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9 Tips to Survive Working From Home with Babies and Toddlers

Search Remotely 8 Tips Survive Work from Home with Small Children

Do you need 8 tips fast for surviving the chaos associated with working from home, working remotely from anywhere while you are also caring for your infant or toddler?  You don’t need to read the statistics because you are juggling many responsibilities of childcare, remote work,  elder care and spousal/partner obligations.  So you can go ahead and skip to the bottom of this article.

Remote first employers, human resources professional and remote team leader, this article is for you too. Have you ever stopped to wonder how many families  with infants and toddlers in the US are trying to survive while working from home? Here is the data to inform your remote work decisions and remote job policies.

Data on Working Families with Children

The  Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 32.8 million families, or two-fifths of all families living in the U.S. are raising biological, step-children, and/or adopted children in their households under 18 years of age.

Within that pool of familes with children, the Washington Post  approximates that there are twelve million familes have children in the zero year to two year age bracket.

Labor Force Participation of Mothers with Young Children

As one can imagine, the 2021 BLS Report,  Employment Characteristics of Families, mothers and fathers leading the family household comprised of young children participate in the labor force at different rates.

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Further, the ages of the children within the household was one of the driving forces determining whether either parent participated in the workforce.

For instance, data show that moms with children younger than six years  participated in the workforce at a lower rate (65.6%)  than mothers with children older than six and less than 18 years (75.5%) older children.

By a very small percentage spread, dads, on the other hand were more likely to participate when their children were younger than six years (93.9%) in comparison to fathers with older children older than six and less than 18 years (91.5%).

In addition to the variances in participation rates based upon gender and age of the children; there were martial status differences as well. The participation rate for married fathers was 93.5% in 2021. Married mothers participated at a lower rate (69.3%) than mothers of different marital status (75.3%) and fathers of different marital status (87%).

In a nutshell, what does all of this data mean? How does it relate to working from home, working remotely or working from anywhere?

Mothers of Young Children and the Sidelining of Promising Careers

Search Remotely presents this article to show that there has been little change in society about the demands of raising a child while trying to also support a family (if the mother is head of household). Further, rearing an infant and young child maybe paramount for many mothers who have had dreams of career advancement and professional success. It seems as though, up until the age of six, many moms may elect to forego their professional goals while focusing on the needs of their greatest asset; the minds of their young children.

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To  prove this point, let’s take a look at historical statistics unadulterated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Ten years ago, in 2012, ChildTrends reported that 37.7% elected to take care of their infants and young toddlers themselves. Home-based care outside of the parents’ home was the second option (29.5%).   Within the home-based category includes extended family members, friends and neighbors who could be paid or unpaid.  Just 11.9% of parents shuttled their  babies and toddlers to childcare facilities. The remaining 10 percent of parents chose other options.

Remote Work and Work From Home Policies Increase Options for Parents

The good news about remote work policies adopted by many employers is that mothers with young children are no longer obligated to make a choice that maybe considered in the short term bad for them individually from a professional standpoint but also good for development of their child.

So while the barriers to working from anywhere outside of the traditional office as been removed, challenges remain.

9 Tips to Survive Work From Home Chaos while Caring for Babies and Toddlers

When you have toddlers or babies, working from home can often feel like spinning plates, and if you want to keep your balance, it’s usually a good idea to bring in some coping strategies – here are a few to consider.

Communication

Regularly hold honest (though guarded) meetings with your remote work supervisor. Keep the channels of communication open to allow you to manage expectations (your’s and those of your boss).  Share your work-related resource  and scheduling requirements to enable the two of you to set realistic goals, milestones and deadlines for remote job task completion.

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This advice does not mean that the remote working mother of homebound young children should open the floodgates to vent about anything and everything that occurs external to work. Rather, it is to help your boss establish the mindset that on occasion the unplanned will invariably happen.

Division

As a remote worker, creating a divide between your work and family life is important for protecting both. However you can, try to physically separate your home office from communal areas, this will minimize distractions during work calls, protect against clutter, improve concentration and help you to prevent stress from passing over. If you don’t have walls or doors to help, sometimes the same effect can be achieved with room dividers, bookcases, or, when all else fails, a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.

Organization

For the shrewd work from home parent, achieving a successful work/life balance is a lot easier with smart scheduling. If you can adopt an organizational approach, you’ll be able to accrue extra hours throughout the day to be distributed either to your personal or professional responsibilities. Time tracking/management apps can help with this – tracking time spent on individual tasks, alerting you to switch from one to the other, reducing procrastination, and giving you a clearer overview of how you’re spending your day.

Support

As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Believe it or not, it applies to parents working remotely, working from home and working from anywhere.  If you have family or friends around you who are willing and eager to help out, it’s important to seek or accept their help. Alternatively, when they’re old enough, placing the kids in daycare or contracting a nanny for a few hours can provide crucial leeway so you can maintain a balanced schedule. Just be sure to compare prices and double-check reviews/testimonials in advance of committing to a decision.

Socialization

Schedule play dates. Research titled, Playgroup Participation and Social Support Outcomes for Mothers of Young Children: A Longitudinal Cohort Study found that mothers of infants who isolated themselves from other mothers and their young child from other children were almost 1.7 times times likely to report receiving little to no support from their friends as their child reached ages four to five. These mothers who were disengaged from their peer group were up to two times as likely to have no support once their child reached eight to nine years of age.

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The researchers concluded that routine participation in playgroups offer a buffer of support against poor social outcomes. Socialization is good not only for the child, but also for the parent who can use the expanded network to build comradery, learn new and/or tried and true methods for the everyday challenges of stay-at-home and/or work from home motherhood.

Prioritization

Taking into consideration all facets of your personal and professional responsibilities will ensure that the most important work (and all your children) are tended to. Make sure to prioritize quality time, remaining available at bedtime every night, helping the kids with simple chores, and planning experiences on the occasions when you get time off.

Distractions

Although not always ideal, toys and screens can play a crucial role in ensuring kids are stimulated during the times when you’re occupied. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps (such as Youtube Kids), devices (such as child-friendly tablets), and educational video channels to help parents control viewing material. If you’d prefer to avoid screen time, it could be worth browsing the latest kids’ bestsellers and seeing if any of these appeal to the little ones.

If you’d like an idea of the educational toys that foster learning and are fun at the same time,  an Educational Psychologist would recommend these. Please be advised that we would receive a commission if you choose to make a purchase.

Recommended Toys from Amazon

Career

Sometimes it’s less to do with your work/life balance and more to do with the nature of the work itself. If you’re in a job that takes too much and rewards you with too little, it could be worth reskilling and transitioning to a new career. You could, for example, earn your bachelor of science in education, learning about instructional practice and development, along with knowledge in particular fields (if you want to be a teacher). Better still, many programs can be completed online, meaning you can keep up with your studies whilst you’re working full-time.

Maternal Self Care

Working with kids is rarely an easy feat (especially when they’re toddlers or babies). It’s important, therefore, to protect yourself from burnout and ensure you’re taking the steps to get organized and prioritize happiness in the household.

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But many mothers with infants and toddlers may not know this. Research has shown that there are mothers out there who believe that there is virtue in self sacrifice. When mothers are needed the most: for remote job demands, family and spouse as well as infant obligations it is imperative to take time to exercise, switching up childcare to allow for the other parent to care for the child occasionally, and entertaining oneself.

Search Remotely is an award-winning online platform that enables people to work remotely from anywhere they want to. Remote work, distributed work, digital nomadism, and location-independent style of working are rising rapidly and inevitably is the future. Learn more about our services at: www.searchremotely.com