HELP: I'm a stay-at-home parent. How can I work from home with kids?

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Answered by: Kevin, An Expert in the Balancing Work and Family Category
Not many parents will experience the absolute pleasure of working from home with kids. It can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. But, that's not to say it doesn't come with some big issues that have to be resolved.

For instance, the most rewarding times to work with your kids at home happens to be when they are younger. It's great to be able to give young kids the attention and time that they so crave from parents in those years. But, in these years it can be very difficult to reach a balanced schedule between work and kids.

So, how do you go about setting the right balance? The answer is found in intentional design and routine.

First, you'll need to determine what your goals are, what you'll need to do for your kids during the day, and effective ways to keep them occupied between the times you'll be spending with them. Then, you'll need to work in bursts of 30-45 minutes each, with at least a 15 minute break in between.

Though this may seem like "no time" to really get something accomplished, this is an old trick of ultra-productive pros. If you spend too much time focused on a single task without a break, it can dramatically eat into your productivity and creativity. So, in one way, having something else to focus on throughout the day can be a great benefit. Let that focus go to your kids.

Be aware that you'll need to adjust whatever schedule you come up with. Getting the whole thing right the first time just isn't reasonable, nor should it be. Just like with everything else about being a parent, it gets easier with experience and understanding.

Lastly, you'll need to get your kids to know what it's going to mean for you to work from home. Set a routine and stick to it no matter what so that the kids can be used to exactly how each day will go. After some time, they'll start to tell you what's coming up next and they'll grow into helping you accomplish your work.

Of course, all of this is easier if you have someone at home to help, but it can even be done if you're a single parent without help. Work with what you have. Set reasonable goals. Use reasonable timelines. And keep reminding yourself why you're doing it all.

As you start your work from home with kids, they will need to know exactly how they'll need to behave while you work. Depending on your type of work, this can range from completely silent to calm with inside voices. They'll also need to know when it's okay to interrupt and what the reward will be for helping you accomplish your goals. No matter what, make sure to reward good behavior with activities that will excite your kids!

Learning how to work from home with kids will be the most rewarding experience of your life. As an added bonus, you can teach your kids how to do the same by teaching them to work in 30 to 45 minute bursts. In this way, it's possible for you to directly benefit your grandchildren, giving them the gift of their parents' time, long before you have any.

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