Are you looking for tips for working from home without childcare? Then use these steps to master working at home with kids. Be realistic with your expectations, get prepared for the workday, plan ahead, and create a flexible daily routine. You can do this!
Working from home without childcare
Working at home without childcare is hard.
That’s the honest truth. That’s why most people don’t do it.
I have worked at home for over 8 years (for a couple full time jobs) – and for 5 of those years I have also had young children. I work for an actual employer from 8-5 – so those eight hours are not mine. My job isn’t the kind of job I can “just fit in during nap times”.
Yes, I have had some outside help, and now my kids are in a preschool a few days a week.
But every work day I work eight straight hours while accommodating my kids’ schedules. And being the best employee I can be for my boss. It’s not easy.
Often my days are full of juggling toddler tantrums, grocery lists, hours in front of my laptop, trying to be a “clever Pinterest working parent with all the home parent tricks”, stale coffee, bath time, re-watching episodes of White Collar at night – and if I’m lucky – actually spending time on myself each day.
And, every few weeks I adjust.
That’s the key, I think. I am constantly re-adjusting, planning a new flexible schedules, trying new tricks, and figuring out what my kids need.
I basically adjust every three months to provide my kids with the best schedule and educational activities so that they can play near me.
Keep reading to see how you work from home without childcare!
- Working from home without childcare
- Be Realistic with your Expectations
- Create a daily routine with flexibility
- Decide your childcare budget
- The FirstBorn Dad Backpack
- Create a physical workspace
- Encourage Children To Play Independently
- Providing A Safe Play Space
- Be Mindful Of Nap Times
- The Witching Hours
- Think Outside The Box
- Don’t Forget To Breathe
Be Realistic with your Expectations
Do you stay awake at night completely worried that you are doing the right thing for your kids? Or not doing the right thing?
Yeah, me too.
Here are some things that help me be realistic with my expectations for our family. Especially as I work at home without childcare.
1. It’s ok to be home a lot
This is one of those things that stresses me out the most. We are home A LOT. Isn’t this bad?
I have realized that IT IS OK to be home a lot. It is ok for your kids to rotate the same toys over and over again. It is ok to keep a small circle. IT IS OK.
2. You are enough for your kids
You are your kids mom – not another mom. Not another entertainment source. You. And you are the best for them.
Even if we stay away at night completely convinced that we have screwed everything up. It’s ok. We probably have. But we are also enough for our kids. Just know that.
3. It’s ok to say “no” to things
We can’t do everything! We HAVE to say no to things! During some seasons, we say no to extra childcare. Sometimes we say no to extra toys. Some seasons we say no to busy schedules. It’s all ok!
As you go into this season of working from home without childcare, just remember that it’s ok to say no to things. You don’t have to compete with what other moms are doing!
Create a daily routine with flexibility
The key to working from home without childcare is a mindset shift. What worked for you before without kids won’t work now. Instead, you will be working random hours, sleeping weird hours, and just figuring it out every day easy ways to get it done.
So what can you do now to sketch out what this new life will look like?
Spend a few hours writing out how to divy up your time. How many hours of work will you need? How many hours to focus on your kids? How many hours will your children nap? Do you need to have alone time? Time to work out? Time with your family?
Spend this time to focus on your new life, and working from home without childcare will fall into place.
Let me introduce my free block schedule that works for just this.
WITH THIS FREE SYSTEM YOU CAN…
- Keep separate schedules for you, your kids, your home, and your work.
- Compare every day of the week to see where you have extra minutes to optimize and use wisely.
- Prioritize your top to-do items, and and say “no” to what can be saved for next week.
- Add in cleaning chores and kids activities based on how much extra time you have.
Decide your childcare budget
When I talk about childcare budget, I’m not just talking about full-time care daycare budget. I mean anything you can put aside per month to help with your children.
To figure this out, ask yourself these questions:
- “How much can I afford per month for childcare?”
- “Can we swing just $50-$100/month for childcare?”
- “How will my childcare decisions weigh on our mental health or family dynamic?”
In the past few years, we have gone through every possible form of childcare during this roller coaster. We have had: no childcare, part-time playtime, part-time babysitters, full-time nannies, preschool, no preschool, family members help, neighborhood mother’s helper, flexible sitter/caregiver, drop-off nursery/daycare….you name it!
And at the end of the day, our budget decides a LOT.
