1. Get creative with your schedule. If you have another adult home with you, consider a split schedule. Whichever time slots you end up working, there will be an adjustment period as you retrain your mind to focus during your new “business” hours.
2. Be upfront with your boss. You might need to make adjustments to your work schedule in order to watch your children. Before you do, talk to your boss or HR. It’s also always good to come into this kind of conversation proactively with a clear action plan.
3. Stick to a routine. Maintaining a daily routine will help everyone stay occupied and manage some of the anxiety caused by this big change. Write out a schedule and pin it to the wall or the refrigerator so kids can refer to it throughout the day.
4. Use visual cues to minimize interruptions. If you don’t have another adult to help with the children, visual cues become even more important. For example, you can hang a stop sign on your office door so the kids know not to barge in.
5. Let kids make some choices. Giving children the ability to choose some of their own activities and self-serve meals and snacks help build independence and allows you to get more unbroken time for work.
6. Communicate with your coworkers. Your coworkers will be more understanding about interruptions if you warn them ahead of time. And, you’ll probably have coworkers going through it with you.
7. Plan breaks with the kids and downtime without them. During your “off” time, play with the kids, preside over schoolwork, or get outside. If you give the kids your full attention during breaks, they can look forward to them, and it might just be easier for them to get through your working blocks too. Make sure each adult in the house also has downtime to themselves.