How do you work from home with a baby or toddler

Juggling your day job while having your baby at home is a challenge for even the best multi-taskers among us. Read our tips on how to manage.

You’ve got a ton of work to do from home, on top of a constant worry about how coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the nation. And now your baby has to isolate at home with you too...

Unfortunately, COVID-19 might not mean your boss is going to let you off work. It could mean you’ve actually got more to do than usual. That’s not to say we’re not all grateful for our jobs right now, but it can be tricky when you’ve got to factor in looking after a little one too.

Here are some tips on how to keep all the plates spinning…

1. Go easy on yourself

First up, this is a stressful situation so don't be too hard on yourself. When you're juggling 101 things, it can feel like you're not doing anything well. But you most definitely are. Have a think about what you can leave and how you can make the most of your time.

Take a look at our tips here for making the most of your time during the lockdown and quick, easy meal ideas from the cupboard.

2. Share the load

You might be both working from home and juggling childcare. So as much as possible, one of you could look after your baby while the other one works and vice versa. We share lots of tips on how to do this as a parenting team in our article here.

For single parents, do you have friends and family to lean on? Obviously, we can't have anyone round but perhaps some Facetime or a zoom call with Grandma singing nursery rhymes? Or just a chat with Aunty Priya could give you some time to focus.

3. Be flexible and prioritise

Your boss is going to understand that this is a tricky time for all of us. If there’s some work that you really need to concentrate on, you could explain that you’ll be able to do it better during nap time or in the evening when your baby is asleep.

Write down your tasks in order of priority. If you can, you try to save less critical work for a time like the weekend when your partner might be able to help out more. Here are some other practical tips from other working parents.

4. Work might become more fluid

Office workers are going to find out a secret that their homeworking friends know all about – work doesn’t have any set limits. This can be good and bad.

You know how you were jealous that your friend got to go to the gym mid-morning? That’s because they’d started working at 6am to meet a deadline, or worked late the night before.

You might find you’re squeezing work in whenever you can. Which is lovely that you can hang out playing with your little one after their morning nap, but then not so good when you can’t have a glass of wine with dinner as you’ve got a report to finish. But increasing numbers of us might find it’s the new normal, at least for a while.

5. The electronic babysitter

We all know who that is – the one who sits in the corner and entertains your baby at the touch of a button. Yes, the TV or tablet is going to come into play in living rooms across the land for the next few months.

For your own sake, save it for when you really need it. If it’s on constantly you might just find it doesn’t have the desired effect when you have a crucial work call. See the arguments for and against screen time here.

Above all, don't put too much pressure on yourself to be everything to everyone. Set realistic goals with work and talk them through with your manager and team.

Further information

Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.

Interactive, engaging and social, our live online antenatal course is a great way for you to meet other local parents, and get essential unbiased information and knowledge about pregnancy, birth and early days with your baby.

Read the the NHS advice on what you should do when you’re self isolating to try and prevent passing on the virus to other people at home.

Take a look at the latest public health guidance for pregnant women and parents.

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