Here's How To Set Boundaries With Your Kids If You’re Working From Home

Health & Wellness By Karla

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Working from home has its advantages but it also has some challenges, especially if you have young kids. Finding a way to set boundaries with them and explain how work and play need to be separated is hard, so here are a few ideas to help you out.

Separate Your Workspace

If you're lucky enough to have a room to work from other than typing away at your laptop on your dining table, do your best to use it. Sit your kids down and explain how that room is off-limits during the day and how they can play anywhere else around the house but there.

Come down to their level and explain it in a way they'll understand it. Don't assume they can understand the words coming out of your mouth straight away and let them noodle on it and process it in their heads. It will take some time to adjust, but if you stay patient, you'll be able to find a way to get through to them.

If, on the other hand, you don't have the option of closing the door and separating yourself physically, get creative and turn it into a game, telling them they need to build a Lego wall between your new workspace and their playroom, and how they can't cross that imaginary barricade until 5 pm.It's not easy to find solutions when the problem seems impossible to solve, but if the situation calls for it, you have to reach deep down into your creative and playful side and remember what it's like to be a kid again.

Create a Schedule Together

Talking to your kids is one thing, but you'll need to do much more than that for it to actually make them remember it day in and day out. Creating a schedule together and hanging it somewhere in your home where everyone can see it and access it is a great daily reminder of who is doing what and when.Turn it into a fun activity and bring on all the different colors, stickers, highlighters, everything and anything to make them get excited about doing this. Write down your working hours and write down the playing hours, showing them how you won't be available to be their pony or play with dolls until a specific time in the day.

Write down your eating windows and bedtime hours as well, and teach your kids about structure and organization. They probably won't start following it all through immediately, but if you keep on pointing it out and stay consistent, they'll catch on pretty soon.

Make The Playing Hours Count

If you want your kids to behave and respect your working hours, you need to reciprocate and invest all of your leftover energy for doing the same during their playing hours. Even though you're tired from a full day of meetings and creating spreadsheets and presentations, do your best to play dress up or get into a teepee with them.It's important to show them how much you cherish your time with them and learn how to separate your work life from your personal, even if it's all mixed up in the same living space. It will also make them more likely to abstain from crashing into your workspace at the wrong time if they know you'll be playing with Legos a few hours later.

Get The Focus Priorities Done At The Most Convenient Time

Are your kids waking up at 7 am and jumping on your bed? Let them be and avoid doing your most important work at that time of the day. Save it for later when you know they'll be taking a nap or busy doing something else rather than pretending you're a tree they need to climb.If, on the other hand, they like to sleep in, get up an hour earlier than usual and get your focus priorities done then. It's all about organization and flexibility. You have to do what works for you and your family best.

Be Realistic

At the end of the day, you have to acknowledge that not every day will be perfect and how sometimes you'll have to endure your kid climbing up to your lap and pulling your hair right when you're in the middle of an important presentation.

Working from home isn't the ideal scenario for most people, especially if they're not used to it. Having to adjust to a new reality takes time and even when you think you're finally getting somewhere, there's a good chance your kid can start screaming for no apparent reason.

Don't get angry and frustrated at the whole situation, but rather accept it for what it is and do the best you can given the circumstances. Stressing up about it will only make the situation that much worse as your kids will sense it, you might yell at the wrong moment, and you'll end up having to deal with a crying toddler in addition to everything else.

Cut yourself some slack, talk to your coworkers and explain your personal situation and how you might need to step out for a moment if your kid starts yelling or how you might get interrupted from time to time since you live in a small apartment and physically can't distance yourself from your 2-year-old.

Working from home with kids is a challenge, but each and every family is different, and it's up to you to figure out your dynamic, find a way to set up clear boundaries your kids will respect, and discover what work-life balance translates to. One step at a time.

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