8 Ways to Work from Home Productively with Kids

woman working on a laptop at home.

The first days and weeks of school have come and gone, with many students not returning to the classroom. Many children returned to the classroom, only to find school cancelled a short while later. Increasingly, parents across the globe are turning their living rooms into their children’s classroom. For those parents fortunate enough to work from home and have this precious time to spend with their children, work-education balance can become a stressor, especially when this is a new routine for your family. But no matter- with just a few simple adjustments, productivity can return to your home faster than you could have imagined.

1. Prepare Everything the Night Before

Set out your children’s clothes, make their breakfast and lunch meals, get all their school supplies and books ready, have their designated school places all set to go and prepare whatever you need for the next day on the night before. Waking up with upteen things to do means the last thing you need is extra work. Most people will find they’re most successful in the morning when everything is ready and they can be on autopilot as much as possible. Besides, parents aren’t the only ones who stress out about everything they need to remember in the morning. Our kids do as well, and what’s more, they sense our stress too. If it’s something you’ll need to think of for the next day’s use- get it ready the night before. When your kids go to bed knowing they’re all ready for the next day, they’ll start off more relaxed and motivated.

2. Explain the Situation

Most children are unaware of how their behaviour affects your work productivity. Others are under the impression that virtual schooling isn’t ‘real’ school. Some assume that their parents working from home means their parents don’t really have to work. Kids get bored -and are naturally full of curiosity and energy- even when we parents are overwhelmed and stressed. Most children aren’t trying to be poor students or disruptive to their parents’ work, but simply don’t understand the severity of the situation.

It’s worth trying to convey to your children that virtual school is real school, and they are expected to take it seriously. Because with virtual school there’s little teacher enforcement, this is a chance for them to show you how responsible they are, and therefore earn more privileges. Likewise, your virtual work is real work, and there are real people in your team and which your company serves, who count on you to get that work done. Your child must know that they are accountable to you, their teachers and their classmates. And similarly, you are accountable to your clients or customers, supervisor and work team. Accountability in this respect helps them to learn responsible behaviour.

3. Predesignate Rewards (and Consequences)

By predesignating rewards, your children have something to look forward to, so long as they fulfill whichever behaviour and academic requirements you set for them. Conversely, setting predesignated consequences shows your children that you’re serious about their education- and your work.
Ask your children what they feel would be an appropriate reward for good school behaviour (and letting you get your work done!). Can they stay up a bit later? Will you allow more screen time? Which privileges would they prefer as rewards? Come up with appropriate consequences for poor school behaviour or unnecessarily interrupting your work schedule. And follow through. It might take a few days, but your children will show remarkable progress when there are behavioural rewards, consequences and they experience you holding steadfast to your word.

4. Make Fun a Ritual

If your children can learn to make after school time their fun time, they are likely to view school time as serious learning time. Adults and kids alike need time to relax, blow off steam and have a good time.
Some parents allow their children screen time between the hours when virtual school ends and the end of the parent’s work day. Of course you will want to control which content your children can access, but this approach would give your children a bit of unwinding time, enabling you to productively wrap up your work day. Older children might want to call or text friends. And never underestimate how entertaining simple outside time in your backyard can be. When your children learn fun is their after-learning routine, and privileges are related to successfully learning, they have something to look forward to and take learning seriously.

5. Educational Videos for Younger Children

Today there is such a plethora of online educational material for young including preschool age children, much of which is free or very reasonably priced. With learning videos, your children can be entertained as they’re educated. Thanks to virtual learning resources, parents can now ‘instruct’ their children while they work. Your children can watch learning videos on everything from a new language to math, reading, science and other important subjects, all from your living room, and all during your work hours.

6. Limit Crafts to Once Per Week

Crafts are the ultimate homeschool or school vacation activity… They’re fun, engaging and give children a feeling of accomplishment. But, crafts are also work and time intensive for parents. It takes a superhuman attention span to assist your children with their crafts and work at the same time. While older children are capable of doing their own crafts and cleaning up afterwards, younger children will require continuous parental guidance and supervision while crafting. Parents can save a lot of productive working time by limiting crafts to once per week, preferably on a day where you’re free of work concerns. This way your children still have time to craft, while you have time to engage in their crafting with them and clean up afterwards.

7. Choose the Right School

Every school is different, every teacher is different and every child is different. If your child is bored or unengaged in their current school, perhaps it’s time to consider a different learning platform. There are schools which were designed to be online learning environments year round. Online schools specially designed their curriculum, learning resources, school policies and teacher training to function in a virtual setting. For many children, a professionally conducted online school will be a preferable environment to local schools which were not designed to function in a virtual setting, and often have difficulty capturing all but the most advanced or dedicated students’ attention spans. Every child is interested in learning; but it takes the right teachers and environment to enable students to reach their potential.

8. Make Your Own LMS Course

Deigning your own LMS course is the idea solution for parents who want to supplement their child’s current curriculum, fill in any educational learning gaps, give their children extra-curricular educational activities, quickly advance their child’s learning in one or more subjects and especially for those who want to completely design their child’s education from scratch.

LMS course design platforms enable you to pull from a variety of sources to make a single course. Gamified learning courses are interactive and engaging, so that your child’s attention will be captured as they’re entertained. Children often don’t even realise they’re being educated as they learn. Parents short on time will be relieved to know courses can be designed in a matter of hours, not days. You’ll have the option to add readings from one source, activities from another, even integrate audio or video files and gamify the course and/or assessments for added fun! LMS courses bring homeschooling academics and parental management to a level of professionalism never before imagined.

Working from home with kids can be an enjoyable and productive experience for both parents and children.While every family, every school and every job is different, families across the globe are learning as they make adjustments. Parents who never before considered homeschooling or working from home are now succeeding at and finding joy in what they hitherto considered an impossibility.


Danielle Garrison

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