23 Tips for Working at Home With Kids

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published October 27, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published October 27, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As a parent, working from home gives you the opportunity to further your career while also keeping your kids close. Though this type of employment isn't for everyone, it provides several benefits for those whose lives it does work for. In this article, we explain the benefits of working at home with kids and give you 23 tips to help you balance your workload, while also paying attention to your kids throughout the workday.

Related: A Parent's Guide to Working From Home With Kids

What are the benefits of working at home with kids?

While working with kids in the house may cause distractions, giving structure to your day and setting boundaries can help you enjoy remote work to the fullest. Not only that, but working at home with kids comes with several benefits for both you and your children. Here are some of the benefits of working at home with kids:

  • More time spent with your children: When you work remotely, you're bound to see your kids more often. This gives you the opportunity to play with them and watch them grow. While it's important to focus on your job, using your time strategically allows you to get the best of both worlds.

  • Eliminates or reduces childcare costs: Working from home means you don't have to pay daycare since you're still able to watch over them during the day. If you decide to hire a part-time babysitter or nanny, it's still often more cost-effective than having a daycare facility or full-time nanny for the entire workday.

  • Saves on commuting: Since you don't have to travel to an office or other workplace, you avoid having to pay for gas or public transportation. It's also greener for the environment and means you can avoid heavy traffic, therefore, giving you more time to focus on work.

  • Improved lifestyle and emotional health: Working from home allows for a greater work-life balance. It essentially lets you spend more time with your family, gives you the opportunity to volunteer at your child's school and allows time for the things you enjoy doing outside of work. This can lead to greater job satisfaction and ensures you have a happier work-at-home experience.

Related: A 2020 Back-to-School Guide for Balancing Work and Kids at Home

Tips for working at home with kids

Not every family approaches working from home with kids the same way. To help you find the most satisfaction from this arrangement, consider your kids, their needs, the needs of your partner and your particular job in order to create a schedule that works for everyone. Use these tips to help you work at home with kids more efficiently:

Explain it to your kids

While kids don't always understand that you have a job to do, it's important to set clear expectations with them. Let them know you have work to do and help them understand that they need to keep themselves occupied during the day. Explaining to them that you work hard all week to earn money to take care of the family helps them understand the value of hard work and responsibility.

Enjoy the little moments

While it's important to focus on work, keep in mind that you're also a parent. Don't feel guilty for enjoying the little moments in their lives. Whether you catch them taking their first steps or hear your child talking to their toys, enjoy these moments to the fullest.

Hire a babysitter part-time

If you don't have a live-in partner or they work outside the home, consider hiring a babysitter or nanny part-time. This allows you to focus on work while they entertain and feed your child. Hiring a babysitter or nanny may also prove more cost-effective than sending your child to daycare if you worked outside of the home.

Use unexpected visits to your advantage

If a friend or relative stops by, use this time to get some work done. Using your time wisely can help you stay productive. It also means you can enjoy your friends and family without distraction the next time they visit.

Move your desk closer to your kids

Depending on how much you need to concentrate, consider moving your work desk to your kid's play area. This allows you to keep a close watch on them, while also getting some much-needed work done. Keep in mind that if you have a video call, your coworkers might see them on the screen if they come into view.

Block out the noise

When you're working from home with kids, you're bound to get distracted from various background noises. This can make it difficult to concentrate and complete your tasks. Consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones to block out unwanted noises and sounds. You can also purchase a fan to help filter out background noises, or opt for a white noise machine to cover sounds coming from your home office.

Related: How Not to Get Distracted While Working Remote

Use nap time to your advantage

When your kids take a nap during the day, use this window of opportunity to complete your most important tasks. This gives you some quality, uninterrupted time to focus on work.

Rotate their toys

Kids typically have short attention spans and are always looking for something new to do or play with. Make sure they have a variety of toys to keep them entertained. Giving them something new to do or play with provides you with extra time to get back to work.

