Care Your Toddler or Baby Needs While You’re Working from Home

If you’re working from home, you might wonder how to keep your kids entertained while maintaining productivity at work. However, it is possible to work from home and simultaneously care for your little ones just by chalking out a rough schedule and planning some fun indoor activities.

Caring for a child under 36 months also means you are most likely to get the bulk of your work done in short bursts. Therefore, you’ll need to prioritize certain things in mind. To help you seamlessly juggle both the responsibilities, we’ve collated a hoard of tips on the same. We know it may feel overwhelming at times, but hold on, you’ve got this!

Tips to stay productive while working from home

Ready to learn some new tips on how to care for your baby under 3 years of age while working from home? Here we roll:

  • Share the load: If you and your partner is at home then get into the habit of sharing the load. Take turns with one of you feeding or playing with your child, while the other takes a chance to work. By taking shifts both of you can get your share of things done while your baby is tended to.

  • Get most of the work done when your child is asleep: Take utmost advantage of your child’s nap time and get most the pressing tasks completed. If your child has a distinct sleeping routine, knock off important con calls during that time span. Working before your baby wakes up or goes to sleep is a brilliant idea, especially if your work demands such a flexibility.

  • Work while your baby plays: Get short bursts of work done when your child is busy playing. If possible, try keeping the lighter share of work while your child is up. This is because you can attempt at them even if you are interrupted, since babies want your attention when they are awake.

  • Use weekends wisely: For instance: you might want to cook a major portion of your meals on Saturdays or Sundays so that your noontime meal and snacks are ready to go for the week ahead. Another option would be to research on some indoor activities for babies and toddlers so that you don’t get caught up mid-week.

  • Make a ready plan for the day and week: This means to make a routine on when you’ll wake up and what you’ll do each day. Making a schedule and a list of activities will help you concentrate on the most important things in the face of obstacles.

  • Dress for work: Although indefinite, but often dressing up professionally inspires you to work diligently at home during those specific working hours and then change into a pair of casual clothes in the evening. This further helps to break the monotony and enables you to get into the mood both for work and leisure.

  • Remove distractions: By this we mean, putting away time-wasters like social media during those specific working hours, since you already have your baby to look after. You can also use specific apps to block your social feeds pouring in during your working hours.

  • Work while you breastfeed: If you pump breast milk, you may prefer to use a hands-free breast pump so that it allows you to continue with your work or maybe attend a phone call. You may be also able to read daily emails or reports as you do otherwise.

  • Give yourself some time: It’s only but natural to get a cabin fever when you find yourself working from home for an extended period while also tending to your child. If possible, do something you enjoy or a hobby that you love the most during your child’s daytime nap. It could be taking a pampering bath, watching a favorite MasterChef episode or doing some simple exercise.

  • Get realistic: This means more flexibility about how you work and rather a more innovative approach about how you use your available hours. Don’t strain yourself if you can’t do everything perfectly – well, no one can! Therefore, a reasonable goal for a working parent is to be productive and efficient.

Here are more tips on how to work with a newborn, older baby, or toddler in the house.

Working with your Newborn at Home

Your newborn will mostly develop a three- to four-hour sleeping pattern all through the day and so, this is the time you can use to get solid blocks of work done. Bear in mind that you will have to wake your newborn in between for feedings and this comes minus the load you split up between your partner. So be prepared to feel a tad groggier during the day.

As you continue to work, you might want to slip your baby into a sling, baby carrier or wrap so that it can enjoy feeling close to you while you get the tasks completed. Besides, if you prefer efficiency, a bassinet can be extremely helpful for a working parent at home. It can be easily moved closer to your work area such as a table or desk, allowing you to stay close to your newborn while you work. Now this one’s optional and try it only if your house allows to. If your doorway has a wider width you can try moving the baby’s crib from room to room. Although, you must know that your baby’s safety is at the highest so prefer keeping her/him in the bassinet or the crib.

Working with your Older Baby at Home

Because your baby is going to want to be next to you, and you’re going to want to keep an eye on her/him, so place a few toys or an activity center on a play mat or a playpen that you can put right next to you. This way you can squeeze in some time for your work, while your baby plays right next to you.

If your little one enjoys it and of course if you have it, then your infant can spend short stints in a baby swing, bouncer, or glider. This way you can ensure you have some peace and quiet to work while your baby enjoys him/her time. But all in all, the most important time for you to knock off a majority of your work is during and after your baby’s mid-morning and one mid-afternoon nap.

