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Home office with family and children – the best tips

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 365 views

More and more people have the opportunity to work from home. If you add household and childcare to your home office, working at your desk at home becomes a real challenge. The younger the offspring, the more difficult the dual role seems. Read the best tips here on how to reconcile working from home with children and family.

Modern technology is making it possible for more and more employees to do at least part of their work from home. This often has a positive effect on the work-life balance, since working from home supports extra-occupational activities such as childcare or care: Employees are generally flexible, save commuting times and if kindergarten, school or after-school care centers close earlier, this is no longer a problem.

However, it is not always so easy to manage the balancing act between home office, household and childcare – especially when the offspring is at home and wants to be employed at the same time. To make it work for the whole family, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Spatial delimitation: Set up space for the home office

In order to work as undisturbed as possible, you need a permanent workplace. If you can, set up a room accordingly. There you simply close the door during your lunch break or after work.

If you don’t have a room, take a look around your apartment: do you have a niche in the living room or bedroom that can be converted? Tip: The table in the dining room is less suitable as a workplace, since you usually have to clear away your work materials during the lunch break and in the evening and then set them up again. Also, most dining tables are in the focal point of spaces accessible to all family members: distractions are more likely here.

For a workplace you need at least a table, a comfortable chair and a reliable internet connection. The laptop or computer is usually provided by the employer.

Flexible daily planning

In order for the home office to work with children, a structure is important. Who gets up when and does which tasks? Draw up an approximate daily schedule in which you determine which family member is responsible for what.

When are the children scheduled for learning and creative times and when are they not allowed to interrupt you at work – for example at a meeting. Discuss this with your partner or a childcare provider at an early stage.

As important as structure is, don’t try to tick off planned items like you would on a to-do list. Be flexible and leave room for exceptions. Sometimes you are forced to deviate from certain principles: just pasta with tomato sauce for lunch or a slightly longer TV time than previously agreed – in these cases, do not be too strict with yourself.

plan meals

In addition to home office and childcare, most employees take care of meal planning and preparation – especially if there are children living in the household who are not yet able to help.

Plan out which meals you want to prepare and then buy the groceries at a big weekly grocery store. During your lunch break, choose dishes that are as simple as possible and save the complex cooking skills for the end of the day or the weekend.

Another option: prepare food for the next day in the evening so that you only heat up the food during the precious lunchtime and only prepare small things like a salad. Then there is still time for a walk together, for example.

Take breaks consciously

Clearly defined working hours also include clearly defined breaks. Ultimately, they are what the work-life balance is all about: Working from home gives you time with your family that you would normally spend in the coffee kitchen or in the canteen with colleagues.

Talk to your family about possible breaks together and that you should only be disturbed outside of these times in emergencies. Open the door at the agreed time or approach your children and other family members yourself.

You can read more about this in the article “ Using breaks correctly ”.

employ children at home

Illness, daycare closures or holidays: the days at home with the kids are challenging. Because most children are used to having a fixed program well into the afternoon, which in such cases is partly or completely omitted. The changeover is a challenge and suddenly having to keep yourself busy for hours is difficult for one or the other.

In this case, prepare a repertoire of employment opportunities. This keeps your child busy when they have finished their homework or none are due.

Apps and digital learning opportunities

For example, if you have a tablet, PC or smartphone that you can leave with your child for a few hours, try out apps and digital learning opportunities for the offspring.

Online you can find numerous applications for children of different ages. Learning platforms also promote cognitive skills in a playful way. There are also audio books and games for children on streaming services. Child-friendly app games are also perfectly fine every now and then. Think in advance which games are suitable for your child and set a fixed time that the offspring can spend with them every day.

Check the settings of the devices used beforehand: It is often possible that apps that are unsuitable for children can only be opened with a code. Also, block websites with adult content.

Movement inside & outside

Children need exercise. If they spend a long time at home, there is a high risk that they will become restless. Prevent them by giving them enough exercise. Examples are:

  • jogging or cycling
  • Play hide and seek
  • Build caves (from mattresses, blankets and pillows)
  • ball games
  • Set up and run through the obstacle course
  • trampoline jumping (if available)
  • play in the forest or on the playground

Projects for the whole family

It is particularly exciting for the children when the whole family is working on a project. The lunch break is often not enough for this, it is best to use the end of the day or the weekend for this.

Such projects promote a sense of togetherness and keep the youngsters busy. Examples of such projects are:

  • Make dough yourself
  • Collect and paint stones
  • Bake cakes, bread or waffles
  • watch family movies
  • Upcycling of smaller objects
  • Create photo albums

Include children in the household

Especially if the children are already of school age, it makes perfect sense to hand over responsibility for smaller household chores to them. Sorting the laundry, setting the table or wiping the dust are ideal. Your child may also have a special interest in helping with the cooking.

organize childcare

If your children are still young and cannot keep themselves busy, you will need childcare support to work from home. Finally, young children should be supervised.

In these cases, get help from grandparents, family or friends, for example. The easiest way is professional childcare – for example with a childminder, a crèche, in kindergarten or in emergency care.


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