand when you’re working and when you’re available to play or interact with them. This can be as simple as using a “busy” sign when you need to focus on work. For really young children you can use a sign that is just a color. For example a red piece of paper means that you are busy and green means you are available.
- If possible, create a designated workspace where you can work without distractions. This may be a separate room, a desk, or even a quiet corner of your living room.
- This is a good time to make selective use of technology, which can be a lifesaver when you’re trying to work with a young child at home. You can use educational apps or videos to keep your child entertained. You can also turn on their favorite show. Sometimes you just have to do what works to occupy them.
- Finally, remember to be flexible and adaptable. Your child’s needs and mood will change throughout the day, so be prepared to shift your priorities and adjust your schedule as needed.
It’s important to find a balance between work and parenting. Be kind to yourself if you’re not able to get as much done as you would like. Prioritizing your child’s needs and well-being is always the most important thing.
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