We may earn commission from links featured in this post. Read more.
Over the past few years, working from home has changed from being an option to a necessity. Today, it represents a successful work setup that allows employees to enjoy more flexibility and less formality while having their chores done.
Working from home is a blessing and a curse to parents because it’s quite hard to find the perfect setup. While parents enjoy staying at home, watching their children, and still have the career they’ve always dreamed of, they need to find activities to keep their children occupied, because the work still needs to be done.
So, if you’re a working from home parent, this article is for you. We’ll explain how to keep baby occupied when working from home in detail. So, let’s dive in.
Tips to Balance a Baby With Working from Home
Parents usually feel guilty, feeling that they could do more. Unfortunately, combined with work responsibilities, your mental health can suffer drastically.
Before thinking about how to keep your child occupied or how to make working from home work better for you, you need to understand that you’re already doing a great job. Other parents might have some help or have a different situation that allows them to do things differently, so you shouldn’t compare your journey to others.
You should also consider your family situation. If you’re a single parent with a twin, you’ll have different responsibilities than a couple who have a 10-year-old child. This is not to say that things can be easier or more difficult, but simply different, and you’ll have to tackle these differences to choose a routine that works for you.
Here are a few tips to try so you can balance your home responsibilities as a parent while taking care of your job.
Prepare For Trial And Error
You might think of what you view as the perfect setup for your child, but they won’t simply accept it, or it might not work for their particular needs. In some cases, your little one might need some extra time to adjust to the new routine, especially if the whole working from home situation is new to them.
Your child’s age and personality also contribute to the situation. For example, if you have an older child who attends online lessons while learning remotely, it will take you less time to set up a suitable working from home routine than a mother of a newborn or a toddler.
Grab the Opportunity When They’re Occupied
Whether your little one is busy watching their favourite show, enjoying a meal, sleeping, or studying, this will be the right window for you to get more things done. By being more organised and planning your child’s day ahead, you’ll be able to determine the time slots when your little one will be occupied.
Be Honest With Your Employer
It’s crucial to be honest with your employer and explain your situation to him or her. Agreeing to everything, even the things that you can’t do will actually put you under a lot of stress. Moreover, you won’t be able to submit your work on time or perform as expected.
Since you’re trying to juggle two-time jobs at the same time, it will be a good idea to explain your personal situation to those who are in charge. This includes any recent change in your family setups like a separation from your partner or an elderly parent that you have to take care of.
Work Unsociable Hours
If possible, ask your employer to work unsociable hours. Since you’ll be working from home, you might be able to get away with doing your work chores early in the morning or late at night. Your child might be sleeping during these hours (if you’re lucky!), or you might have someone else to take care of him or her.
Dress For Work
In order for your child to understand that you’re working and might not be as available, you need to dress for work. You don’t have to get fully dressed and wear makeup if you like to. However, you have to stick to specific outfits that let your child know that you’re working.
This trick can work even if you have a toddler because they’ll be able to identify that this is not your everyday look. However, it might not work for you if your child is too young.
Be Close, But Not Too Close
Your home desk should be somewhere you can see your child and keep an eye on them. When your child is able to see you, they’re less likely to get fussy or panic while you’re focusing on your job.
Even if you have a meeting, hearing you talk can calm your child while they’re playing or watching a TV show. You don’t have to actively engage in play with them, but your presence will make them feel safe. You can also maintain eye contact with your child to provide assurance or guidance even if you’re sitting at a distance.
Make Sure They’re Comfortable
Ensuring that your child is comfortable will guarantee that they’re less likely to get upset, cry, or call you while working. So, depending on your child’s age and needs, make sure that all their needs are met before you actually start work.
It’s also critical to make sure that your baby is emotionally fulfilled before getting busy. For example, spend some quality time hugging and playing with your child before an important meeting, so they don’t feel lonely or sad when you’re busy.
Eat Healthy and Sleep Enough
You need to make sure that you’re fully rested, and you can take time off if you need to. You should also stack some healthy and tasty snacks to stay energised if you don’t have time for a full lunch, and you shouldn’t skip meals, even if you’re busy. Without food, you’ll feel tired, and you won’t be able to focus on work or your baby.
Staying hydrated is also highly crucial. Ensure that you’re drinking enough water and limit the amounts of juice, carbonated beverages, and coffee.
Knowing what your week will look like will help you put everything under control. For example, you can tell exactly which days are the busiest, so you can arrange the time with your partner or ask a friend or a family member for help.
