While much of the world is testing the waters in reopening businesses and spending a bit more time out of the house, one thing hasn’t changed (especially as we enter summer break) – our kids are home from school all. day. long.

And while we’re all loving having more time with our babies, as parents, we can all collectively agree that our productivity has definitely taken a hit.

Many parents are experiencing work from home life for the first time while others are simply struggling to adapt to having their kids home all of the time with schools (and likely summer camps) closed during the pandemic.

After all, these sweet children don’t understand yet that our bosses need us to do our jobs so that we get our paychecks and can continue to pay for nice things. 

Everyone should be willing to work with parents who are working from home and homeschooling while most schools and childcare facilities are closed. Take a look at this guide on how to homeschool a foreign language while stuck at home with real life stories for ideas and inspiration. There’s also more tips here for homeschooling young children

But since it looks like this is the way things are going to be for awhile, let’s go over a few tips for our fellow moms and dads figuring out how to work from home with kids.

How to Work From Home With Kids

If you’re looking for tips on how to work from home with your kids around, here are a few important steps to take, as well as strategies that worked well for me personally.

1. Talk to your kids.

First things first, make sure your kids know what to expect. It sucks when they have to sit at home all day, unable to play with their friends, all while mommy and/or daddy have to work.

But age depending, sitting down and letting your kids know that this is a temporary situation and that you’re going to do your best to make sure they have things to do throughout the day, even though you need to work, can help to alleviate some stress.

Also, tell your kiddos that the reason you have to work is so you can buy them more toys. I’m no expert, but my son definitely ate this up.

2. Talk to your boss and coworkers.

Make sure those that rely on you and that you work with most closely are also aware of your work-from-home situation.

Not only do you want to let them know that your sweet babies might be accidentally popping in and out of a Zoom call, but just giving your boss and coworkers a heads up that your work day might be a bit more interrupted is a courteous way to handle this.

Hopefully everyone will be understanding about this unavoidable situation – and if they’re not, this might be a good indicator that you need to start job hunting when things start going back to normal.

Everyone should be willing to work with parents who are working from home and homeschooling while most schools and childcare facilities are closed.

3. Create a schedule.

Structure is essential. It can be even harder on both you and your kid(s) if you go through the day to day not knowing what will come next.

I put together a schedule for my son for us to follow throughout the day, especially so that he doesn’t have too much screentime.

It looks like this:

8AM: Mommy starts work – free time
9AM: Breakfast
9:15AM: Free time
10:30AM: Non-electronics activities
11:30AM: Lunch
11:45AM: Free time
1PM: Solo reading
1:30PM: Play with Mommy (I take an hour break from work)
2:30PM: Non-electronics activities
4PM: Free time
5PM: Mommy finishes work

And we don’t put any structure to the rest of our day so that we can just do as we please for the last few hours until bedtime.

But while non-electronics time always gets some pushback, it has been so helpful to have something like this in place so that we both know what should be happening at any given time.

4. Take advantage of naptime.

If your kids are at napping age (I long for the days), take full advantage of that time to get some focus work done.

While as parents, we tend to be pretty good at zoning out any background noise, sometimes real focus work is impossible unless there’s no sound and no outside distractions coming in.

Working during naptime (or even if you give your kid an iPad and tell them to sit in their bedroom and play for 30 minutes or an hour) can be a huge stress reliever if you’ve got some big projects that you still need to work on.

5. Print off activity sheets.

Get creative in finding activities to distract your kids. Whether you buy an activity book or simply print off activity sheets, you can find tons of free printables online that your kids can take advantage of.

I printed off some mazes, color by numbers, and connect the dots sheets just by doing a quick Google search.

A few great resources include All Kids Network, Krazy Dad, and Teachers Pay Teachers.

6. Create a list of non-electronics activities.

This was a big one for me. My son is all about his video games right now, but I cannot have him spending dawn til dusk switching from his iPad to YouTube to his Nintendo Switch.

I put together a list of non-electronics activities that he has at his disposal, wrote them on small sheets of paper, then folded them up and placed them into a mason jar labeled “Non-Electronics Activity Jar.”

This way, he’s able to pull out some ideas during his time periods where he has to put electronics away and get inspiration for what he might want to do.

Some of these include:

  • Playing with Hot Wheels
  • Playing with super hero action figures
  • Making slime
  • Playing with clay
  • Reading a book
  • Coloring
  • Painting
  • Building with Lincoln Logs
  • Building with Legos

Just to name a few of the MILLIONS OF TOYS he has that he never touches because “they’re boring.”

7. Take breaks.

Like I mentioned in my schedule, I’ve given myself an hour-long break in the middle of the day to play with my son.

Whether he chooses to play a video game together (Minecraft is a bit of a guilty pleasure), go on a bike ride, play a board game, or something else, it’s all up to him.

This is another thing you might need to mention to those you work closely with, but as long as you’re making up hours and work, there should be no problem.

You might even choose to do most of your work early in the morning before the kids go to bed, or late at night after their bedtime.

Do whatever you can to have some kind of midday break, just to recharge and spend some parenting time with your babies.

8. Get outside.

Do you have a backyard? Take your computer outside and let the kids run around.

If you live in an apartment, I’m right there with you. My son and I are in a fourth floor apartment, and while we love the view, it can be very hard to go outside.

One thing I’ve started to do is pack up a picnic blanket and a bag full of toys so that we can go sit outside in one of the grassy areas and just breathe some fresh air.

Plus, it’s a perfectly acceptable socially distanced activity outside of the house.

Do your best to find a way to get outside at least once a day, whether it’s to run in a sprinkler, go for a walk around the neighborhood, or something else that works for you and your family.

9. Make snacks/drinks kid accessible.

My last tip is to make things like snacks, drinks, and cups as accessible for your kids as possible. The way you set this up is also age dependent, as you might want to prep juice and water cups for younger kids ahead of time and store them in the fridge.

Otherwise, consider setting up a snack shelf or basket and making cups easy to reach so your kids can grab themselves something to eat or drink throughout the day instead of relying on you.

Not only does this give you more focus time, it helps your kids to become a bit more self sufficient, even if it’s in a small way.

What are your best working from home tips, especially when working with small, needy co-workers? Let me know in the comments!