When you work from home with young kids it’s a bit of a dream come true juggling act. The idea of a flexible schedule, no child care fees or commute is very attractive. Not only that, you get to be there for all the milestones as your kids grow up.
Without a strategy for managing your time, your day can quickly spiral into ‘crazyland’ with deadlines looming.
Benefits of working at home with young kids
I never set out to work form home or desired to be a work at home mum. I’m thankful that God knew what I needed and prepared me ahead of time.
After working from home for just over 20 years it’s time to move business and school/study into it’s own space. Currently we’re in the early stages of building an office pod in the back yard.
The research phase has been so much fun. Making decisions about how we’ll use the space took me back to all the different office spaces and schedules I’ve had through the years as our family grew and life changed.
Whether your work is paid or voluntary I know these tips can help you manage your time so you can get things done and enjoy time with your little ones.
As I look back there are many things I treasure about being a work-at-home-schooling mum, here are a few.
Having a flexible schedule wasn’t important when I first started working from home. It was just me, as my husband would go out to work during the day. However, once we had our son, I was beyond thankful to have this flexibility.
Working when your little ones asleep and being able to take a break + play when their awake is what it’s all about.
It wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine though. Our son had extreme allergies and eczema from when he was just a few weeks old. It took a lot of time to care for his skin and prepare food. Working from home made it easier to take care of him and gave me time to research + learn what we needed to know.
As he’s gotten older, and we added home schooling into the mix, the flexibility of working at home has been one of my most treasured blessings.
One of the things I really love about working from home is sharing treasure moments with my son. Seeing all those firsts when he was a baby, to being able to help in class and go on excursions when he went to day school.
Once we started home schooling there were even more things we could do together like making special breakfasts on birthdays and play card games at break time. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to experience all these amazing things with him as he’s growing up.
On a side note I love wearing my ugg slippers and track pants in the winter time, treasured meaningful mum moments!
It goes without saying that you save a lot of childcare fees when you have your children home with you while their young. Not only that, you save a bunch on travel expenses from not commuting to work too, as well as buying a lot less clothes, fragrances and makeup. My wardrobe has certainly changed over the years.
I like that working at home has kept our transport costs down by being a one car family. My husband does have a motorbike for those times when we need it. We’ve been able to use that money to do other things, like having a caravan.
I wasn’t one who would buy lunch or coffees but I can only imagine the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars you can save from eating at home.
The daily commute, packing bags or squeezing jobs into your lunch break all disappear when you work from home. And being able to call a company, pay bills and run errands when it suits you is terrific.
Those time savings really add up and can positively effect not only your schedule but your general health and well being.
Taking care of home jobs during the week has made it so much easier to have family time and go caravanning on the weekend. We’ve loved visiting new places + experiencing new things.
My best tips for working at home with kids
I started working from home years before our son was born. Once he became my little assistant, it was time to change things up and find ways for us to both enjoy the day.
I hope you find these strategies as helpful as I did when he was young.
Family friendly schedule
Talk together as a family to create a routine that suits both your family and work commitments. It will probably mean that life will have it’s own rhythm during this time while the children are young.
Create your schedule to work with their routine. Using the Time Map spread from the FUSElife Planner Kits can help you map out your little ones needs and find your best work hours.
Mix up your work hours to suit your needs. One of the perks of working form home is flexibility, so take advantage of it.
Maximise nap times
Use nap times to the fullest. These can be some of the best time to set your office hours to ensure you get work done.
My husband worked out that when our son was a baby we’d have about 40 minutes when he when down for a nap. It he slept past that first cycle you’d be sure to get another. Knowing his timing made it so much easier to plan what I was doing and use my time better.
Time blocking + batching
To make the most of your work time, time block + batch tasks as much as you can. It’s is the powerful way to get things done in less time.
I call time blocking + batching PowerChunks™. You can learn how to master this power skill here.
For example, when I’m in the kitchen I’ll make enough salad for two days of lunches and chop up veggies for dinner at the same time. In the office, I’ll do all my accounts for the week in one session, create a bunch of social posts or articles at the same time.
When you’re in the zone doing one kind of task, it’s quicker to do more of the same task than it is to stop after one and come back to it at later stage to do another. These time savings really add up. Collecting these minutes, can turn into hours each week. And that’s valuable time you can have with your family and friends, doing things you enjoy.
Balancing work and play
The saying about the years go quickly while the days are long, is true. Enjoy both your work and your children by taking regular breaks.
I can’t remember half the work I was doing back when our son was young, but I do remember watching him smile in his rocker, roll across the floor form one side to the other, the train tracks we built under the table, through the lounge room and into the kitchen and countless hours we spent colouring in.
It was actually easier when he was a baby to take breaks often as he needed more constant attention. I’m so glad that I got into the habit for when he got older.
Having a special box of activities that can be played with only while you work can be a super helpful strategy. I worked on a laptop back then and having upstairs toys and downstairs toys made the different play times more special.
My husband use to set a timer for when it was time to hop off those kids rides at shopping centres. I’m so glad he did because it made changing activities when working at home with kids so much easier.
I’ve heard some mums have a special something for their kids to do for when they’re on the phone.
Make celebrating special moments part of your family traditions and routines. You’ll be so glad you took the time and made the effort when they get older.
Having a designated work space will help to separate business from family life. Being able to close the door when the work day is over or it’s family time is great.
In the early years I was able to have a separate room for my office. When we stared home schooling we moved school + the office into the main family area. It worked great but was a little more difficult to ‘close the door’ at knock off time. Shutting down and unplugging the computer is my current ‘close the door’ moment for changing gears.
Not everyone understands that your time is precious when you work from home. Setting boundaries with friends and family is important so you can get work done. Schedule time in your calendar to meet up and chat on the phone. When it’s part of your weekly routine it won’t be an intrusion, rather a welcomed part of your flexible lifestyle.
Working at home with kids is an incredible opportunity. And using these tips and strategies can help you balance them both and keep your sanity.