How to Work from Home During the School Holidays

For us work from home mums, having the kids home during the school holidays can mean very little gets done.

Having to keep them entertained and fed, plus constant interruptions when you are supposed to be doing a tiny bit of work are challenging to say the least!

Here's how to work from with kids during the school holidays.

Does your work from home day go something like this:

1. Start your day by telling the kids you are going to be working.

2. Remind partner that kids need to be fed, played with, and entertained. TV is not a babysitter.

3. Make sure you have enough time for last-minute demands, such as the urgent need to play just one game of Chutes and Ladders.

4. Close door to home office/kitchen/bedroom/wherever you work. Start work.

5. Door opens. Remind kids of when they can disturb you while you work. No, wanting a cookie is not an emergency. Yes, you can tell me if the house is on fire.

6. Start work.

7. Door opens. Teddy bear is lost / we don’t have the right cookies / my sister said [this] / Daddy won’t let me… / whatever else they can think of interruption.

8. Deal with crisis. Close door. Start work.

9. And repeat. All. Day. Long.

Working at home during the summer creates challenges for the WAHM. That’s an understatement, right?

If the kids aren’t interrupting, they’re fighting. If they’re not fighting, they’re up to mischief or bored.

Before the interruptions, messes or choruses of “Muuuuum, I’m bored” drive you to distraction and you start tunneling an escape route, take a breath.

Give yourself a break. Any mild-mannered mama is going to throw her hands up in complete desperation. But there is a way to keep your business intact during the summer months, even with your little cherubs running the show. Here’s how...

1. Get Your Partner On Board

Explain that you won't get anything done if you're fielding the kids all day on your own and enlist their help. Say yes to any and all offers of summer help.

2. Be Flexible

You may need to work early mornings, evenings or weekends over the summer so make that mindset shift now.

3. Use Your Mornings

Start getting up a bit earlier each day and get a bit of work done before everyone else is around. Let the kids go to bed later if it means they'll sleep in in the morning and use that extra time to work too.

4. Get Hands On

Spend all the time you can playing, going for nature walks, heading out to the playground or the beach, playing in the paddling pool, baking and doing crafts.

By filling your kids' Mummy tanks you will be able to carve out some time later in the day to work. Yep, TV as your babysitter possibly, but an hour a day won't matter too much!

5. No Screens

For you, that is! When you're with your kids, you should be with them 100%. When you're working, you're working.

Trying to balance a laptop, do a jigsaw puzzle and play Barbies doesn't work - ask me how I know! 😂

6. Separate Work and Home

If you can, physically shut the door on your work life. If it's just a laptop and a phone line, put them in another room. How much do we all long for garden office sheds?!

7. Plan, Plan, Plan

Set up a summer schedule for everyone. Block out the times you have help from your partner, mother or a babysitter and plan work meetings and phone calls for then. Then block in Mummy time, play dates etc.

Colour code the schedule so the kids can see at a glance when you are working and when you will be with them.

8. Set a Timer

When you start a work session set a kitchen timer to show your kids how long you will be busy. Plan with them how they will use their time or give them something to do like one of our fun LEGO challenges, for example.

9. Stock up on Snacks

Yep, they get hungry. Super, super hungry! Prep up healthy snacks in individual portions so they can grab and go each day.

If you have room in the fridge give each child their own area. Same for non-perishables. Give child a basket for the day or the week and let them be responsible for deciding how much to eat each snack time.

See: 100 Healthy Vegetarian Snacks for Kids

10. Create a Craft Box

Yes, you can buy ready made craft boxes from places like toucanBox which are great, but you can create your own box of amazing supplies quite cheaply. Pick up crayons, pens, pencils, paints, glitter, feathers, pompoms, lolly sticks and glue sticks from places like The Works or pound shops/dollar stores.

Supply some card, paper or scrapbooks and kids will be busy for hours!  Check out these fun craft ideas for kids too.

11. Hold on to Some Junk

Don't be too keen to empty the recycling bin each day. Keep a supply of toilet paper and kitchen roll tubes, empty boxes, clean yogurt pots and milk cartons.

Challenge the kids to build the biggest robot, the most colourful bird or an amazing new invention. Help them to plan out their idea, supply all the materials, and you can disappear to work for an hour or so.

12. Self Care

Don't forget to take some time for you! Keeping all those balls in the air is exhausting so make sure you also plan in some downtime and stick to it.

Half an hour in the bath after the kids are in bed, or 10 minutes in the garden with a cup of coffee doesn't sound like much, but it may be enough to recharge your batteries and keep you calm.

Nobody needs stressy, overwrought mum, especially during the summer when F.U.N is top of the agenda.

See: Simple Self Care Ideas for Busy Mums

OK, no-one is going to pretend that working from home when the kids are off school isn't a HUGE challenge. Mine are at home full-time and trying to eke out time to work can be a nightmare some days, even some weeks!

But the thing that works is meticulous planning, scheduling when Steve will be in charge and I can hide away with the laptop, and having plenty of things for the girls to do. Conquer those and you will manage to get some work done this summer.

Granted it might not be all you want to do, but if you make the best use of your time by tackling the most important tasks in the time you have, it will be enough.

You can always catch up when they go back to school in September, and wouldn't you rather look back on happy summer memories than think what a productive time you had working?

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