WFH tips

8 Effective Work from Home Tips for Parents [From Other Parents!]

Recent changes to our day-to-day lives are leaving many parents with the monumental task of working and taking care of their children at home. 

And although we’re starting to adjust, things don’t seem to be getting much easier. Parents are working hard to find a balance, but many are becoming more overwhelmed and starting to experience burnout

We wanted to help you bring some normalcy to your new routine. So we reached out to our Prodigy team — employees, advocates and parents  — for their advice on how to work from home with kids in the house.

Check out the work from home tips below!

P.S. We asked each parent for the ages of their children — out of the following groups: 0-3 (baby/toddler), 4-6 (kid), 7-10 (big kid), 11-13 (tween) and 14-17 (teen) — so you can find the advice that best applies to your situation. 

1. Try to stick to a daily schedule

“We eat our meals together, then everybody works on schoolwork or their jobs at the same time. We take breaks in between. 

When we’re done at the end of the day, we make dinner and eat together as a family. Then we spend a little family time watching a show or playing a game.

Bedtime is at the same time every night and we get up and start our next day the same way.”

Jennifer H.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 11-13; 14-17

“Schedule Prodigy for the same time every day!”

Kristina V.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 7-10

“A schedule of meeting times for my husband, myself, and my child helps us avoid conflicts. It also lets us make sure we aren’t overscheduled.

I put in break times for reading, board games, snacks, and calls to family and friends. It makes a full schedule seem more fun than daunting.”

Casey C.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3; 4-6

“We created an hourly schedule from 8am-2pm. Each hour has a different theme or activity that doesn’t need a lot of supervision. The kids choose their activities from a list.

At noon, we eat lunch together. Then 2pm onward is free time.

They also play a lot of Prodigy!”

Justin K.
Prodigy employee
Kids’ age groups: 4-6; 7-10

“My kids know we have breakfast at 8:15. Chores are 8:45-9:30. School from 9:30-11:15. Lunch/recess from 11:15-12:30, then more school from 12:30-2.

I’ve used Prodigy with my oldest as a reward when everything else is completed. She works harder and wastes less time because she wants to play Prodigy.”

Laura B.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3; 4-6; 11-13

“Set just one or two goals for the day. As long as you get that one thing done, everything extra feels like a bonus accomplishment and if you don’t get the rest done, at least you did that one thing!”

Alexandria F.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3; 4-6

“I am a parent and a teacher. To keep my children and students actively engaged, I schedule Prodigy times. This way, everyone can battle one another while still working at their own level.

And as an added bonus, my children love battling my students and using the programmed chat features!”

Dana S.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 4-6; 7-10
Prodigy's weekly Learn From Home calendar to help you schedule your week with your child.
Tip: Try our weekly activity calendar to keep your child on a schedule throughout the week.

2. Take advantage of your child’s sleep schedule

“I get the most work done during nap time. Most days I just work during nap time and we spend the rest of the time doing different activities to keep her learning.”

Monica G.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3

“As exhausted as I am, when they sleep, I work! It’s the most productive time I have.”

Crystal M.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3

“I don’t sleep in, but I let my kids! This gives me a few extra hours to work while they sleep. I stop my work around 2pm, so I can play with them or help them with schoolwork.”

Jennifer K.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 4-7; 7-10

3. Find new ways to occupy your child during the day

“Here are some things we’ve been doing:

Building forts. It’s a good spot to have some quiet time. 

Apps like Teach Your Monster to Read and Phonics.

Crafts like playdough, painting or coloring — things that require little supervision and keep him entertained for a while.

Playing in the backyard. I can sit and watch him play while I work. 

Chores. My son actually enjoys pushing the crumbs into a pile and vacuuming them up. It’s become a competition to see how big of a pile he can make! 

Photography. We give him a list of things to find and take pictures of on the iPad. He’s getting pretty good at it!

Lauren K.
Prodigy employee
Kids’ age groups: 4-6
Daily activities list for child.
Prodigy parent, Mariah L.H. uses this chart daily, letting her kids choose the activities to try and earn 30 points each day!

“I’ve found having different stations set up helps so my daughter can bounce between them — similar to a kindergarten classroom.

I have a bunch of buckets, each with an activity. They might be crafts, kinetic sand, playdough or other toys like marble tracks.

I also keep a to-do list of everything she needs to do, even little things like brush your hair and get dressed. Then if she gets stuck, she can set it aside, move to something else and we can work on it together later.

Of course, iPad and video games also help when there’s no headspace for anything else.”

Sarah-Jayne L.
Prodigy employee
Kids’ age groups: 7-10

“I give my daughter a cell phone to communicate with her classmates while I teach my 4th grade students.”

Simone M.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 11-13
One Prodigy parent kept her child engaged during the day with a Prodigy character drawing contest!

“Allow screen time they may not have gotten before. This often gives you time to finish a Zoom meeting without your little helpers.”

Arianna R.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3; 7-10

“I try to have my 4 year old daughter play with toys while I work and my son completes his school work. When she’s looking for something new to do, I let her watch educational videos on Youtube Kids. My son gets breaks in between different lessons.”