Working with your Toddler at Home

Working from home with a toddler has its equal share of ups and downs. The benefits are that your toddler may be able to entertain him or herself for brief periods and may still take a couple of naps a day which is when you can work. But the real challenge comes when your toddler is awake and wants most of your devotion.

It is here where you need to be firm in telling him/her that they have enough toys to play with and that for the next half an hour or so, she/he needs to sit quietly and play. Thus, to help your child understand the importance of independent play time, you need to set a timer on your phone. Reassure them when the timer goes off by taking a short break and spending some time with them like read a few books or play their favorite game. Most importantly, to support his/her solo play time create a safe space for them to play in it. It could so be like making a childproof area in your living room while you work nearby from your dining room table or kitchen counter.

Another method is by setting up your toddler’s workstation at the other end of the same table you’re working on. For example, he/she could be engaged on a drawing while you aim at finishing up writing your emails. The easiest way is to train her/him from a wee age. Tell them that he/she is grown up and that you’ll both be working for the next 30 minutes before you can go for a break together.

Here’s an example of a daily schedule while you continue Working From Home

Firstly, set a time table. We mean a literal time table! Take a look at how you can do so:

Early morning With minimal distractions, aim at completing most of your work and especially before your baby awakes. You might also want to use this time to pull up some exercises and dress up.
Breakfast Grab some snacks and feed your children. Then make them brush their teeth and get them ready.
Mid-morning Spend some quality time by playing with your kid. If your child has a habit of napping in the morning, then squeeze in the most amount of work during that time.
Lunch Grab a quick bite and then go on to feed your baby.
Afternoon If your child takes an afternoon nap then use the time to make important phone calls or any other high-priority work. Between these hours, set aside 15 minutes to complete your pressing household chores. If your toddler wakes up, spend some time playing with him/her, but if they are engaged in their solo short stints, then use the time to finish up your work.
Evening This is when you can have all the time for yourself. Once your child falls asleep, squeeze in a couple more hours of work. This could be some sensitive work which would need your full focus. Once done, you can pamper yourself with a relaxing shower and maybe reading a book or watching something to unwind.
Dinner Here you use the time to cook some delightful dinner and enjoy quality time with your little one, or read them a lovely bedtime story.
  • Cook meals and make simple snacks for the coming week.
  • Make a to-do list for the week ahead of you.
  • Complete some crucial chores like the laundry so that you are relatively free mid-week.

How to cope with fights, tantrums, and other behavior

When you work from home with a kid or have more than one kid in the house, you might experience problems that might turn your work from home into a terrible nightmare and that means temper tantrums and sibling quarrels. Out here you will find ways to prevent and possibly eliminate tantrums as well as other unsolicited behavior:

  • Yes to small victories: For example, if your little one desires to have breakfast in his/her pajamas, then let them. This is where you move ahead and give in when the stakes aren’t too high, and well look at the brighter side, it also helps you conserve your energy.

  • Where possible, avoid saying a NO: You don’t have to cede to their every request, but you should try to redirect certain requests. For example, if your toddler wishes to race on the floorboards, then redirect him/her to shift to a carpeted area. This is where saying a ‘No’ comes in the picture.

  • Provide options: Prefer giving your toddler a choice about something. This will make her/him more congenial about the situation. For example, if your child doesn’t like wearing a certain dress, offer a choice and let them decide. Offer only two options though, and choose the ones you can live with.

  • Notice good behavior: If your toddler does something you’d ideally want her/him to do, praise them. This tactic will go a long way and build their self-esteem while ensuring that atmosphere at home is friendly and cheerful.

  • Give a countdown: This simply means giving a countdown of the last few minutes. If something on TV is about to end, remind your child by saying she/he has only 10 minutes left. Praise when they stop the TV on time. This works well for toddlers because they often get excited for the timer to go off. This helps to deflect their attention from the activity that’s about to end.

  • Start a giggle: If you notice your kid at the verge of a breakdown, try to get her/him giggle before they start a tantrum. For example, if your kid doesn’t want to brush, get him/her in the mood for a race to the finish (which is the bathroom of course).

If the concept of working from home and caring for your child at the same time is new to you, it is natural that you may feel overwhelmed. Allow yourself some time and figure out what works best for you in terms of routines. All you need is a little R&D and you’ll find yourself fall just right on track. Besides, it will also help you figure out the many benefits of work from home such as quality time with your family and less time commuting.

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