Getting Work Done with the Kids at Home? It Can Be Done!

If the title of this article grabbed your attention, chances are you’ve got a young one at home grabbing at your heartstrings or your hemline. Online images of savvy business people working from home seldom include disposable diapers, dummies, or sippy cups.

So can work be done with kids at home? Absolutely. But there are some supplies you’ll need, and you won’t find them at Officeworks.

Myth One: Your baby can sit on your lap as you enter data or write reports.

Truth: Your baby has better things to do. Babies less than one year old are better off sitting in a bouncy seat on the floor facing you, with a string of colorful rattles and shapes to stimulate them. You can keep an eye on him and make funny faces as you email your boss. Babies who can crawl should be allowed to do so in protected spaces where you can watch them.

Myth Two: You should take several breaks during the workday to sit on the floor and play with your toddler.

Truth: Every time you take a break, your brain has to refocus on whatever task you were doing, ultimately taking up even more time. Your toddler might love the playtime, but your work quota will likely suffer.

Instead, try arranging morning toddler activities that can be done solo or with siblings. At midday, take a long lunch break doing something that will tucker your youngster out. A walk to the park with a picnic, a game of tag, or chasing the family dog around the yard will invigorate you and prep the little one for their afternoon nap.

sleeping baby
Who says naps are just for babies?
Myth Three: Nap time is the best time to get some real work done.

Truth: Nope. You need a break from baby and work, and nap time is an excellent time to take it. Give yourself a few minutes to sit down with some tea and that book you’ve been meaning to start. Maybe even take an actual nap. You deserve it.

Myth Four: You should be able to do this by yourself.

Truth: Your boss has an assistant, so why can’t you have one as well? It won’t hurt to have your niece or mother-in-law take the baby for an hour or so during the week. After all, why should you keep all those adorable baby antics to yourself?

Child looking from box
A little imagination goes a long way.
Myth Five: More toys won’t help.

Truth: More toys will absolutely help if they’re brought out one at a time and dispensed at key times, such as when the payroll tax deadline is looming. The toys don’t have to be expensive. You might think Crayola crayons and coloring books are mundane compared to interactive Dora the Explorer games, but your kids won’t think so. Hours of fun can still be had from a giant cardboard box and a set of wooden alphabet blocks. Try it and you’ll see.

Your child doesn’t want a supermom or dad who can juggle a baby in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Realize that sometimes just being present and available are enough.

Kate Supino is a freelance writer and mom. She is currently at work on her next article about how to work at home with a hungry teenager in the house.