Salvina C.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 4-6; 11-13

“I have to balance keeping my kids occupied with online meetings and preparing lessons. I do this by giving one of them her schoolwork and the other jobs or tasks to complete at the same time.”

Elizabeth M.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3; 4-6

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4. Let your child “work” with you

“We gave our daughter an old non-working laptop. She ‘works’ while we work. We also take breaks together so she still gets our attention.”

Megan D.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 4-6

“I found an old laptop and I have my child type in sight words and play some Prodigy while I’m teaching.”

Brooke D.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 4-6
Prodigy employee, Chris L. set up a desk beside his, so his toddler could ‘work’ with him!

“I set times for my work and stick to them. While I work, my child typically eats and then does her ‘homework’ — file folder games, puzzles, etc.”

Katelyn K.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3

5. Be flexible — take breaks and spend time together

“I’m always surprised how quickly the kids adapt as long as we spend some time with them. One thing I stick to is getting out of the house for 30 minutes twice a day, and another walk after 5pm.”

Anca E.
Prodigy employee
Kids’ age groups: 4-6; 7-10

I try to alternate between working, helping the kids with school, and just playing together throughout the day. It’s given us a bit of a schedule and helps my kids not feel neglected all day.

I’ve also given the kids a little TV time when I’m on important Zoom calls, and we have lots of play time outside when the weather is nice.”

Laney P.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 4-6

“I’m doing small chunks of things, then stopping to check in with my child. Frequent check-ins seem to help the most.”

Heather F.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 11-13

“Set a time to spend with your family, doing something new or fun.

Try something that’s available online, like a virtual field trip or even a virtual ride at a famous amusement park. Flip through your old photos and have a laugh at the poses that you and your kids made.

And pajama bottoms are always the best idea!”

Lesley Pike
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 11-13

“If your child is overwhelmed with school work, give them time to step away from it. If you are overwhelmed, go play with your children and live in the moment.

Try to make memories with your kids! Hopefully when our kids look back on this time, they won’t think about what they missed out on, but what they gained.”

Amber A.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3; 4-6; 7-10

“I work in the toy room while they play or while my oldest works on her school work. We all take brain breaks and get our work done by lunch time.

It’s great for us to have a goal to work towards. If work is done by lunch, we get to have fun all afternoon!”

Katie W.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3; 7-10

“Take breaks every 20-30 minutes to give your kids some attention.

Give them a hug, sing a song with them, put on their favorite song and dance, help them write their name.

Or color a different part of a picture each time you take a break and at the end of the day, you’ll have a masterpiece!”

Taylor W.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3; 4-6

6. Set up a designated “work space”

“My office is in a completely different part of the house. My husband watches the littles while I work completely away from them.”

Haven H.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3

“Create a separate space for learning and working! We made the dining room the new ‘office/school’ and go to different parts of the house when we aren’t working.

It doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been in the house all day when the view changes for ‘after work’ hours.”

Christy B.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 7-10; 14-17

“Set up a separate place, away from TV and other distractions. And leave phones in a different place! If you like white noise, play some low, upbeat music in the background to keep you focused.”

Stacey
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 14-17

7. Come prepared

“My best practices are to wear a shield to protect me from Nerf darts and stay on mute as much as possible when in meetings. Both have been lifesavers.” 

Edward W.
Prodigy employee
Kids’ age groups: 7-10

“We make use of the Zoom app on our phones, plus wireless headphones when we need to run around chasing the kid. Oh, and coffee is good too!”

Michael M.
Prodigy employee
Kids’ age groups: 0-3

“Use a WiFi hub, so you can easily monitor internet usage and set reasonable time limits.” 

Byron G. 
Prodigy employee
Kids’ age groups: 7-10; 11-13

8. Most importantly, take care of yourself and your kids

“I think lowering your expectations is key. Don’t try to do it all or expect too much from yourself, your kid or your colleagues. Everyone is trying their best. Be kind.” 

Cara Y.
Prodigy employee
Kids’ age groups: 4-6; 7-10

“Once a week, I Google Meet with colleagues to share a beverage and decompress — to marvel at the lunacy that is now our day to day!”

Bob C.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3; 4-6

“The day I lowered my expectations of myself was the day I started embracing this and feeling good. As long as my daughter is fed, healthy and happy, I’m doing my job.” 

Sarah
Prodigy employee
Kids’ age groups: 4-6

“I always feel more productive when I make myself feel a little more ‘put together’ — get dressed, put on a necklace or earrings, etc. Also, find time for yourself during the day to relax and take a break.”

Stephanie C.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 0-3

“Turn it off. Find a time that works for you, and unplug to spend time with your family.”

Brad W.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 7-10; 10-13

“Find a balance and don’t compare yourself to other parents. I print a weekly schedule and we get through what we can. We don’t overdo it and we take breaks as needed! Just take care of yourself and make sure your kids feel safe and happy.”

Jessica H.
Prodigy Advocate
Kids’ age groups: 4-7; 7-10

How do you balance working from home with your children in the house? Let us know in the comments below!

Laney Kennedy

Laney is a Content Writer at Prodigy. She's passionate about education, literature, and looking at pictures of corgis on the internet!

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