Creative Child

Stress-Busting Tips for Work-At-Home Parents

by Rebecca Eanes

I’ve been working from home for the last 14 years, and I still have most of my marbles. This, I feel, makes me uniquely qualified to write this. I hate to say that I’ve learned to “balance” my responsibilities of parenting, working, housekeeping, bill-paying, grocery shopping, cooking, chauffeuring, and caring for myself because the truth is I’m not sure “balance” is a thing. Some days are better than others, and honestly it always feels like a juggling game, but I have learned some tricks and tips over the years that reduce stress and make the juggling a little bit easier.

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Of course, there are many variables that will determine what each work-from-home journey looks like, including the age of your children, the type of job you have, whether you have help, etc., but overall there are a few universal tips that will help you as you navigate the many tasks which are laid before you each day.

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PARENT MODE

Raising children while working from home offers both unique challenges and benefits. On the plus side, you’ll get to be there for all the milestones and miracle moments. However, it’s impossible to give them constant attention and get any work done, so you’ll have to be creative in finding ways for them to be entertained while also making time to fill their cups. Here are three ways to proactively keep your child(ren) happy while you work:

  1. Set connection points throughout the day. When we proactively fill our children’s buckets, they will be more cooperative and happy throughout the day as we work, and one way we can do this is by setting connection points throughout the day. These are short periods of time set aside to engage with our kids, giving them our undivided attention so that we can connect heart to heart. In this way, we meet their attachment needs, providing enough loving attention to help them bridge the gap between your work sessions so that you can work more productively.
  2. Routine is good for children in that it provides structure and a sense of security. Knowing what’s next helps children transition easier, and having a rhythmic flow to their days is soothing. For parents who work from home, a good routine is essential. If your child has designated nap times and play times that are consistent day in and day out, you’ll be able to get more done without interruption.
  3. Encourage independent play. There are several ways to do this. First make sure your child has what author and parent educator Janet Lansbury calls a “yes space.” This is essentially a safe, child-proofed area for your little one to play and explore in. Next, choose the right toys. Too many will be overwhelming. Bright and buzzing toys may be overstimulating. Choose creative toys like blocks, figurines, cardboard boxes, art materials, props, stuffed animals, etc. Start with a connection point (spend a little time playing together) and then transition away to let him play on his own.
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