Working at home with a preschooler is a challenging proposition. Have you seen my preschooler? He is animated and full of energy. He doesn’t take naps and his energy goes on all day.
Let’s face it. Getting work done with your preschooler at home is difficult. Here are 4 ways I survive working at home with my preschooler:
1. Take Advantage of Quiet Time
My little guy is the most calm in the morning. If he’s not going to preschool that day, I can usually get him going with breakfast and then he will play with his toys for a while. That’s when I can knock a few items off my to-do list.
2. Set a Timer
When I’m really engrossed in a project and my preschooler wants my attention, I set our kitchen timer. Maybe all I really need is 15 more minutes. I show him that I’m setting the timer and tell him that when it goes off, I will take a break and spend some time with him. This has worked really well. He will go back to playing and when the timer goes off, he runs to me for a hug.
3. Accept Work Time May Have to be in Clumps
We wanted the best of both worlds right? Don’t miss out on those great times with your child. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. My son had made it a practice for a while to come up to me and say “Mama, can you stop working and snuggle with me?” Of course, he ends it with a sweet smile. How do you say no to that? You don’t. Put the computer down and snuggle. These times won’t last forever, don’t miss them.
Accept that sometimes you’ll be able to work in the morning before your child wakes up, when they are at preschool, or when they get engrossed in their play time. You may even have to work after they go to bed.
4. Get Help
I know, it’s hard. The whole part of this work-at-home thing was supposed to allow you the best of everything. I’m not saying that you have to go sign up for child care. Think of some free ways that will work out great for both of you. Having a playdate at a friend’s house, lunch with grandma, or maybe going to the park (or indoor playscape) with dad or another family member will be just what you both need. You’ll be able to have some quiet time to accomplish your projects and your child will be having a great time. That’s really the dream, right?
I’ve read a few articles lately that have helped to give me some perspective and actionable advice. If you need more ideas, be sure to check them out.
- 7 Tips for Work-at-Home Moms
- How do you do it all? 50 Tips for the Work at Home Mom
- Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid as a Work at Home Mom
I hope these ideas can help you figure out what will work best for you and your preschooler. Is there something that works great for you? Please share in the comments.
Just for fun, here’s a photo of my preschooler and me. Have a great day!
Great tips. I haven’t tried the timer yet. I think my daughter is still a bit young to grasp that but I may give it a shot. I’m fortunate to have my family as sitters 3 days a week so I plan the majority of my work on those days, especially client/prospect calls. The days she’s home with me, I work early and during nap time. It’s been a process to figure out what works…and when you do, they change it! (like my daughter’s recent boycott of naps) Thanks for the additional resources!
You’re welcome! It’s so hard when they give up their naps! I’m lucky that my oldest is old enough to babysit so some afternoons she helps me out – especially if I have client/prospect calls. I hope the resources help you find some new ideas.