Building a Routine When Working at Home and Caring For Kids

Setting a routine while working from home with your children is very important to a successful day, not just for yourself but for your children. For many, having a routine is how you live day to day and for children, routine is the foundation of their day. This can be a huge challenge when you work from home and are needing to care for your children. 

If your children are old enough, then creating a schedule together is always helpful — they become more aware of their schedule and you are able to tell them that they need to give you space to work. 

If your children are younger, then a simple approach is best. “We are going to have quiet time,” “it’s lunch time now…” — those reminders of what is happening next are highly recommended for those younger kiddos. Ideally, you don’t want to change your child’s schedule too much. 

Below are just a few tips and tricks to set yourself and your children a schedule for a day at home. Ideally, you want to keep a similar schedule to your child’s daycare or school, while still maintaining a work-life for yourself. 

  • Get up at the same time and get dressed as if you are going to leave the house. Have breakfast and still take a couple of minutes to set up anything you need to help you be successful. 
  • If you aren’t used to your children being at home, remember that children make noise so be prepared for noise that you might not be used to when working. 
  • If your child is younger and you want them in eyesight while working, then gather toys, crafts and such that they are capable of handling on their own. I strongly recommend that you turn off the television and save screen time for those important meetings that you might have coming up. 
  • With older children, normally they can take care of themselves and play with siblings without problems (most of the time). Work through your morning and check in on your kiddos when needed or to set out a snack. 
  • Don’t interrupt your children to change activities. If they are engaged with a game, dressing up or coloring then it’s best to ride it out. Allow for a morning of creativity and exploring the imagination. If you can plan activities for them to do like crafts or science experiments, the morning will fly by and make it easier for you to get work done. 
  • To keep yourself from going to crazy, plan some outside time. If you have a yard in which children can play in safely then send them out. Otherwise, go for a walk, it’s good for your mental health to have space and fresh air. 
  • Have lunch at the same time every day if possible. 
  • Keep quiet time going. Even if your children don’t sleep during the day, it is important for them to relax for a while and you can take advantage of that time as well. This can be a time for books, rest on their bed or movie time, but something where they know they have to stay until the timer goes off. 
  • Finally, wrap up your work day at the same time. This way your children know that you are no longer working and you can start with your evening. 

When it comes to making a routine, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Keep track of what’s working or not working and adapt accordingly. You don’t want to keep changing things drastically every day, but if something is clearly not working then it won’t do anyone any good to keep doing it for the sake of a routine. 

Below is an example of a routine you can use at home.

Have you have you found a routine for your family that works? Let us know in the comments!

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Ria Reive

Ria Reive in the Community Ambassador at HiMama. Prior to starting at HiMama, Ria was an Early Childhood Educator and worked 6 years in the classroom. She taught all ages but mainly preschoolers. Ria lives in Toronto with her husband. In her spare time, she enjoys time with her niece and nephew and being on the water.