Whether you have one or multiple children, they're teenagers or toddlers - the life of a working parent is a huge juggling act. Working from home can sometimes be challenging, and if you add children into the mix it can be hard for some home workers to focus whilst also keeping kids entertained throughout the day. 

The global pandemic changed a lot of peoples working lives in various ways, none more so than parents who had to learn to juggle working from home, homeschooling, and babysitting all within a matter of days as the UK shut down. 

Moving forward, many companies are now looking into keeping some level of flexible working as a permanent feature to allow for a better work/life balance for employees. In this handy guide, we are going to look at a few tips to help manage your work at home when you have young children around, discussing how to keep working effectively over holidays, navigate school hours and half terms like a pro and share other handy tips on managing your time more effectively. 

Tips for working from home with children 

Now that working from home is becoming a part of the new working world for many, having kids around during the working day is going to become more and more common. Especially during seasonal periods such as the summer holidays and the muchly-anticipated Christmas break.
With that in mind, here are some of our top tips for parents working from home with kids around: 

1.    Be honest

One of the best tips is to be completely transparent with your employer and your direct team to let them know when you have your kids at home with you. 

For example, if there’s a half-term coming up it might be worth reminding them the week before to let them know you need a slightly higher level of flexibility in terms of working hours and possibly deadlines. 

That way if you need to step out of a conference call or rearrange a meeting, your team are much more likely to understand your circumstances and can accommodate accordingly.   

2.    Find your own schedule  

Embracing a hybrid workplace as a parent is also about finding a schedule that works for you, your employer, and your children. 

Again, being honest will help find timings that work for everyone involved and make sure you have the flexibility to adapt around your children and work simultaneously. Do you need to work the solid eight hours? Or can you still get your work done in smaller bursts of time?

Finding your own schedule is the best way to juggle a work/life balance with your career and family life. Trying to get work done earlier before the little ones wake up, or focusing on getting a highly productive hour in whilst kids are napping, or a baby is asleep can help you fit your life around work more comfortably.  

3.    Enjoy the additional time together 

A few years ago, you may not have imagined a time where you got to spend quality time with your children and carry on with your career at the same time. This is an added bonus on the back of the pandemic that many employees now get to experience a better work/life balance. 

Think of ways to get your children involved in your day without disrupting its flow. Simple things like making sure you are eating lunch together or enjoying a walk or some downtime during breaks will help improve everyone’s day.

4.    Get advice from other parents 

We sometimes forget that there are loads of people in the same situation as us. Finding out what works for other parents who are working from home with kids could help you overcome logistical challenges, and vice versa. 

They may suggest something that has been working from them which could be invaluable to you, and sharing experiences can really help reduce stress and help you navigate a new hybrid flexible workplace. 

There are also plenty of online resources such as Working Families that offer great career guidance, mental health support, and additional information for working parents. 

5. Set clear boundaries  

By now, chances are you already have a home office set up for yourself. This is your dedicated workspace, so make sure you set clear boundaries with your children when they are in the house so they know what they can and can’t do when you are working from home.  

This could be as simple as keeping the door shut when you’re on calls and letting your kids know that means they can’t come in or make too much noise outside the room. 

6. Define expectations 

It’s important to set expectations early on both for yourself, your family and your employer. Being upfront on the challenges and/or limitations being faced when you are working from home as a parent compared to working in the office can help your team to support you and alter schedules so that you can all work more efficiently together. 

That way the distractions and interruptions that can come with working at home with kids can be limited from a work perspective as well.  

How to manage your time as working parents

 Being able to spin a lot of plates is one of the jobs of any parent, and sometimes it can be overwhelming and tiring. It is important to take the time to relax and not stress too much. Here's just a few handy pointers that can help you manage your time: 

🤹Prioritise - if you find yourself not being able to get everything done, try and find the most important tasks and focus on getting those done first.

💪Adapt - it will become apparent fairly quickly that you will not be able to work the same at home with your children as you did in the workplace. Being able to adapt and find flexible ways to work and look after your kids is an important part of time management at home.

Set reminders - this may seem very simple but setting reminders and keeping notes either on your phone or via an automated system such as Alexa can help you organise and balance all your key tasks.

🤝Negotiate - being open and honest with your colleagues and boss can help you manage your time better. Work together to get projects done, and if your children need attention you can be more flexible and adapt. Maybe you work earlier so you can finish at a time that fits your kid’s schedule.

Organise your time - set out blocks of time to get certain things ticked off your to-do list and try to stick to those timings. For example, setting aside some time every day to answer emails, phone calls or video calls or do a certain project will help you get tasks done in smaller pieces.

What’s next?

Check out more helpful advice on how to work from home with others, including other family members who might also work from home, to help you navigate the new working world of flexible working. 

Are you looking for your next career move? Head over to our Job Applicant resources page for expert advice on your job search. 

Download your Job Applicant Toolkit

Expert advice on everything from interview tips to salary negotiation skills.  


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