Are you working from home with a baby by your side? You must be wondering about balancing your child’s needs against your own. A baby comes strapped in with a massive load of responsibilities. Balancing work and your child is one of the significant challenges a parent faces. It is challenging, but it is not impossible. Let us walk you through some expert tips on keeping your children entertained while bringing maximum productivity to your work.
The most important part is to create a rough schedule so that you can plan ahead of time. Ensure that you have all the supplies needed to plan fun activities with your baby. Having a plan would also allow you to prepare for any hiccups along the way and have a few contingencies ready. Thus, helping you to be more flexible with your time. Working with infants under the age of 36 months would mean that you will have to work in smaller stints and shorter bursts. However, with a toddler, your schedule can remain more stable. It may sound like a grueling task. But do not be discouraged, we have your back, and you’ve got this!
First, let’s tackle being productive while caring for an infant under 3 years of age.
Tip 1: Stick to your schedule
Try to stick to the plan as much as possible. At least ticking off your most critical tasks is a plus!
Tip 2: Take advantage of your baby’s nap time.
Schedule your most important tasks and do them during this time. Most infants tend to have a predictable napping pattern, so take advantage of that. You can also schedule tasks before they wake up or after they sleep, depending on your job’s flexibility.
Tip 3: Squeeze in a bit of work during their playtime
You can get a bit of work done while your baby is occupied with playtime. However, do not engage in tasks that require unwavering focus, as you would have to give attention to your child when needed.
Tip 4: Split the load
If you and your partner are at home together, you can take turns in splitting between your baby duties and work. Take shifts and ease the process.
Tip 5: Use your breastfeeding time
You can multitask while breastfeeding your child. If you pump milk, settle for a hands-free pump so that you can continue working with minimal hassle.
Tip 6: Work in your professional attire
Dressing for work would provide you with a psychological edge to make you feel at work, increasing productivity. Then switch to your regular clothes during your downtime and create this differentiation effectively. But if you need the comfort of your leggings at home, we are not blaming you! Your comfort is an essential part.
Tip 7: Weekends are a blessing in disguise
Use your work-free weekends to prep for the upcoming week. Have some meals prepared in advance, research baby activities, research parenting tips, plan your next week. Do whatever you can to take pressure off of your working days.
Tip 8: Minimize distractions
You already have enough on your plate. Make sure to prioritize the essential tasks of your life and cut off all distractions. Use digital wellbeing options on your phones and limit wasting time on meaningless activities. Use all the extra time you get to relax instead.
Tip 9: Take time for yourself and be realistic
Your mental and physical wellbeing is equally as important as your baby’s. Take a nap once in a while when your kids are asleep. Watch a movie, pamper yourself, exercise, and do anything that would help your wellbeing. Be flexible and creative with your hours, and do not beat yourself up if you can’t do a perfect job. We are, after all, human, and it’s OK to mess up once in a while. The important part is to learn from our experiences and do a better job next time.
Let us break down specific work-at-home tips to follow when dealing with a newborn, an older baby, and a toddler.
Work-At-Home Tips – Newborn Baby
A newborn is likely to sleep throughout the day in roughly three to four-hour stretches. A baby will typically need feeding and cleaning throughout the day, so be prepared to wake up several times during the night! You can, however, get a solid amount of work done while your baby naps.
To always pay attention to your child and be closer to them while you work, you can wear your newborn on a baby carrier, a sling, or wrap. A bassinet can be extremely helpful in these situations. You can quickly move it around to wherever you want your baby to be. You can also move their crib according to your convenience. Of course, a baby needs to be around their parents as much as possible. However, keep in mind that they should only be placed in their crib or bassinet for the baby’s safety during their naptimes.
Work-At-Home Tips – Older Baby
Older babies start demanding more attention from you. To keep a round-the-clock eye on them while you work, place some toys, a play mat, or a playpen near you. You could also use a baby swing, bouncer, or glider if your baby enjoys them as well. These will keep the babies more occupied and give you a calmer atmosphere to concentrate.
An older baby typically has two naps per day. You can use this time for your work as well.
Work-At-Home Tips – Toddler
Working at home with a toddler around comes with its fair share of pros and cons. For example, while they can typically keep themselves occupied, a toddler might demand more attention from their parents than a younger baby would.
You should divide your time between providing attention and urging them to be independent. Be firm when your toddler demands attention unnecessarily and direct them towards their playthings. Use your phone or a similar timer to provide them with an auditory cue that lets your baby know their parent is about to spend time with them. Reassure them that when the timer goes off, they will have your complete and undivided attention. Use this time to engage in something productive with them, such as reading their favorite book together. Your toddler must learn how to stave off boredom by themselves.
To support their solo play, create a safe space for your toddler and childproof the house. This allows them to freely move about with you having to worry less about their safety.
You can also establish a workstation for your toddler at the other end of your table or near you. Where they too can engage in some productive work. You can use this method to work together and make them feel like a big kid. Doing so would lay the roots for self-pride and work ethic in their psyche. Work for a specific amount of time and take a break together.
Tips to Deal with Fights, Tantrums, and Unwanted Behaviour.
When you work at home with a toddler or have a couple more children together, you would encounter several issues that would make working at home quite challenging. From sibling squabbles to temper tantrums, here are some tips to keep unwanted behavioral patterns to a minimum.
Tip 1: Balance the demands
Do not give in to every demand your child makes. Instead, say ‘no’ where possible. Use your intuition to decide on the demands you need to fulfill or ignore. When you deny their requests, try to provide an alternative if and when it is possible.
Tip 2: Notice and reward good behavior
When your child behaves the way you expect them to or does something that was difficult previously, reward them with praise. This tactic would lay the roots of establishing confidence in your child and boost their self-esteem.
Tip 3: Use Countdowns
When you want your child to know that something fun is about to end, do not let them know at the exact time you want them to stop doing it. Instead of saying something like ‘playtime is over,’ tell them that they have 20 minutes left and continue a countdown from thereon. This would accustom them to accept the situation slowly without being forced to adjust to it abruptly.
Tip 4: Let them win occasionally
Even if your child’s demands aren’t ideal, let them have a win once in a while if the wants are not unreasonable. This would minimize the tension between you and your child, plus it would allow you to conserve energy battling over everything.
Tip 5: Giggles over tantrums
Say your child is on the verge of a meltdown, try to deviate their attention by doing something silly or comedic to get a laugh out of them.
Tip 6: Provide options
Children tend to be more agreeable to the situation when given a choice. So, for example, if your child refuses to eat breakfast, ask them which cereal they prefer. Limit your options to just two, and hey, they will learn to live with the results.
Tip 7: Sharing is caring
To minimize sibling squabbles, try to find two things they both enjoy (e.g., Toys) and allow them to play with them for a short time. Follow this by making them trade the object or the activity. This would lay the first steps of learning how to share, which is a challenge for most children.