You can also get help from a childminder for a whole day or specific hours based on your needs and schedule. The more prepared you are, the less stressed and anxious you’ll be. You’ll also know that there’s someone taking care of your child, so you can rest assured while working from home.
Set Up Your Standing Desk
Having a standing desk is a great option for working parents, especially if you have a baby or a toddler. While wearing a baby wrap or sling, you’ll be able to hold your baby while you’re listening to a meeting or a presentation. This will also help you keep an eye on any incoming emails while holding your baby, walking, or moving them gently until they fall asleep.
It also means your work from home equipment is out of reach.
Invest in a Baby Bouncer
A baby bouncer is an excellent choice if you have a newborn. It moves your baby gently, keeping them calm.
After feeding, putting your baby in a baby bouncer or baby door bouncer that rocks their body is a foolproof way to keep them quiet because it reminds infants of their time in the womb. It’s also compact enough to keep it near your workstation, so you can keep your eye on your baby.
Organise Meetings During Nap Times
With the help of your employer and co-workers, you can schedule meetings or important work chores when your child is napping. If you have an infant, you can schedule meetings after feeding times, knowing that your child will be having a nap.
You can encourage your baby to have a nap by sticking to a routine that works for them, singing lullabies, and providing them with blankets, comforters and stuffed toys that make them feel safe. This way, you’ll have less disturbance and focus on your work.
Go Out For Lunch
Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your job and your little one. So, when possible, take a break and go out for lunch.
It’s a good chance for you and your little one to spend some quality time in the fresh air. Moreover, it’s an opportunity to relieve work pressure and enjoy your time.
After a short lunch break, you’ll feel more focused and energetic, so you can get back to work. It’s also a good chance to get some Vitamin D. The main disadvantage of not going out is that you won’t be able to set the distinctive line between work and home hours. As a result, you’ll always feel swamped with work, and this can make you extremely stressed.
Focus On Quality of Work
When you work, make sure that you’re working hard. This will help you get more work done over a shorter period of time, even if you’re taking care of an infant.
Don’t go on social media or get distracted by house chores while doing your job. This way, you’ll have more time once you’re done to take care of your little one and everything else.
Have an Open and Safe Space to Play
Make sure that there’s an open and safe space where your child can play. At the same time, it’s a big plus if you can keep an eye on them while they’re playing.
Investing in a playpen is a good choice if you have a toddler. An older child might not enjoy staying in a playpen for longer periods, so you need to clear out the space in the room.
Embrace and Plan for Interruptions
Make sure that you always have a plan B. If the tablet stops working or the weather isn’t good enough for your child to play outside, make sure that you have another activity scheduled so your little one doesn’t get bored.
If you have an infant, keep their stuffed toy or comforter nearby, so they can play. Make sure that you arrange hanging toys in the bouncer or your baby’s bed, so they can stay occupied while you’re busy.
Share the Load with Your Partner
If your partner works from home as well, you can both schedule your work hours, so you can take turns keeping an eye on the baby. You can also accept more work when they’re home if they work from the office.
There is no room for lazy parenting in this situation.
Share the Load with a Sibling
Having an older sibling will be a great plus. An older child can keep an infant entertained or play with a toddler until you’re done with work. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t leave your children unsupervised, even if they’re a little older.
Share the Load with Family Members
Ask for help whenever you can. Family members, especially if they live nearby, can help mind the baby while you’re working. You can have someone at the house to keep an eye on your child if you have an important meeting coming up. They can also offer to help with the housework.
Master the Mute Button
Even if you work with understanding co-workers, you need to master the mute button and know how to turn off the camera on the spot during zoom meetings. You don’t want your co-workers to see or hear your baby screaming, so a little privacy will be a big plus.
If You Breastfeed, Express Milk
Expressing your milk will keep you comfortable as it prevents your breasts from getting swollen. This way, you can stay comfortable and focus on your work. Moreover, you’ll have a fresh supply of milk for your little one during short breaks.
Expressing also means that other people we mentioned earlier can feed them.
It’s important to use words of encouragement and positive reinforcement to establish a healthy routine. Rewarding good behaviour will encourage your child to stay quieter while you’re working, and tasty treats will also work.
Don’t Avoid Screen Time
Although too much screen time isn’t healthy for your child, you might need a little electronic help if you’re home alone. While watching their favourite show, your infant can stay quiet for a long period.
Make sure that your baby is sitting comfortably, and don’t make them watch the screen for too long.
Keeping your baby occupied while you are working from home isn’t the easiest task. But there are many things that you can do alone or with a partner to make your home more working-friendly.