Is it possible to work at home with a toddler during the pandemic? Let’s debunk these frequently asked questions before returning to work.
This time a lot are staying at home, and things won’t go back to normal for a year or so. So there’s a greater chance of engagement. Even without the pandemic, there’s always going to be tiredness, childcare, and excuses lurking around. There’s never a perfect time when with kids. But this is a great opportunity even though it seems impossible. I made it possible with no other childcare available.
When is the best time you ask? When you’re fully recovered. When you’ve had a chat with your partner and created a scheduling system. So it’s quite a careful thought to avoid burnout, and missing out with the family.
How to find out if you’re ready?
The only way to find out is to have several practice-runs. Since I work at home I choose short term projects when my son was 3,7, and 18 months old until I felt comfortable. My in-laws are in Poland and my mom several hours away, so no extra childcare for me. It used to be two days at nursery and now just solely at home with ad-hoc work.
How do you deal with distractions?
Tricky one, and it includes my son. Yes, I can’t resist his cute quirks and ignore his tantrums. In my list, he’s the priority. So when he has a tantrum I have to deal with it. But it doesn’t mean that he gets away with everything or spoiling him. I always chat with my little one. So as much as I could I always explain to him to play for a while. He can just play in the lounge and me carrying on working. If it’s not possible, I postpone my work and watch a movie with him whilst I carry on working or wait until hubby arrives. I’ll be creating another guide for tools and home equipment to manage the week with a toddler in the future. So stay tuned!
What is your regular timetable in a day or week?
I always wake up early in the morning to get things done or extend an hour more after dinner. I make sure that I have a morning or afternoon walk during the day, and I also do meal prepping twice a week. At 8 pm, it’s date night with hubby. It’s all about discipline here as you are managing yourself.
For a detailed guide on parents working at home check out this neat guideline from Harvard Business Review A Guide for Working (From Home) Parents
Keep it simple and just chat with your kid. Your full attention is all he needs. So do a 20 or 30-minute bursts of work when he’s clingy. My little one gets giddy when I make him a nice meal, a walk, football, and occasional splurges with toys. There’s a lot of Parenting Facebook groups out there with toddler activities, and Pinterest.
How do you deal with his tantrums?
My little one calms down after a walk. It’s the attention he seeks and that’s the only way to remedy it. But I’ve got work to do you ask? Then careful planning and a heads up to clients with your availability is best. I’m a graphic designer and I know how much time I need for a certain project and add three days tops. I also know how my family ticks. Always get to know the routine of the family and how you manage deadlines at work. One great tip is to have a detailed contract as I work on Upwork and there’s no general rule on contracts or guidelines with clients.
Here’s a perfect guideline on implementing time-out or toddler tantrums, Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers: Steps for Time out