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Working from home with kids can be a challenge. But thankfully, work at home moms are great at overcoming challenges.
Being a work at home mom requires intentional planning, dedication, and loads of flexibility. When you put all of those things together, you can make it happen.
To help you boost your productivity while your kids are underfoot, I’ve rounded up my 50 top tips for working from home with kids. Each tip is intentionally short and sweet – so you can pick one to implement and get it done quickly.
Best of all, these tips are all tried-and-true. They’re what I currently use as a homeschooling mom to nine (with baby ten on the way!). As a freelancer, I’ve had to learn how to carve out time for my business while still giving my large family plenty of attention and love.
In this post, you’ll also find plenty of links to other resources, so if you need to dive deeper in one area, you’ll find the help you need.
To make it easier for you to use, I’ve divided this list of tips into ten key areas. You can skip ahead to the ones you need most or start at the top and work your way down.
Below, you’ll find tips to help you:
- Keep your kids engaged while you work
- Work from home with a baby or toddler
- Boost your productivity
- Focus on your work
- Streamline your life and business
- Get your family on board with your business
- Use time saving tools and delegation
- Network with other working moms
- Grow your business
- Make time for self-care
Are you ready to get more done even when your kids are home? If yes, let’s jump right in.
Tips for Keeping Your Kids Engaged While You Work
While you’re working, you don’t want to leave your kids to their own devices. Otherwise, you probably won’t like the activities they select. So, these tips will help you keep your kids engaged while you work.
1. Create a list of activities for each of your children.
By making each child their own list, you can make sure the ideas are age-appropriate, enjoyable, and safe.
2. Set up a place for your kids to work or play near your home office space.
This way, you can keep an eye on them and make sure everything is going well.
3. Pair your kids up and have sibling play time while you work.
It’ll build sibling bonds and keep them busy. If you have lots of kids like I do, rotate them to mix up the fun. I like to pair my younger kids with older ones, so I can trust that they aren’t going to drive cars through the flour together or anything crazy.
Here’s a post with more details about how we handle sibling play time in our house.
4. Have a joint quiet work time for 1/2 an hour each day.
Have your kids each pick something to work on that’s quiet. Then, set the timer for thirty minutes and all of you work hard on your project.
When the timer beeps, everyone can clean up and show off what they created. In our house we call this Family Writing Time, and it’s a favorite for many of my kids.
For more information on Family Writing Time, you’ll want to read this eBook.
5. Have some special toys that only come out when you’re working.
Keep a few favorite toys up high, and only pull these out when you need your kids to stay engaged while you work. Rotating toys makes them fresh again, so they’ll be more enjoyable for your kids.
Here are some of the toys we keep up for these occasions.
Tips for Work at Home Moms with a Baby or Toddler
Little ones are so precious and sweet. But they can also be a handful when you’re trying to get work done. Here are my best tips for working from home with kids in the 0-3 age range.
6. Use a sling and wear your baby.
(This is my fave!) When you wear your baby, you can keep your hands free so you can still type the right way. (Hunting and pecking with one hand is harder!)
Most babies also prefer to be carried, so you may have less crying when you use a sling. Of course, all babies are different, so it may not work out that way for you…
7. Take Advantage of Nap Time
Many babies and toddlers sleep a lot. Use nap time to your advantage as a work at home mom and get as much work done as you can when your little one is sleeping. When your toddler starts to outgrow naps, transition to quiet time.
8. Keep your expectations in check.
Your little ones depend on you to meet their needs. A full-time business may not be realistic for you during this season of life. So, make your time count.
This post has tips for growing your business when you can only work a few hours a day.
9. Rotate your little one between several “safe zones.”
This will mix things up for them a bit and prevent them from being in one space for too long. You can use a high-chair, playpen, blanket on the floor, swing, walker, and other spaces that are safe. Give your child some toys to help keep them engaged while they are there. Then before you move to the next space, spend time together playing and taking care of diapers and food.
10. Use humor to diffuse tense situations.
You can extinguish many temper tantrums and other tense parenting situations by using some humor. If you sense one coming on, make your voice really high or really low and do something wacky. Dance on your tiptoes, have your child’s sock try to eat their foot, or try to juggle. The unexpected combined with the humor will end most tantrums in their tracks.
You can learn more about the power of humor here.
Have kids in other age groups? You’ll find my Ages & Stages Guide to Working from Home with Kids useful.
Tips to Help You Boost Your Productivity
When you work from home, every second counts. You need to be a time management ninja to get it all done. These tips can help your productivity soar.
