5 Ways to Work From Home with Young Children



While more and more parents are making the decision to stay home and care for their children while the kids are young, such a decision is not made lightly.  Living off one income in today’s economy can be tricky at best, impossible at worst.

The stay at home parent can ease the financial strain by doing some work at home.  I quit my full-time job 3 years ago to stay home because the cost of day care for two children under two would have taken most of my salary.  For the last two years, I have worked from home while caring for my kids and have enjoyed it immensely.

While working from home AND caring for your children is often glorified, the truth is that doing both jobs requires a careful balancing act.  Here are some strategies I have used to successfully work from home while caring for toddlers and preschoolers.

1.  Get up before everyone else.  Try to get up 30 to 60 minutes before everyone else.  This gives you time to clean up, get dressed, and check e-mail or do another important task you want to get done first thing in the morning.

2.  Play with the kids first.  Most kids want their parent’s attention.  If you take time first thing in the morning to play with your kids and give them your time, they will likely happily play by themselves later, allowing you a 30 to 60 minute window to do work.

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3.  Let them watch their favorite television show and do your work then.  My girls love Caillou, which happens to be on right after lunch between noon and one.  I let them watch the show for an hour.  They are riveted to the television, and I can sit with them and do work with minimal interruptions.  (It’s your choice how much television you want to let them watch, but this hour is all we allow the girls.)

4.  Hire a babysitter if you need to.  As your work load increases, you may find that you sometimes need to hire a babysitter so you can have undisturbed time.  I didn’t have a babysitter the first year, but now that business is picking up, I have a sitter who comes to the house 4 to 8 hours a week, depending on my workload.  The girls enjoy having her here, and after she leaves, I can focus on the kids because I had a chunk of time to finish my work.

5.  Work on the evenings and weekends.  After the kids are in bed, you may have another hour or two every night to work.  Also, if your spouse is agreeable, you could spend some time doing your work on the weekend while your spouse plays with and cares for the kids.

Sometimes juggling work and home responsibilities can be difficult, but I love to work from home.  My flexible schedule allows me to spend time at my son’s school for special events as well as to care for my younger two children and save on the cost of daycare.

What are your favorite strategies for getting work done if you watch your kids and work from home?

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Melissa works from home as a freelance writer, virtual assistant and blogger. Her blog, Mom's Plans, reflects her desire to plan life one step at a time while caring for and homeschooling her children (ages 9, 5 and 3) as well as paying down debt and saving for a house.

Comments

  1. I don’t have kids, so this one doesn’t completely apply to me. But I do try to get blogging and reading done before the bf comes home (I typically get home around 6 and he gets home around 7:30ish). I feel bad ignoring him when he gets home. So we try to eat dinner together and talk before bed.

  2. Great post! I find it ironic that in this time of economic hardship most think they have to have two incomes to make ends meet. I thought the same thing and made the mistake of trying to convince my wife that she should look into working out of the home full time.
    After long discussions and tiny disagreements my wife finally stated, “My time is worth more than $4.50 an hour and at that rate it wouldn’t be worth it to have someone else raise our kids.” I dropped the conversation. She had figured that if she worked 40hrs per week @ $12 per hour, $4.50 per hour would be the maximum she would bring in after childcare expenses. She had a point. I wouldn’t take a job for $4.50 per hour.
    My wife currently works form home for five hours a week and at Koko Fit Club for five hours a week. She has worked out a trade with a neighbor that works quite well for everyone. My wife gets a free membership to the club plus is actually paid for her workout hours on top of her scheduled hours (it is a 24 hr club so she can workout whenever) . On Monday and Wednesday mornings while my wife is at Koko the neighbor watches our 14 month old son for the 2 1/2 hrs. My wife gets home about the same time as our kindergartener. She makes lunch, puts the baby down for a nap, and then the neighbor’s kindergartener comes over for about an hour each day. The neighbor has an hour or so to do whatever and my child is occupied so my wife can work. And my wife is done for the day by 2pm when my other daughter gets home. Win/win.

    • My wife and I were in a similar situation where we realized she’d be bringing home very little after paying daycare expenses. We made some small sacrifices so she could stay home with the kids, and I started on my quest to develop new streams of income.

    • That sounds like a perfect compromise! She still gets to get out of the house, and your kids are cared for by mom. I am guessing your wife is much happier with this arrangement too.

  3. These are the thing I exactly do except for the babysitter. I am looking for one right now and really having a hard time finding one that the kids will love to be with while I am busy.

  4. Sarah–I used Sittercity.com to find my sitter. It is a long process to find just the right sitter, but now that we have one, my kids love when she comes and look forward to it.

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