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Expert advice on setting boundaries with your kids, and your boss

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dad and kids on sofa

Expert tips for working from home with kids

Juggling work and family in regular life is one thing – working from home with children is a whole different ballgame. And it might feel even more challenging at the moment, with everything going on around the world. So, we teamed up with our partners Dad Central to ask fatherhood expert Dr. Greg Fabiano for his advice. How can Dads make working from home with toddlers or babies more manageable, especially now?

Caring for you and your family

This is a strange time for everyone, and a unique situation for your family to be inside together. If you feel stressed or frustrated, just remember other Dads feel the same and there are things you can do to help. Kids notice change – in routine, family or stress levels. The most important thing for them to know, is that they’re safe and it's fine to keep on being a kid. To help relieve stress, try:

  • Meditating alone and with your children – you’ll both learn something about dealing with stress 
  • Keeping active – your physical health is a direct and positive correlation to good mental health
  • Having positive and open communication with your kids – whether you’re talking about difficult times in your lives or in the world – help them understand the situation. Make positive remarks on what you or world leaders are doing at the time to help keep them safe and healthy, and what responsibility they can take on to work as a team

 

Balancing work and family

Finding balance between family and professional life needs communication and boundaries on both sides.

Work

  • Be honest – explain to your boss or colleagues what it means to work from home with kids. Manage their expectations and explain how you’ll make it work. There might be flexible working or parenting support available, now’s the time to ask
  • Be a present Dad – ask to work flexible hours or request a later deadline for working at home. With a toddler, care comes first

Family

  • Set boundaries – establish rules for your workspace and what your expectations are; like when they can interrupt or when you're not available. Also stick to your established work hours to define your family/work life balance. Step away from work when you say you will
  • Establish (and stick to) a routine – make it clear to everyone what happens, and when – this could mean dedicated worktime, quiet time, and play time for both you and your kids. Put dates with your kids in your work calendar too
  • Step back – plan activities that don’t involve you. Your kid can do things like online learning or games, watching TV or movies, reading or writing stories, virtual playdates, or creating a new dance without you there (you can watch the finished choreography after work)

 

Key tips for balancing work life and family life

  • Be your kid’s no1 fan – be liberal with praise and compliments, and mention exactly what it was that you liked about their behaviour
  • Choose your battles – ignore minor or annoying behaviour, make sure family rules are being respected
  • Start positive – set your day off right with a morning routine, start with cooking and prepping the breakfast table together
  • Create new rituals – give your kids something to look forward to. This could be stopping everything you’re doing and having a dance party at 10am every morning – yes, every morning
  • Bring sport inside – activities like throwing a ball in the laundry basket from different parts of the room are bonding
  • Rethink the everyday – use everyday household items in crafts. Paper towel rolls make great hockey sticks or telescopes 
  • Read together – there’s lots out there at the moment for families to enjoy. Find authors doing interactive readings online while watch and listen together.
  • Think outside the box – be innovative and resourceful to keep your kids engaged. Try cooking together while learning about nutrition and math, or do a science experiment using ingredients in your kitchen