11. Create a simple morning routine that helps you prepare for the day.
Drink some coffee, read your Bible, do whatever you can in the morning to help you prepare for the coming day. One key task in your morning routine should be to list two-three must-dos for the day. This way you can see what you must accomplish before the end of the day.
12. End your days well.
While it’s tempting to curl up in your jammies and binge watch your favorite show, that’s not going to help you get things done when you’re working from home with kids. So, save those evenings for special occasions.
On most nights, take the time to prepare for the coming day. Review your to-do list, make sure the dishwasher is set, and throw a load of laundry in on delay.
13. Make a plan of the day, every day.
When you’re a busy mom, life throws curve balls pretty quickly. That means a strict schedule probably won’t be a good fit. Instead, use flexible routine blocks and work with your family each morning to figure out how to arrange them for that particular day. This way everyone is one the same page and you can get more done.
14. Write things down.
Mom brain is real, I’m telling you. You have no idea how many times I’ve lost a great idea or the start of a blog post because I forgot to write it down. Keep a planner, notebook, or your notes app on your phone handy. Then whenever ideas pop into your brain, write them down so you can jog your memory later.
15. Have a dedicated workspace.
I don’t care if you’re working from a tiny desk in the playroom, have a spacious home office, or keep a rolling cart by your couch. Wherever works for you and your family, claim some space as your own. Keep your things here so when you have time to work, you aren’t running all over the house wasting time looking for things.
Tips to Help You Focus on Your Work
Work at home moms – you really do need to be able to devote some of your time to your business. Otherwise, you’ll never get any work done.
These tips help you get dedicated work time, so you can focus.
16. Learn to work when it’s noisy.
If your house is anything like mine, quiet isn’t a word you’d use to describe it. Here, with nine kids playing and running around, loud is definitely the more precise descriptor.
But I know there’s a certain “normal” level of loudness I can block out. I’ve taught my brain to do that, and you can as well. Then, if things get too loud or too quiet, I go investigate.
17. Shut off notifications.
You aren’t going to get anything done if you keep checking your email every time a new message arrives or keep popping over to Facebook when you get a like or a comment.
Shut off all of your notifications and go check those things when you’re ready to. You’ll be way less distracted.
18. Have a few different work times.
Life is crazy. That means you may not always get to work at the same time each day. To help give you plenty of time, always plan more work time – even if you don’t use it all. I have four key work periods each day:
- Early mornings
- Family writing time
- Quiet time
This way, if the kids get up early or we have an appointment during quiet time, I don’t miss out on all of my chances to work.
19. Create a focus list for your business.
Not all business tasks require the same amount of focus. I can jump onto Facebook and manage my client’s group and take care of my own posting while my kids are chattering nearby. I can easily set it down and come back to it again without problems.
But, when I’m trying to write a blog post, it’s much harder to do with constant distractions. To help you pick the right task for the type of time you have, make a focus list. Write down all the tasks that you need to focus on. And then make another one for things you can do when your kids are climbing onto your lap.
20. Don’t work for too long at once.
Breaks are actually good for your focus. So, whenever you’ve been sitting and working for too long, get up and move around. Have your kids go on a quick walk with you. Or do some jumping jacks together.
Then, when you’ve had a little time off, get back to work. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are.
Tips to Help You Streamline Your Life and Business
You don’t want to waste time trying to decide what’s for dinner. Or trying to remember who is supposed to unload the dishwasher today. Nope, you need to streamline things if you’re going to successfully work from home with kids.
My course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines, will give you over 30 lessons to help you master this subject if you’re looking for more.
21. Make an annual meal plan.
Everyone is always shocked when I say I meal plan for the entire year each summer. But it’s true. We’re now on our 7th annual meal plan, and I can’t imagine switching to any other method. This one just works for us! The kids know what’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack each day, so I no longer have to field the dreaded, “What’s for dinner?” question.
22. Create an annual chore chart.
Mama don’t have time to try to remember who is supposed to take out the trash on Tuesdays and who washes the dishes on Thursdays. Give your poor brain a break and eliminate some of the clutter about chores. Make an annual chore chart and let your kids master their chores for the year. It takes way less time overall.
Learn how my family handles chores in this post.
23. Create templates for your business
What tasks do you do over and over and over and over again? Save yourself some time and make templates for those things. You can use templates for:
- Emails you send frequently
- Pitches (just make sure to customize a bit for each business)
- Blog posts
- Pinterest (I highly recommend Yolanda’s pin templates for Canva. She does great work!)
- Facebook posts
- Other social networks
It’ll take a little bit of time at first to make the templates. But once they’re created, you’ll save time every time you use them.
