If you are a work-at-home parent of a baby or toddler, you likely understand the meaning of the word chaos in ways you never imagined in your pre-parenthood life. Perhaps you are performing your employment duties remotely because you cannot afford reliable childcare, or working at home provides the most cost-effective solution for your family. Maybe you and your partner simply prefer having a parent at home to function as the on-call caregiver for the children. To thrive in your situation instead of simply surviving, consider these five strategic tips from Business on the Internet.
1. Create a Visual Schedule
In addition to creating appropriate activities and using safe toys to accommodate independent play, your child may respond to a visual schedule that includes pictures for work time, playtime, mealtime and nap time. Using a visual schedule may help toddlers orient themselves around your workday and understand that they will have your attention soon.
2. Utilize Nap Times for Meetings
Parents of babies and young toddlers may tell you to take a break while your child naps; however, as a remote-working parent, you may not have this option. Use the quiet of naptime to schedule your phone calls or remote meetings. If your child has stopped napping, or if he or she is struggling to fall asleep without you there, you may have to utilize another strategy. Try using a busy bag or an educational show to keep your child occupied during a necessary meeting.
3. Set Up a Home Office for School or Work
If working remotely is a long-term situation for you, you need a dedicated workspace in which to complete your daily tasks. You may also be considering going back to school, completing coursework for a career change or finishing a bachelor’s degree online, working at your own pace while you care for yourself and your family.
4. Make Busy Bags
Though a certain amount of TV viewing is fine for small children if it is educational, you can sidestep your worries about too much screen time for toddlers by creating busy bags for your little ones. Use muffin tins, boxes, or other containers you have at home to hold a few small activities that your child can complete independently.
5. Don’t Neglect Yourself
According to one published report, the repeated stresses of parenting can become so mentally, physically, and emotionally draining that it leads to parental burnout and harmful consequences. As a working parent of little children, it can be tempting to focus entirely on your family’s needs first, your work second and yourself last. Make time for yourself during the day and after your children go to bed, even if you need to schedule ten-minute walks around the neighborhood while you listen to an audiobook or take a nap when your baby naps in the afternoon. Pick up some comfortable clothing that allows you to stay active such as a new pair of leggings, sneakers, or hands-free nursing bra.
Working at home with small children and babies can prove successful when planned carefully. Give some of these tips a try to help each day go smoothly and don’t forget to schedule downtime to take care of your own mental health.
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