Remote work is not so rare these days. More and more companies have already realized that a remote employee can be even more effective than the one in the office. However, for a mom who has decided to work from home after the appearance of a new family member, there are many more aspects to take into consideration. The Trendy Toddlers have prepared some tips for working at home with a baby.
Though, there is another situation. The one that has forced millions of people across the globe to stay home and work remotely. The huge difference is that an expecting mom has planned her remote work routine and is at least mentally ready. While the quarantine has unexpectedly locked parents and children in one apartment. So, how to arrange a working day at home with kids? How not to fall behind with deadlines and be effective? And important is, how not to go nuts? We have prepared some effective tips for working from home with a baby from parents who successfully manage this task.
Tips for Working From Home With a Baby: Getting Ready
First and foremost, it is crucial to understand that remote work with children at home is completely different from a child-free situation. No matter, if you are planning to start working before your baby goes to kindergarten or you have been made to stay at home due to quarantine, you should take your time to be mentally ready. Here are a few aspects to consider:
- Your sleep and daily schedule will change because the time when your child is asleep is the time for the most complicated and scrupulous tasks.
- It will be necessary to get often distracted by regular routines related to taking care of a child, as well as by emergencies.
- You will have to learn prioritizing tasks and dividing them into short milestones.
- Probably, you will need to inform your colleagues if your child or kids are too active.
- Honestly, you may feel irritated and exhausted. That is why it is crucial to think of ways to release stress and not to become a yelling parent.
What Else Can Be Done?
Of course, the way your job working with babies experience depends on many aspects like the age and activeness of your baby. Hence, it is hard to say in which age of a child parents can easily work from home. In any case, if you have managed to accept reality, it is time for other preparations:
- Foresee activities for your baby: contingent on age, there are plenty of ideas to keep your child busy for some time;
- Buy some new toys that can keep your child busy for a while;
- Find the place that is going to be your working zone minding that you should observe your baby in the process of independent play, as well as hear him or her while asleep;
- Think of any help that can be handy: if your partner is also working remotely, divide the chores; if your mother-in-law is free, arrange a Skype call with your toddler to read favorite books, etc.
It is crucial for a stay-at-home mom to understand and, at the same time, prioritize: Yes, you should be effective and put efforts for this, however, sacrificing the health of your baby and yours, as well as spoiling relations, is not the way out. After all, the family should always come first. We are not asking you to give up. To back up this statement, here are effective tips for you to get the most of your remote work.
How a Stay-at-Home Mom or Dad Can Remain Productive
We will start with general recommendations that will help you out when you think that it is impossible to combine working and bringing up children. Most of them are useful for both parents, except for those related to breastfeeding.
#1. Plan Your Working Days and Weekends
Every article with tips starts with the suggestion to plan. This one won’t be an exception. The more you plan, or it is better to say, the more you try to plan, the more you can handle. Let's be more specific. If your child has got a certain daily schedule, this is a bingo. You may thank yourself for working on setting the schedule of meals and sleeping for your child. If you are an early bird, you can try doing some most important tasks in the morning before your child wakes up.
Knowing when you need to take a break for feeding, you may inform your colleagues that you are going to be unavailable for some time. The daytime nap is the period to concentrate on important tasks as well. You may also make use of the silence around and plan important calls and conferences for this period.
On weekends, you can spend some time to cook a snack and meals for the upcoming week. Let the freezer become your best friend. It is way easier to make use of pre-cooked ingredients that cooking every day. This is also a great way to learn planning meals for the week ahead.
#2. Make Lists of Everything
According to what you have planned, do not forget to write this down. First, list all the working tasks you have for every day. The list of household chores and activities with a baby will also come in handy. Being overwhelmed with the working routine, you will easily forget about something and discover in the evening that there is no clean bedsheet.
#3. Share the Load
If your partner is also staying home and has to work remotely, this is a great possibility to split chores and routines between you. Discuss your agendas for the next days and find out when it is more convenient to handle the household for both. This is a win-win situation as you will be able to even find time to rest. Besides, such shifts will help both of you get distracted and won’t lead to exhaustion at the end of the week.