24. Batch your work.
Instead of going back and forth between tasks, give batching a try. This means instead of creating images for one post, go ahead and create them for a couple. Then, when you’re ready to post those articles, they’ll already have the images ready.
You can also batch parts of the writing process, client work, and more. It’ll save you time in the long-run and help save you brain power since you’ll be focusing on the same thing for a while instead of jumping back and forth randomly between tasks.
25. Declutter your home.
The less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to clean. Embracing a minimalist lifestyle can really help save you time (and money!)
Start off super small, with one drawer. Then the next time you’re ready to declutter, do another one. Slow and steady will result in big progress and a much cleaner house.
Get Your Family on Board with Your Business
You can’t successfully work from home with kids if your family doesn’t understand that you’re actually working and not just wasting time online. You have to get your family on board, so you can all work together as a team. Here are five tips to help you do that.
26. Share your dreams.
Why did you start your business in the first place? Talk about your dreams with your spouse and your kids. Help them to see the possibilities and be excited about them.
27. Enlist your spouse’s help.
When you can work together, you can accomplish more. Let your spouse put his skills to work for your business. If he isn’t interested in actually helping with the business, have him keep the kids engaged for an hour each evening while you do some focus work, or take evening meal prep and dishes off your plate – there is always a way to help each other!
For details and ideas about how your spouse can help with your business, read this post.
28. Have good boundaries.
Your business can easily take over your life. Don’t let it. Instead, set good boundaries that give you plenty of time to focus on your family. Don’t let your clients call you any time they want. And definitely have a day or two off each week (I don’t typically work weekends, for example.)
This can help your family feel better about your business. For tips on setting (and maintaining) boundaries, read this post.
29. Put your kids to work for you.
Kids can be a definite asset to your home business. They have skills and talents, and most have a desire to learn new things. Use these traits, and have your child help you. Even consider paying them for their time and effort once they’re trained and ready to help.
30. Celebrate wins together.
Don’t let your kids hear you only complaining about your home business. Additionally, take the time to celebrate your victories.
Get a new client? Have an ice cream party to celebrate.
Need 3 new clients? Set up a countdown on the wall and each time you land one gather your kids around and take one counter down. When you reach the end, do something fun.
These small celebrations can help your business seem more fun for the family. And it can give you a much needed joyful time.
Tips to Help Work at Home Moms Use Time Saving Tools and Delegation
You can’t do it all when you work from home with kids. You will need to drop some things and save time where you can. Here are tips to help you do just that. (For more time saving tips read this post: Top 10 Time Saving Tools for the Busy Mom Boss.)
31. Hire help for your home or business.
One key to working from home with kids is learning to admit that you can’t do it all. There is NO SHAME in asking for help. You aren’t a failure because you need to hire a VA or a house cleaner.
Don’t be afraid to hire help if you can afford it. You will save yourself plenty of time and can pour yourself into things you actually enjoy doing.
(And if you’re looking for a good VA – I have one client spot available! I’m also available for additional freelance writing work!)
32. Take a course.
Everything you need to know about running a home business, you can probably find online for free. But it’s going to take you lots of time to sift through the options, get to the good stuff, and find what you need.
It’s much faster to take a course. Here are some I recommend:
Any of these can give you information to help you make money as a busy mom.
33. Cut time wasting tasks.
Is there anything you’re doing that’s wasting a lot of your time and not actually bringing you results? Cut them. You might go back later, but for now, they aren’t worth your time.
For more ideas on what to cut, read these posts:
34. Use your Instant Pot and slow cooker.
Time saving tools aren’t only for your business. They’re also for your personal life. You can save a lot of time using an Instant Pot and a slow cooker. Plan meals that are simple to throw in and then let these appliances do the work without you having to babysit dinner as it cooks.
35. Listen to audio books to help you learn.
I used to read a ton of books. But then, life got crazy and I sort of stopped reading for a while. Then a couple of years ago, we got an Audible subscription.
It was a game changer! I use it to listen to books when I’m driving, taking a walk, or otherwise engaged with a task that requires my body to be moving but not necessarily a lot of brain power.
You can learn a lot from books, so pick up some audio books today and start listening as you learn.
Tips to Help You Network with Other Work at Home Moms
When you’re growing a business, you can’t do it from inside an isolation bubble. You need to reach out to others and build relationships. If you’re an introvert like me, or live in the boonies like me, or otherwise will use any excuse to keep you from attending in person networking events (like me), here are some tips to help you network from home.
36. Join good Facebook groups.
I’ve met most of my online friends in Facebook groups. Look for mompreneur style groups, or groups for others with your business. Then, start connecting. Make it a point to give advice and cheer people on. (You can join my group here if you want!)
