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No kidding: Working from home requires having a plan for children

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Have kids? If so, your work-from-home experience has been filled with ups and downs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Children can be fun but they can also be a distraction when you’re up against a deadline. With that in mind, think about these tips for times when the kids are around while you’re trying to get things done.

Talk with your employer (or employees)

These are not normal times, so it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to work typical schedules. The days of 9-to-5 are mostly on hold until we’re back in our offices. That’s especially true when youngsters are involved. Their ages will have a big effect on your schedule so make sure your employer understands. And, bosses, continue having conversations with your employees and adjust schedules as needed. We all have the same goals of staying productive. It’s just going to take different routes for everyone.

Set a schedule

If you have a husband, wife, partner, relative or trusted friend to work with, this is a little easier to pull off. After talking with your employer or employees, sit down with your spouse, partner or friend and break the day into segments when you’ll be working and when you’ll be watching the kids. This will likely involve starting your combined days a little earlier and working a little later. Again, remote work offers more freedom and flexibility.

Sit down for meals together

Nobody is staying late at the office so meals are easier to plan. Break up the monotony with theme nights: pizza, tacos or something off the grill. There are many choices, and partners should evenly share duties. (Make this part of your workday segmented schedule we discussed earlier.) You could even have lunch as a family. Make it a picnic to break up the workday. Which leads us to…

Make some time for yourself

The days can be long and frustrating. The kids have long since gone past their stir-crazy phase. No one knows whether traditional school is coming back in the fall. What’s a parent to do? Consider online yoga or fitness classes. Maybe break out that book you’ve been meaning to read. Another way to keep your sanity is to take an occasional vacation day. It doesn’t appear many of us will be taking big summer trips this year, so there’s no sense in letting that time go to waste.

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