Even if you can swing only $50/month, SET THAT ASIDE and use it for activity box subscriptions, craft materials, new toys, or baby equipment…anything to help you out.
Ask yourself what season are you in? If your kids are home, invest in toys and activities to make that easier. Can you get a 10 year old neighbor to help in the afternoon? Spend $20/wk on that. Lean into the season you are in.
When I buy new gear for my baby that will occupy a lot of time, my favorite phrase is “It’s cheaper than a babysitter!” This is a really easy way to get through another month, if you are living month to month.
This budget (even if its just a tiny amount) will give you freedom to get help.
The FirstBorn Dad Backpack
Ok, so this is a shameless plug, because I think this backpack is AMAZING for the work at home parent that needs a functional work diaper bag that does everything.
And, because the guy that designed this FirstBorn Dad Backpack is my friend.
But mostly, I just think you need one of these in your life.
This “FlyDad Dad Backpack” is the diaper bag that every parent wishes that they had (yes, even the moms!).
This bag is fashion-forward and functional, and has all the features that every parent needs. This bag has:
- 21 pockets/compartments
- Breathable mesh foam back padding
- Easy-access Wipes holder
- Cell-phone pocket on the strap
- Universal charging cable
- Changing mat
- Oversized water bottle holder
- Secure laptop sleeve
- Padded straps
- Dedicated diaper pocket
- Insulated milk pocket (yes, really) for 2 – 4oz bottles
- Durable and water-proof throughout
- Hidden security pocket
If you need a good working parent bag as you maneuver this tough time, check it out and use the code MODERNWAHM for 10% off!
Create a physical workspace
Because I work at home with kids, I am constantly looking for ways to work near my kids. I love for my kids to work independently, but I also need to be able to monitor them at all times.
How do I do this? In each of my houses I have moved my desk to a central location.
In my old house, my desk was actually in my living room. This gave me a lot of space to work and be near my daughter.
Now in my new house, my desk is in our upstairs loft that is between our bedrooms. There is enough room to fit my desk, a small sofa, and a play area for my baby.
To set up a safe play area for my kids, I recommend buying a large “baby fence” to enclose a large area for your mobile kids to play in. I rotate the toys, and this gives me a safe place to let my kid explore.
To see how I do this with young kids, see my home setup here.
Encourage Children To Play Independently
I am a huge fan of teaching your kids to play independently.
Around six months old (yes, even before they can even sit up!), I put my babies in their room with a baby gate and some toys, and leave them to “play” for maybe 10 minutes. I repeat this every day to build up more time each day.
By the time my babies are around one year old, they are able to play by themselves for 30-40 minutes. By the time my daughter was two years old, she was able to play by herself for up to two hours. Because she stopped napping at age two, I would place her in her room for two hours and call it “quiet time”. Because she loves to play by herself, this worked great when she stopped napping.
To be honest, I would probably practice this with my kids even if I didn’t work from home. It is an excellent way to teach your child contentment and creativity!
Again, I am right next to my kids during this whole independent-play process. I check on them, watch them on the baby monitor, and encourage them with new toys.
Another way I use baby gates is to separate small babies from older kids playing.
Very often my daughter needs a barrier between her and the baby. Adding a baby gate to her door accomplishes this. This is an excellent way to separate kids and give them places to play – while they are still right next to my desk.
Another invaluable tool is a baby monitor. I use mine all the time – even for my toddler!
I have our monitor set up in my son’s room, and often put both kids in there to play. I watch them from down the hall, and love being able to see their play.
If you have toddlers in a separate room, this is an excellent way to keep an eye on them.
Also – a fun game to keep them occupied is to play Simon Says through the monitor. It’s great entertainment that lets you work and “play” with your kids.
Providing A Safe Play Space
When my kids are mobile (think the wandering two year old!) I create a gated-in baby playing area where they can walk around and play with all their toys. It is right by my desk, and my toddlers honestly love this area and looked forward to playing in it. Again – they have everything they need and it is completely baby-proof.
We use a large baby fence to enclose a large play space – or to block off part of the living room. I totally recommend it for kids of any age.
Another trick during this stage is to constantly rotate your toys. I never give my kids access to all their toys at one time, because kids thrive on surprises.
I love to weekly pull out new sets of toys that they forgot. One week we might be into Magnatiles and building blocks – and the next week it is all about trucks and cars.