#4. Get Rid of Distractions
If you are working at home with a toddler, your main distraction is your baby. If you continue scrolling the feed on FB and read the news on the Internet, you won’t find time to work. You will be forced to fulfill tasks at night instead of having high-quality sleep. Consequently, these harmful habits will lead to falling behind with deadlines and unsatisfactory results in addition to exhaustion and nervousness.
#5. Think About Comfortable Clothing
Among multiple remote-work tips, you will find those that stress the importance of putting on office outfits when you work remotely. However, we understand that this is not completely applicable to the situation with a child. You are unlikely to be happy if your baby touches your blouse with hands after red paint. On the other hand, if you need to make a lot of video conferences, a casual T-shirt is not a proper outfit. So, we suggest you weigh all the pros and cons before choosing the wardrobe for your remote work.
#6. Have Some Rest
Well, this may sound surprising, however, being stressed and tired won’t lead to effective fulfilling of tasks and satisfactory results. If you feel that you are falling asleep or you are exhausted, make use of the nap time and have some rest. In the evening, you will finish the tasks much quicker if you have relaxed for a while.
#7. Eat Regularly
Working from home does not imply sacrificing healthy nutrition or, on the contrary, eating too much without stop. If your child has a schedule of meals, this is great. Eat together. It is a useful habit for both of you. Besides, you will have the possibility to control the eating process of your toddler.
#8. Do Not Forget About Sports
Contingent on when you are more active, choose the time for exercises or yoga. Staying fit will contribute to your health and well-being, which will lead to the effective work of the brain. If there is a possibility, consider jogging. This is a great activity to wake up in the morning and have energy sufficient for all day long.
#9. Plan Activities for Your Child
Depending on the age, as well as on the personality of your child, it may be easier or harder for you to select a game or activity to keep your child independently busy for some time. However, you may find an approach to any child, even the most active one. There are plenty of toys that can be played without the participation of parents. For instance, your child could paint with fingers, play with building blocks, cars or dolls. For a crawling baby, for example, there is a variety of playmats, rattles, and toys to keep your kid interested for an hour. In such a way, you may use the playtime to make some tasks. You will check them later when your baby is asleep. There are plenty of indoor activities that can come to your rescue.
#10. Do Not Try Being Perfect
It is impossible to do everything on time, especially if you have a baby at home to take care of. Besides, if you are forced to stay at home due to temporary restrictions, it is even impossible to like your relatives or nanny for help. So, if you failed to fulfill all the tasks planned for today, don’t blame yourself. You will do this tomorrow. This will take time to learn how to properly prioritize your tasks, be flexible and creative enough to combine your remote work with the role of a parent.
#11. Make Use of Contemporary Technologies
We are not motivating you to switch on the TV for a whole day while you are going to work. However, if there is an urgent task to be done and you cannot find an activity for your baby to play independently, there is nothing wrong with a 30-minute cartoon. Switch a timer on to beep when it is time to switch it off. If you have understood that you cannot handle without a TV or tablet, take your time to find educational content for your baby. And do not forget to check if your little one sticks to the videos and movies you have selected.
#12. Remember to Devote Time to a Child
When you are making plans and lists for your stay at home mom schedule, it is crucial not to forget how much attention your baby wants. Especially if you have been forced to stay home due to quarantine for any other reason. Your son or daughter has missed you so much. It is not surprising that he/she would try to get more of your attention. Give it. Then, your baby will understand that everything is fine and won’t become too capricious.
The less attention we pay to our children, the more they will demand it. As a result, in some time, the distance between you will become huge leading to many serious problems. This is the situation to be solved by psychiatrists, not a blog with tips. So, to avoid misbehavior because of the lack of attention, plan some time to be played with your child, for all these cute hugs and kisses.
Above is what we generally recommend for parents who have to work from home. As everything considerably depends on the age of your child, we will provide you with the schedule you could try following to ensure effective work and taking care of your baby.
Different Daily Schedule: Newborn, Infant & Toddler
Some parents may say that there is nothing easier than working from home with a newborn baby. The others may claim that it is better to consider building a career when your child reaches 2 years. Some will say that it is impossible to combine remote work with a baby at home. If you have a choice, you can make it contingent on the temper of your child, preferences, and financial possibilities. If you have been forced to work from home or would like to try this experience, here is how we suggest you schedule your working days.
