Tips for working at home with a baby

Whether working from home is the norm for you, or if you’re having to adapt to it due to COVID-19 restrictions, it’s important to remember that there’s no rule book for how best to manage a work life balance with new babies and young children. Especially whilst we’re all adapting, it helps to remember that everyone is simply doing the best they can at the moment – and that includes you!

But you don’t have to do it alone. Experienced work-from-home Mums and Dads have been sharing their top tips; here are our top 13:

  1. Keep your children near you while you work – this may seem counter-productive, but babies and toddlers crave proximity, so they’re more likely to be calm and non-disruptive if you’re nearby.
  2. Work while they sleep – this is the time when you can maximise productivity, so try to avoid having your own ‘time-out’ when they do.
  3. Share the load – where possible, split childcare responsibilities with those who live in your household.
  4. Have a schedule – creating a plan which helps to establish routine will help both you and your children, but be relaxed about it not always working out.
  5. Keep lists – we’ve all experienced the adverse effects of baby-brain and sleep deprivation! Try not to rely on memory when it comes to jobs you need to get done; lists can be your best friend… plus it’s motivational and satisfying ticking things off.
  6. Have a bunch of sensory activities at the ready – these are great distractions for children, and can often be pre-prepared, ready to grab at a moment’s notice.
  7. Vary activities – by mixing things up regularly, infants are less likely to lose interest quickly. Limit time with different activities / toys so that they continue to be engaged and excited by them when they appear.
  8. Utilise swings and bouncers – these can be a useful tool for entertaining babies and toddlers while ensuring they stay in one place! Make sure you can see your child in the swing / glider / bouncer while you work, and only use it for short periods of time, referring to the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety instructions.
  9. Take breaks together – whether it’s snack time, a proper meal, or just 5 minutes out, this can be quality time with your child.
  10. Be prepared – have meals and bottles organised in advance. You can also pre-pack activity boxes, and prerecord story-time or download audio books for daytime entertainment.
  11. The Five-Minute Focus – it’s tempting to write-off a 5-10 minute ‘gap’ as dead time, but you’ll be surprised at how much more you can achieve in a day if you use this time productively. When making your job list, pop a symbol next to tasks which could be achieved in these moments.
  12. Be gentle with yourself – this is so important, and yet far too often forgotten. You can’t be there fully for your child if you aren’t also taking care of yourself. Schedule me-time as part of your routine, don’t put pressure on yourself to achieve more than is practical, and try to accept that sometimes things just won’t go to plan.
  13. Enjoy it! – Being able to spend this time at home with your little one can be a gift. Consciously clock the positive experiences.

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