How To Balance Working From Home With Toddlers?

Working from home with toddlers may not be easy at first, but it can be more manageable as time goes by. Implementing and refining the right strategies can get you through the day with a little more productivity and better well-being.

Working From Home
 Min read
May 12, 2023

As working from home is becoming the new norm, some parents are rejoicing because they can work from home and spend more time with their toddlers. Toddlers feel the same too: they want to bond with their parents.

This is great news, but it also comes with a challenge: parents need to work from home with toddlers and work productively. 

It happens to many parents, where toddlers tend to cling to them and parents do not have the heart to ignore. When this happens, it is difficult to focus on work and worse, the toddler might start taking control of the work laptop. 

So, what can parents do to balance work and children while working from home?

Here are 6 tips for parents working from home with toddlers so they can become a great employee and parent. 

6 Work From Home Tips For Parents With Toddlers

#1. Flex Your Schedule

The thing with planning is that almost nothing goes according to plan, especially when working from home with toddlers. Parents need to sign up for unexpected meal requests, random tantrums, kitchen destruction, and many more surprises. 

To be prepared for surprises, work-from-home parents need to remain flexible in their schedules and retain some structure to get things done. 

One way to do it is to anticipate your toddler’s behaviors, create a work and parenting schedule according to it, and write down a list of options if the plan fails. 

For example, you plan to get things done while your toddler sleeps from 3 to 5 pm but what do you do if he wakes up earlier? You can choose to drop everything and attend to him, ignore him and let him comfort himself, or hope he will play with the toys you put beside him.

The idea is to ask yourself, “if this plan fails, what options do I get to choose?” 

#2. Get Your Priorities Done First 

The time working from home parents with toddlers get the most done is when their cuties are not around. Which means when they are playing by themselves, sleeping, or being taken care of by others. During these periods, parents can focus and complete important tasks effectively. 

When planning your schedule, pay attention to the time your toddler usually sleeps. And intentionally create a self-play environment to keep them occupied for at least 30 minutes. While your toddler is busy, you can give your biggest project undivided attention and complete it on time, maybe even earlier.

#3. Encourage Independent Play

While it may seem a toddler needs their parents to entertain and comfort them all the time, they can actually learn to play and comfort themselves. 

Toddlers that are engaged in independent physical play have shown to develop better language and brain skills than their peers who are watching videos. Independent play also teaches toddlers to have fun by themselves and feel comfortable being alone.

So, how do you encourage independent play?

You can do it by giving your toddlers time and space to be themselves and explore their own environment. Toddlers, especially, thrive on figuring things out themselves. When playing with them, let them go on free rein. 

If they were struggling to put a square peg into a round hole, stop yourself from helping them. This will make them feel their play matters, making them feel more excited to play on their own.

#4. Join Hands With Fellow Work-From-Home Parents

This is a cheaper alternative (it’s free) to hiring a babysitter. If you know another work-from-home parent in the neighborhood, you can set up a babysitting swap. A swap means one parent takes care of both toddlers so the other can work, and then the other parent returns the favor. 

On top of you getting some precious time to get things done, your toddler gets a fun playdate, which can develop their social and emotional competencies

#5. Give Your Toddlers 110% Attention

Most toddlers are less likely to be clingy if they get the attention, care, and love they need already. 

When they know their parents love them and will give them the fullest attention when it's time, they will feel more comfortable playing by themselves or with other toddlers. 

What do we mean by 100% attention?

It means nothing else distracts you when you are playing with your toddler, physically and mentally. Put your phone, work laptop, and any other devices away. Be really present with your toddler (if you don’t, they can sense it). 

#6. Be Kind To Yourself

Being a work-from-home parent with toddlers is like taking on two full-time jobs at the same time. It can take a toll on your body if you do not take care of yourself. 

A parent can only take care of their partners and toddlers if they took good care of themselves in the first place. 

So, it is crucial to do some self-care and self-love work from time to time throughout the day, so you can be the parent you imagined yourself to be.

Here are some suggestions to be kind to yourself:

  • Prioritize your sleep.
  • Praise and celebrate your daily achievements as a parent, small or big.
  • Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made.
  • Practice gratitude for the little things around you.
  • Reward yourself for doing a great job at the end of the week.
  • Reset unrealistic expectations on yourself

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, working from home with toddlers may not be easy at first, but it can be more manageable as time goes by.

Implementing and refining the right strategies can get you through the day with a little more productivity and better well-being.

The 6 strategies that can help you work productively while working from home are:

  1. Be flexible with your schedule
  2. Get your priorities done first
  3. Encourage toddlers to play by themselves
  4. Cooperate with other work-from-home parents
  5. Give your toddlers undivided attention
  6. Treat yourself like how you would treat your loved ones

Work-from-home parents are unsung heroes that are shaping the next generation. They are managing a lot and already doing a great job in their own ways. 

So, give yourself a big pat on the back and reward yourself with a gold medal. You deserve it. 

To continue supporting you, we have a collection of work-from-home tips to help you be more productive and bring more joy into work and life.

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