Remote Work with a Newborn
Newborns usually sleep the majority of the time. So, this can be a great possibility to return to the working mood after the appearance of a new family member. Here, we will provide suggestions oh how a mom could arrange her working day with a newborn. Though, it can be adapted to the father role as well.
Usually, newborns wake up early. Of course, this depends on when the night’s sleep starts. However, we dare to assume that you go to bed before 11 p.m. to wake up early. Start your day with feeding a baby, changing, and doing usual routines. After it falls asleep, use this time to have breakfast, prepare something for lunch and do some important tasks that require the most attention.
If there is enough time, that would be great to make some exercises if you are already allowed to. When your child wakes up, you will have to feed it again. In the case of breastfeeding, it may take up to 20-30 minutes. This time can be also used to reply to emails from your cell phone, to check which tasks are left for the day. Then, you will need to spend some time with a baby and do some routines you need. Also, plan your lunch for this period. Skipping food is not recommended for breastfeeding moms.
In an hour or a bit later, you will feed a baby again. And your baby will fall asleep. Most probably, this is going to be an afternoon nap time that is the longest. Put your baby in a stroller to rock her whenever something disturbs the sleep of your baby. If it is warm outside, you may open windows to let fresh air in.
This is a great possibility to fulfill most of the tasks for the day. Be the moment your child wakes up, most chores and work will be done. Devote this time to yourself and your baby. Quite often, newborns also sleep for the third time in the evening. Make use of this short nap time to have some rest or finalize urgent assignments. However, it is better to relax. A newborn baby will make you wake up at night.
All evening can be devoted to your family. When your husband comes home, ask for some help with a baby while you get ready for dinner. After the meal and all the bathing & changing routines, get ready to bed. It is recommended to go to bed together with your baby, otherwise, you may be exhausted the next day.
Remote Work with a Newborn
Obviously, even if your newborn has no colics, is calm and not crying all day long, it is quite hard to combine parenthood with remote work. That is why a part-time working mom schedule should be approved with the management in advance. If you manage to work more and fulfill more tasks, it will be easier to increase the workload than vice versa.
However, in the contemporary world, there are plenty of possible jobs fulfilled with newborn babies easily. For instance, you could work as a shop consultant and reply to questions from potential customers sent via email or on social media. This position provides some time to provide a reply. Besides, most of the work is done with a cell phone. You may breastfeed or rock your child and work at the same time. Other alternative jobs you can handle are those that provide a possibility for you to control the workload. For example, interior designer or copywriter.
If your baby is not feeling comfortable in the crib, you can put him/her in the stroller to rock your child. There are also diverse slings and carriers in which you can comfortably place your child to sleep while you will work and do all the chores. Do not forget that newborns sleep better in a chill and humid room. That is why control the parameters of the air temperature and humidity and adjust them. Besides, this will contribute to your activity and the effective work of the brain.
Working from Home with an Infant
Your baby grows and sleeps less in the daytime, however, better at nights. Some lucky parents have even got kids who sleep all night long. This is a perfect situation for a mom to work remotely. Sleeping well will help you be active all day long. Thus, it makes sense to learn more about how to set the sleeping schedule of your baby from birth if you plan to work.
If you wake up earlier than your baby, use this time for yourself. Eat, make morning exercises, have a shower. Do anything that helps you wake up. Prepare breakfast for your child and feed him/her after waking up. After some morning routines, your baby is likely to be in a good mood for morning independent playtime. Make use of playmats and activity centers that will keep your child busy and under your supervision at the same time. This will give the possibility to start fulfilling working tasks. However, it is still better not to plan the most important ones for the morning.
In several hours, your child is likely to have a snack and fall asleep. This is the time for you to make all the important calls and the most complicated tasks. This nap may last up to three hours so, you will probably finalize all the prioritized work tasks and household chores.
When your baby is awake, have lunch together. You may have some rest and spend time with your child. Plan some playing activities with your participation. After all, children grow so fast. Favorite nursery rhymes and songs, look at books together, crawl all over the apartment or go to the balcony if going out is impossible for some reason. Till the age of 12 – 16 months, your baby may have two naps during the day. So, after an active playtime, it is time to sleep. Make sure that you finalize all the tasks and cook dinner.