Let them watch TV

While not all parents promote screen time, it can be a useful tool to get an extra 20-30 minutes of work in. Let them watch their favorite show or movie during the day—particularly if you have an important meeting to get to or a deadline to meet.

Use your time strategically

Use your time strategically by focusing on your most important tasks or any of your tasks with upcoming deadlines. Consider your work schedule and aim to complete these tasks during the time of day when you anticipate fewer interruptions. For some, it may be during the morning, while for others, it may be during their kid's naptime or in the evening.

Take short breaks

Take a short break to give your mind some much-needed rest. Consider going for a walk or spending time playing with your kids at home. A short break can help you relax and allows you to come back to work more focused and recharged. Returning to work with greater mental clarity can even boost your productivity and result in a higher quality of work.

Plan ahead

Consider your workload and make a plan for your day. Think of your duties and when it'd be best to work on them throughout your workday. Planning ahead and making a schedule for the day can help you stay on track and organized.

Keep your hands free

If you have an infant, consider purchasing a comfortable carrier that you can strap on. Baby-wearing gear can help them stop fussing, while also allowing you to multitask more efficiently. Using a carrier for even just a short period of time can help you calm them down for a nap or help you complete an important call or other task.

Share your schedule with your partner

Communicate your schedule with your significant other so they know what to expect each day. For example, if you know you're going to be really busy one day, let them know that they may need to take care of the kids or get them out of the house for a certain period of time. It also lets them know when they should refrain from disturbing you or when it's OK to rearrange your schedule for them to get work done if they also happen to work from home.

Focus on your current task

Whether you're playing with your kids or getting work done, make sure you're fully present. When you play with your kids, take your mind off work. While you may feel tempted to juggle both work and play time, it's important to separate the two to get your brain in the right mindset for each activity. This helps you be more intentional and ensures you're not only focusing on your kids, but also on your job when the time permits.

Offer incentives

Reward your kids with a small prize if they let you work for a certain amount of time without any distractions. For example, reward them with a movie or pizza night, a trip to the arcade or a trip to the local park. Not only does this allow you to get work done, but you also get to spend quality time with your kids.

Create a home office or office space

While you may not want to completely isolate yourself from your kids, look for a well-lit area of your home that allows you to get work done while keeping a close watch on them. Working in a room with a door can help you stay focused with minimal interruptions.

Be flexible

Since it's impossible to predict how your workday will go, it helps to stay open-minded. If your day doesn't go as planned, don't be afraid to rearrange your work schedule. For example, if you fell behind on work one day, consider catching up later in the night or even the next day if time allows.

Ask for help from family and friends

If you don't have a live-in partner, reach out to your friends or family members who've offered their assistance in the past. If they're parents themselves, they can have your kids over for a play date or just keep them occupied while you get to work. Not only does this give your children something to do, but it also ensures you stay productive during their absence.

Work the graveyard shift

If you didn't get as much work done during the day as you anticipated, consider working through the night. While not ideal, you can take a nap prior to staying up all night to help improve your energy level. If you decide to work the graveyard shift, avoid doing it too often as it can decrease your productivity levels. When used strategically, working through the night can help you catch up on work and ensures you don't miss project deadlines.

Create an activity list

Before you start the day, give your kid a list of activities to do. This gives them some fun ideas they can use to stay busy while you get to work. You can have them clean their room, watch a movie, build a fort or paint a picture. You can even recruit them for some simple tasks that can alleviate your workload. For example, have them organize your papers or alphabetize your files if they're of age.

Wake up early

Many kids don't wake up super early in the morning. Use this time to your advantage by getting ahead on your work and getting organized and prepared for the day. Preparing for the day, in particular, can help you structure your day based on your workload and child's needs. This can eliminate stress and ensure you get everything done in a timely manner.

Work on the weekend

If you find yourself running behind, opt for getting up early over the weekend to complete work-related tasks. While it's not ideal, it may be a better option than working late during the weekdays. It also helps you catch up and can prevent you from falling further behind in the coming week. You can even implement a reward system and treat yourself to a fun evening out with your family once you complete your work for the day.

Explore more articles