37. Connect with influencers in your niche.
Who are the big names in your industry? Give them a follow on social media. Then, keep tabs on what they’re doing (in a total non-stalking kind of way of course.)
Comment on their posts, react to what they share, and slowly get to know them.
38. Ask for introductions.
Who do the people around you know? It never hurts to ask for introductions. You can ask someone directly or post it on your social platforms that you’re looking to build your network.
39. Join your chamber of commerce.
If you want to eventually go to local events, or desire to work with local clients, it’s never a bad idea to join your local chamber of commerce. Some will even offer advertising opportunities, so keep your eyes peeled for events to help spread the word about your business.
40. Keep trying.
Networking doesn’t always go as you planned. If you know this going into it, you can help keep things from feeling personal if they don’t work out. Just dust yourself off and try again. It will feel strange at first, but you will get the hang of it if you don’t give up.
Tips to Help Work at Home Moms Grow Your Business
Sometimes it feels as if your business will never get off the ground when you’re working from home with kids. If you’re feeling stuck, these tips will help you grow.
41. Raise your rates.
If you’ve been in business a while, it’s probably time to raise your rates. You know more, have more experience, and are worth more. So, start looking for better paying gigs and clients who are a joy to work with.
42. Use small chunks of time well.
If you only work on your business when you have lots of time available, you’re missing out. There’s plenty you can do in those small chunks of time. So make a list of business tasks that only take a few minutes, so when time comes up, you can pick a task and go.
This post shares tons of baby steps for your business that only take a little bit of time.
43. Add some passive income streams.
While passive income doesn’t just appear in your bank account with absolutely no work on your part, it can help bring along extra income with less time commitment. You can create products and sell them, write blog posts around affiliate products, or put together training materials into a course.
For more passive income ideas, read this post.
44. Change things up.
If you’re feeling really stuck in a rut when it comes to your business, it may be time to change things up a bit. Look for some new clients. Or niche down a bit to focus on something you’re passionate about. Sometimes a new project can rejuvenate your love for your business and help you jump back in with excitement.
45. Take some action every day.
You will never grow a business if all you’re doing is reading about businesses. You’ve got to act. So, make it a point to do at least one thing each day to grow your business. (Except on your days off of course- everyone needs a break!)
But, if you consistently take action, you will see growth. So, keep it up.
Tips to Help Work at Home Moms Take Time for Self-Care
You can’t take care of your kids or your business if you don’t take care of yourself. But, as a busy mom, sometimes you might feel guilty about taking time for you. These tips can help you balance your feelings and take care of yourself.
46. Redefine self-care.
Self-care doesn’t mean time where you leave home and hang out by yourself. Well…it can mean that. But it doesn’t have to. To me, self-care is any activity that helps you find joy out of life and create a life you don’t want to escape from.
Your definition may not match mine. That’s okay! We’re all different. So make your own definition – just make sure it’s realistic for where you are in your life.
47. Make a list of self-care activities.
What do you enjoy doing? What recharges you? Write down your ideas and refer back to it when you need to take some time for joy. The picture below shows some self-care ideas that I enjoy (but you’ll want to make your own list!)
These activities don’t have to be expensive, fancy, or take place out of the home. They just have to fill you with joy. So, go create your list.
48. Schedule Self-Care
Remember how I recommended making a plan of the day earlier in this post? That’s a great time to stick in a few self-care activities. Think about taking time for these activities a couple of times a week (at least) and put them in your schedule. If you use a planner, write them in there. You’re more likely to stick with it if you have a plan.
49. Unplug and Get Outside
There’s something tremendously healing about being outside. It can help you clear your thoughts and recharge your creativity. So, go outside for a few minutes and just enjoy the fresh air. Don’t bring your phone – just unplug and enjoy a few minutes of nature.
For tips on making time to get outside and why it’s so important, read this post.
50. Start small.
If you don’t currently spend a lot of time on self-care, you aren’t instantly going to find hours each week to devote to your well-being. And if you try, you’ll probably get frustrated at the whole thing and decide to quit trying.
Instead, start small. Pick one thing to do each week. Once you’re in that habit, pick another. Keep an eye on how your mental health is doing, and add additional tasks as needed to help you stay balanced and not short-tempered.
There You Have It – 50 Quick Tips for Work at Home Moms
Whew! If you stuck with me this long, you now have 50 tips that can help you be a better work at home mom. Since there are so many, you can’t implement them all in one go.
So, pin this post for later and come back to it. Pick one or two tips to implement at at time and build some solid new habits.
You’ve got this!
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.