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6 Ways to Work from Home with Your Kids Around (and Not Lose Your Mind)

posted: 06/21/16
by: Amanda Mushro
woman and son working from home
iStock

For almost seven years, I've been a work-from-home mom, and while I love that I've been able to stay home with my kids and still work, it hasn't been easy. At times, it seems downright impossible. But because the benefits outweigh the craziness, I keep doing it. Since remote jobs are on the rise, it seems many moms are trying to find the balance of working from home and raising our kids.

If you're working a day here or there or it's a full-time gig, the key to success is extra planning and organization. So rather than toss the iPad at your kid every single time you have a conference call--although, let's be honest, that iPad has been critical to survival around here -- here are a few creative ways to entertain kids while you're working remotely.

Setup a shared work space

Create a shared space where you can work comfortably--this means not trying to work on your computer on the floor-- and your kids can have toys and snacks. Everyone will be happier and more productive when they have everything they need in one space.

Busy bags

For younger kids, create "busy bags" that can only be used while you're working. Just grab a bunch of freezer bags and pack individual, inexpensive activities like art they can complete independently, small containers of Play-Doh and tools, counting and number games, and dollar store finds. Keep the bags in a large container, and when you need to get to work, your kids can grab a busy bag and work next to you.

Playdate swaps

For days you're really busy, try to schedule weekly playdate swaps with other parents. One day you host the kiddos in your home, and another day, their parents host at their home. If you have a consistent schedule, you'll always know what days of the week you can get a lot of uninterrupted time to work.

Mother's helper

Part of the benefit of working from home with your kids is saving tons of money on child care, but there are times when no amount of activities and snacks allows you to get your work done. In these cases, consider a mother's helper. This could be a younger neighbor that could come and play with your kids while you're still in the house. Usually mother's helpers are paid less than regular sitters and nannies. So you save money, your kids are having fun, and you get your work done.

Water play

During warm months, set up your work space outside and fill buckets and containers with water, bubbles, and lots of toys. Your kids can splash and play and you can work next to them.

Plan ahead

Before you start your work day and the day with your kids, bag up individual snacks, drinks, and activities. This way you can go into a conference call or online meeting and not spend your time pouring drinks and grabbing snacks. Set your kids up before your meetings start but always know where the mute button is just in case they (or you!) have an outburst.