Traditionally, the evening should be devoted to family. Try not to schedule any work for this time. First of all, you will be tired leading to mistakes. Besides, life cannot be all about working. Devote some time to evening rituals while your husband spends some time with your son/daughter. You may do to bed altogether or a bit later after a child depending on how tired you are and you have planned for the next day. In any case, make sure you have enough time to have rest.
Remote Work with a Toddler & Preschooler
This is one of the most questions when parents have to temporarily arrange the schedule of working. This can be caused by a cold that a baby has caught or an emergency situation. If you have been working since the first days after the birth of your baby, you are already accustomed to this rhythm. Thus, a remote job with a toddler will be a piece of cake. No matter, with a toddler or a 2-year-old, the schedule of a stay-home mom is more or less alike. What is more, your child is used to spending some time and playing independently.
If you unexpectedly face the situation requiring you to arrange the working process with a toddler, first of all, foresee activities to interest your baby. Your child can already eat by oneself and spend some time without your participation.
You may wake up together and do all the morning routines with your child. Clean your teeth, do exercises, have breakfast. After that, you may explain to your baby that you need to work for a while he/she can play with puzzles, clay, toys, board games, etc. The list can be quite long. The main thing is that you are prepared for this and have some surprises prepared for your baby when he/she gets bored by playing alone.
As an idea, you can find some educational videos to make the most urgent matters for about half an hour. If possible, plan the tasks with small breaks to get involved in the activities of your baby and help with washing hands, giving snacks, etc.
Have lunch together. If your child has still got a nap time, it is a convenient time for you to finalize everything or almost everything, you have planned for the day. If you still have to do something, it is better to do this in the evening after your child goes to bed.
As always, the evening should be devoted to family and yourself. Spend time together, have dinner, get ready to bed. Later, you will be able to watch a movie or finalize your working tasks. However, the latter is not recommended.
Pros and Cons of Remote Work with a Toddler
+ Your child can spend some time independently;
+ A toddler understands your requests well and can be obedient;
+ It is easier to interest your baby in something for a longer time;
+ There are plenty of indoor activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
- You baby can be manipulative and capricious;
- Being too curious may lead to injuries while you are overwhelmed with a job task;
- A toddler can be too active and loud distracting you from work;
- In this age, a child can by accident spoil something you have worked on for a long time.
That is why if you are looking for ways how to work from home with a toddler, it is crucial to remember about the safety of your child at home, being attentive if it has suddenly become too quiet, and not to leave your PC or papers accessible to your curious child.
If until now, your toddler was unused to playing solo and spending time independently, this is a great occasion to help him/her master this ability. After all, soon your preschooler will have to go to school and be able to concentrate for at least 30-40 minutes. This can be a good experience for parents and children likewise.
Possible Difficulties While Working at Home with a Toddler or 2 Kids
The truth is, not all the children are obedient enough for parents to successfully handle remote work with a toddler or two children staying at home. If your partner is also at home, this facilitates the situation considerably. Working and spending time with children in shifts is a great possibility to combine a remote job and parenting. However, what if you are on your own with an active toddler or two children? How to be a successful stay-at-home mom if you have to face the everyday challenge of two fighting kids or a toddler who does not want to listen to what you are saying?
Overcoming Complications and Nervous Outburst
At the age of 3 to 5 years, your child experiences a crisis of behavior. If you are unlucky to handle this when you need to work remotely and concentrate, here is what we are suggesting to you (this will also work if you have got two kids):
- Avoid saying NO all the time: Your baby obviously won’t like strict restrictions. Bear in mind that if you have been forced to stay at home, the schedule and lifestyle of your child has changed as well. Kids are not accustomed to expressing emotions. That is why you may face the challenge of misbehavior. If your baby is asking you for something you do not want to allow, avoid saying “no” directly. Try suggesting an alternative. The only exception is a dangerous situation when a firm NO is unavoidable.
