Covid-19 – How to Work from Home – Part 2 (I have Children Version)

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I’ve been working at home and homeschooling my kids for the last 9 years. I thought this whole lockdown thing would be a piece of cake – but even for our crazy household, there have been some adjustments.


On the outside not much has changed, I still work from home – and the kids are still being homeschooled.

Don’t have kids? Check out Sarah’s advice for child-free self isolation


But the kids have really missed all their friends and activities. Things like drama classes (although there’s a fair bit of that with 6 kids at home!) scouts, gymnastics, classes, outings, unauthorised baking (we are looking forward to the day we find flour in the supermarket again!!)…

So there has been a bit of grieving and grumping as they all come to terms with the new normal. And they’ve needed the adults in our household a bit more – which has occasionally been hard on the adults!

But 2 weeks into self-isolation and no one has punched anyone, everyone has all the limbs they had to start with, and I’ve managed to get some work done – which I count as a win.

Want to know how we do it? Here are my top tips for working from home with kids


1. Foster Independence

Since my kids were brand new, I have always worked to make sure they were as independent as appropriate (independence looks different for a toddler than it does for a teen).

Having independent kids means that you can have time to work during the day and your kids are not looking to you for entertainment, or snacks (the two big interruptions).

Here’s how that has looked in our house over the years:

  • Making sure the kids know what they can eat and can get it for themselves. This could mean packing a lunch box and drink bottle for younger kids and making sure they know where it is and can reach it without you. For older kids, write up a list of what they can snack on so they don’t have to interrupt you to ask.
  • Let kids be bored. Boredom fosters creativity and imagination. My standard answer to “I’m bored” is a list of chores – it’s amazing how fast kids can find alternative activities!
  • Set younger kids up with activities – their favourite toys, playdough, audiobooks, art supplies, puzzles – so they have plenty to choose from.
  • Create a list of activities for older kids who might need some inspiration. Or, better still, get your kids to come up with their own list.


2. Make Time to Connect

When my kids feel loved and connected to me, they are more independent. Make sure you schedule time to connect with your kids into your workday.

A quick hug on your way to getting your coffee, eating lunch together, playing a quick board game or reading a story during a break – keep your kid’s bucket full and they will feel more centered and less needy.


3. Set Boundaries

In our house, the rule is that you may not come into my office during work hours unless there is blood, fire, or an ax murderer on the loose.

Communicating boundaries around when you are available and what is expected from your kids helps them to feel secure. Expect to repeat yourself a lot at first! But your kids will catch on.

Here are a few ways to help them:

  • Try and stick to a routine so your kids know what to expect
  • Use a timer – set the timer for 20 minutes and let your kids know that when it goes off, you’ll be available
  • Teach kids to tell the time if they are old enough so they can keep an eye on the time and know when you will finish work
  • Need an hour or so to focus? Schedule a movie and let kids know that you will be unavailable until the movie ends

Remember, sometimes your kids just need you – I’ve done countless hours of work cuddling small kids on my lap, or with slightly larger kids draped across my chair.


4. Embrace the Chaos

Our house currently looks like we’re in the middle of a game of Jumanji. It’s ok. Everyone is happy, I got some work done, we can tidy it up … later.  Sometimes you just have to be ok with a bit of chaos – angle your desk so you can’t see the mess. If you are on Zoom, try out a virtual background.

Be kind to yourself. This is hard. Don’t expect perfection.

You will probably shout at your kid(s) at least once.

But you will get through this!


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