This is an excellent trick to constantly plan how you are going to entertain your kids each day.
Be Mindful Of Nap Times
The biggest question when you have babies is “to sleep train or not to sleep train?”
And honestly, the “right”way is the one that works for your family.
But regardless of whether you sleep train, I definitely encourage you to make your babies NAP. They might be planned. They might be sporadic. But they need sleep. You need them to sleep. And everyone is happy.
When my kids were between the ages of 6-12 months, there was a lot of transition. Transitioning from the swing to their crib. It also was the year they transitioned from 2 to 1 naps. It’s so fun. KIDDING.
It’s during this phase that I lean really hard into white noise, blackout shades, and baby sleepsacks. I always found myself Googling “how to get my kid to sleep” at like 11 pm at night. There is always something to try – and it might help you!
My daughter stopped napping at 2 years old, and it was rough. She’s so active – and SO NOT SLEEPY in the afternoon. When do kids stop napping? It’s different with every family!
It was during this time that I transitioned her to quiet times.I tried everything at this point – white noise, dark curtains, books, music, expensive alarm clocks…nothing worked. So, we transitioned to quiet time. To learn how we taught our kids to keep a “quiet time”, check out this post here.
The Witching Hours
Let’s talk about that 4pm – 5pm period. This is the hardest, right? Honestly, this is the best time to plan your work phone calls and conference calls. I let my kids watch one or two shows after quiet time, so I can minimize interruptions. Then, I take all my calls, finish my deadlines, and transition to spend time with each kiddo. It’s not easy, but it’s totally possible!
Think Outside The Box
I think Instagram has taught us “what is normal” for moms and kids. We see what other kids play with and what other kids watch, and we think that we are limited by what is “out there”.
Let’s talk about a few ways you can do things differently for your family.
Lunch – Consider eating lunch outside (or even as a picnic on the floor!) This change in the “routine” gives my kids ways to be outside and enjoy a change in pace. I make “snack lunches’ for them with cupcake wrappers in muffin tins. I fill each tin with a different food group, and they love “snack lunch” to change things up.
Screen Time – Let’s talk about screen time for a minute. Yes, I let my toddler watch a few small shows. Usually, she watches just one or two that I strategically use during the day. Sometimes I know I have a meeting later, so I save her show until then. Some days my mornings are crazy, and I use the show to get through the first hour of the day. My goal is always to use the screen time as a tool to my advantage!
Toys – I am always just searching for the best education ideas for each age group. Currently, my daughter is very into puzzles. She builds and rebuilds puzzles many times over – sometimes up to 30 or 40 minutes. If you have a toddler, you definitely need to follow Busy Toddler on Instagram. Her account is magic, and I use her activities weekly. I also love the videos on Signing Time for toddlers and preschoolers – they are excellent!
Subscription Boxes – Another option is to pay for an activity subscription box that gives your kid structured, educational activities every week.
I absolutely love KiwiCo activity boxes because they use the STEM process (science, technology, engineering, math) to give you smart, hands-on activities to do with your child. We have been buying these for our kids for over two years, and love them! We pay for them with our own pennies. (This is definitely not sponsored.)
Now that we have a backlog of these activities, I pull out a few for my daughter every week for her to play with. (I’ll say something like, “let’s do your jungle game, cooking stove, and beanbag racing game this week!”) I love having these backlog of activities.
Don’t Forget To Breathe
Did you make it to the end of the day? Congrats! That’s your success for today. Some days we just work to get to the end of the day, and then we give ourselves a pat on the back. Success.
I just want you to know that you can do this. So many parents are maneuvering working from home without childcare right now, and it’s possible! I’m proud of you. Keep going!
You might also like:
How can I work from home without childcare?
Are you looking for tips for working from home without childcare? Then use these steps to master working at home with kids. Be realistic with your expectations, get prepared for the day, plan ahead, and create a daily routine. You can do this!
HOW CAN I WORK FROM HOME AND TAKE CARE OF A BABY?
Yes you can! Make sure you schedule your time with a block schedule template for moms, and decide your childcare budget. Even if you can swing $50/month, that budget will help you get the help you need.
Can you work from home and take care of kids?
Yes! So many parents work from home and take care of kids. Make sure you combine your office and play area, and create contained spaces for your kids. Also, spend this time focusing on independent play and nap time to help you you!