Surviving Stage Two: Working at Home with a Toddler or Toddlers
It doesn’t take long for a newborn baby to morph into a rolling, crawling, walking, climbing thing. Before you know it you’ve got a toddler and if you thought working at home with a newborn was testing, toddlers take the biscuit (literally).
Working from home with a toddler or toddlers in tow takes careful planning, a few sacrifices and a lot of accepting you can’t be wonder woman. Many WAHMs are able to keep working from home with their toddlers home whilst others opt for some form of childcare to alleviate the pressure occasionally or rely on helpful relatives. Below are some tips to get you through this stage of your WAHM journey.
The first stage in working from home with your toddler by your side is to set boundaries. These will be for both you and your children and need to be stuck to as much as possible. It’s important you explain to your child, whether they have full capacity to understand or not, that you need to work and will have set work sessions throughout the day. You’ll have to accept than a solid six hour working day isn’t going to happen but you may be able to fit in an hour to ninety minute slot every two to three hours punctured with sessions of reading, playing and keeping your toddler entertained. It will take time to get used to and once it feels like your routine your child will probably stop expecting constant attention.
Schedule in quiet time for your toddlers to give yourself a chance to catch up on the easier tasks of your working day. This could be updating your Facebook page, sorting out your Twitter schedule and firing off a few client emails. The more in depth tasks are probably things you’ll need to do once the children are in bed – it might mean you end up working some evenings but it’s one of the key sacrifices you make when you choose to keep the kids home. Trying to carry out the longer tasks whilst you’ve got toddlers around will end in arguments, resentment and eventually neither you nor the children will feel happy about the situation.
Tasks for Toddlers
Keeping your toddler occupied without needing your undivided attention can be difficult. Some children are happy to play on their own whilst others like to be involved with group tasks. However, if you set up some different fun tasks and activities you may find you can snatch half an hour here or there. From gluing and sticking to cake decorating if you don’t mind the mess you can surely keep one eye on the screen and the other on the kids!
Another option is to get your toddler involved with your work. Perhaps they can do what you do and make notes on a spare notepad or pretend to make phone calls? The chance to be ‘just like mummy or daddy’ is something most toddlers love.
If all else fails
If all else fails there’s nothing wrong with a bit of tech entertainment. Perhaps you can spare the iPad for games or are happy to allow the children’s channel on for a while. If it’s a means to an ends then perhaps it’s worth it every now and again but putting the other things into practice should mean that it really is a last resort or only needed when you’ve got a big project on.