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How to Balance Childcare and Work

As a parent who is working from home, balancing childcare and job responsibilities is an ongoing challenge. There is no set solution to get everything done in a day. However, there are steps you can take to put in your best effort at making it all work.

Choose among these five suggestions to find a balance between childcare and work responsibilities.

Prioritize Self-Care

Set aside time each day to enjoy a healthy, relaxing activity. This may involve yoga, reading, or meditation. Or, it could include reaching out to a family member, friend, or mental health professional for help coping with stress, anxiety, depression, or other issues. It is important you manage your stress and build your capacity to support your children.

Create Separate Spaces

If your children are old enough to independently do their schooling, set up different zones of your home for each of you to work in. This may involve placing desks in your children’s rooms for them to study at while you work at the kitchen table. Remind your kids that when you are in your work zone, you are not to be interrupted unless there is an emergency.

Set a Routine

Structure the day so that your family members know when it is time to get up, learn, eat, relax, and go to bed. Be sure to include break times, lunch, and outside time so everyone can eat and get some exercise. You may want to create a visual timetable that shows the activities assigned to your children, when you are available to talk, and when everyone can have fun. For younger kids, you may want to set a timer and let them know they can have your full attention when it goes off. Knowing what to expect signals when your child can spend time with you and when you are fulfilling other responsibilities.

Use Online Resources

If your kids are too young for school, take advantage of age-appropriate learning websites. For instance, apps like Duolingo offer free content designed to motivate children to learn languages such as Spanish or French. Or, you may want to purchase apps that teach piano, guitar, or typing lessons. Allow for independent play as well.

Blend Your Schedule with Your Partner’s

If you have a partner at home, set up times for each of you to work and spend time with the kids. This may involve moving around meeting times, making last-minute schedule changes, or allowing one partner more or less time for work on certain days based on their current projects. Or, you might divide up morning, afternoon, and evening work shifts, depending on when you are most productive.

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