Being a single parent is hard enough, but things just get harder when you’re supposed to work from home, too. There isn’t anyone around that can help keep the kid occupied while you get your job done, leaving you to put out fires all day instead of working. Even though it seems impossible to work with a child present, it’s actually doable with the right game plan.
You’ll need to have a clear schedule and some tactics if you plan on nailing the workday and still spending time on your kid. Here’s how you can make that happen.
1. Spend quality time at breakfast
Because you won’t be able to spend much time with your kid during the day, you should take the time to have breakfast together. You can talk to them about the day, laugh, and enjoy food together. This will make you feel more connected to your kid and make it easier to get to work.
As well as that, it will make your kid feel less neglected. They can tell you about their previous day and what they’re planning on doing that day, and so on. A family that eats together is always one that stays together. Having breakfast together will be just the thing you need to wake up and get motivated to work.
When you have limited time to spend with your kid because of work, every moment you enjoy together counts. If you have a little bit extra time in the morning, you can even watch a morning cartoon together. It may seem small, but it will mean the world to your kid and contribute to strengthening your bond.
2. Keep them busy
If you want to get some work done and be productive, you’ll need to keep your kid busy. You can come up with various activities they can do during the day so that they feel like they’re being productive. There are plenty of games and activities online that challenge their intelligence and creativity, for example.
As well as that, you can keep them busy with schoolwork. If the atmosphere is serious and productive in the house, it’ll be much easier for your child to focus on school and homework. Therefore, it will be much easier for you to focus on work.
If all else fails, try finding DIY projects they can do without you. These will keep them busy for the whole day without you having to worry they’ll hurt themselves. For instance, you can let them turn the living room into a fort. This kind of project will take ages to complete, they’ll have fun in the process, and they’ll have a new hang-out spot where they can chill and watch movies.
3. Explain the situation
We tend to underestimate our kids and tell ourselves that they won’t understand the situation. Most of the time, this isn’t true at all. Our kids are capable of understanding almost anything if we explain it to them in a way they’ll understand.
So, sit your kid down and tell them that you need to get to work from home. Tell them exactly how they can help you get done with work sooner so that you can hang out together. It’s usually better if you promise them some kind of reward for behaving while you work. For example, you can promise them to watch their favourite cartoon or make pancakes if they’re good while you work.
4. Focus on your environment
Decorating your environment and focusing on creating a productive workspace should definitely be your priority. The first thing you’ve got to do is clean up. You can’t expect yourself to be productive when clothes are on the floor, toys are everywhere, and the kitchen is a mess. This is also the perfect opportunity to teach your kid some responsibility. In other words, don’t clean everything up by yourself. They should help. After all, some of the mess is their doing and they live there, too.
Once the cleanup is done, spend some time decorating your work station. Add a scented candle, order some flowers online, and make sure the room is aired out. This will help reset your brain and make you feel motivated and ready to work. As well as that, it might improve your child’s mood, allowing you to get to work more quickly.
5. Play office pretend
If you want to get your kid to focus and let you work, you can always play pretend like you’re at the office. Make the whole apartment into the office and act like you’re both at work. You can give them “office” tasks and deadlines to make them feel like they’re actually working.
Even though this sounds boring to you, it’s incredibly fun for a kid. The one thing every kid wants is to be like their parent. The other is to be an adult. By playing pretend and acting like you’re coworkers, your kid gets to live out both of these dreams.
While they’re wrapped up in the office scenario, you’ll actually be able to get some work done. When you want to take a break, you can go to a “meeting” with your kid and use half an hour to goof around. That’ll make the day even more fun and give you the mental break you need to keep working afterwards. Plus, you’ll get to do something silly with your kid and spend quality time with them more than you otherwise would have.
As you can see, working from home as a single parent doesn’t have to be impossible. You’ll still be able to be productive and spend quality time with your kid if you follow these tips. Even though it’s going to be challenging to find the perfect balance between your work and personal life right now, you can do it by staying disciplined and organizing yourself well. We’re confident you’ll thrive in your new work environment and that you’ll give your kid enough attention at the same time.