- Give some freedom to your kids: If you have noticed that they have started to paint the door with the washable paint, stop before you begin yelling. Pay their attention to this and suggest them cleaning the door after they are done. Warn them of painting on other surfaces, however. Probably, your baby does not want to take his/her pajama off. Is this a problem? Hardly.
- Notice and reward good behavior & obedience: Quite often, parents take obedience for granted saying nothing. If you notice that your baby has done what you have asked for and thanked, it will motivate your baby to listen and obey. If your son or daughter is behaving perfectly all day long, reward him/her with 15 minutes more of a favorite cartoon or an extra cookie. In such a way, you will let your baby understand that behaving well is profitable.
- Make small competitions between kids or between you and your baby: This is the age when your baby wants to be first. I bet I am going to finish this email before you eat your lunch/ put on your clothes/ put all the toys in the box, etc. First of all, your baby will likely do what you have asked for. Besides, winning over a parent will bring satisfaction. If this is a competition between two children, make sure that it won’t become a fight between them. If your children are not getting along, this idea may not be suitable for your situation.
- Provide the illusion of choice: If you face permanent negative response to everything you are asking for, there is a trick. Instead of calling your baby to eat, ask what would he/she like to have for lunch — pasta or rice, etc. This is quite a tricky move as your child will choose among the two alternatives that you have pre-approved.
- Follow own rules: You have to show that it is impossible not to follow the rules and boundaries you have set. If you have allowed your baby to watch a cartoon for 30 minutes only and have set a beeper, switch off when time is over. Even if you need 10 more minutes to finalize your report. Your child will see the feasibility to manipulate and disobey. Besides, being consistent in following the rules is a good example for your child.
- Give a countdown: Your baby is asking you to play together, but you need 30 minutes to finish the task. Ask him/her to wait, set a timer, and be sure to finalize your assignment by that time. This is also a nice idea to limit something that kids are zombied with. Yeah, it’s about TV and games on a tablet. Without certain boundaries, you may both lose track of time.
- Don’t let hysterics happen: If you have noticed that your toddler is about to burst into tears, try distracting attention to something different and funny. Knowing how to make your baby laugh is great prevention of many dramas that happen occasionally.
- Practice role plays: Here, you are free to be as creative as possible, especially if you have got two kids. It will take time before they learn to create own games to keep them busy for hours. Now, you can make suggestions to them. Also, get involved when the fight is approaching.
- Do tasks later if nothing helps: Your baby may also have a bad day or feel unwell and if you cannot cope with misbehavior and hysterics, probably it is better to focus on your child and postpone all the calls for the next day. After all, remote work should not make you sacrifice the health and well-being of your son or daughter.
Every child unique, just like every person. Some lucky people may say: “My baby doesn't mess around and behaves well while I work,” however this does not mean that all the children should be the same. If you experience difficulties, give yourself some time to get used to the schedule and new routines (especially if you have just made a few steps on the way to becoming a remote employee).
Consider below before you have decided to give up:
- Let yourself make mistakes. There is nothing impeccable. If you failed on Monday, probably, you will catch up on Friday or the next week. The process of bringing up children is full of victories and failures.
- Ask for a more flexible schedule. If you have been forced to temporary work from home and cannot handle tasks in the regular working time, ask permission to finish your report later in the evening.
- Sleep well enough. The more tired you become, the more mistakes you make. It is better to do less today, however, not to get negative feedback the next day. The quality of work should not be sacrificed to meet the deadline.
- Ask a colleague for help. Of course, if the specifics of your job allow you. In a week or two, you may help this colleague with another task.
In general, it is recommended to focus on positive aspects of remote work: no time and money are spent on commuting and you and sleep longer. You can arrange a comfortable working zone. There are fewer distractions. If you think positively, you will be in a better mood and it will be easier to successfully handle the challenge of working remotely with a baby.
Remember, there are lots of people who seem to successfully work remotely with their three kids around. However, you never know if there is a nanny or a relative around to help. Besides, a partner may contribute considerably to this success. So, if it seems that everyone around can handle this challenge, while you can’t, don’t believe the first impression. Stay optimistic, prioritize, set plans and achieve milestones. Soon, you will find your way to combine a successful career with bringing up children.