10 Tips on How to Manage Your Toddler While Working From Home (with Toddler Schedule)

As more of us are settling into working from home for the long term, those of us with toddlers and pets in the house face a challenging situation. Not only do we have to perform in our professional employment, but we also have to manage the care, education, and nurturing of our little children.

There are a number of ways to manage your toddler while working from home, including being organized, practicing positive reinforcement, and developing a fool-proof schedule for your toddler while you work at home.

For many parents, working from home with a toddler provides the best of both worlds: earning that salary while spending time with young children. But there’s also no denying that it is challenging. Here are ten tips to manage your toddler while working from home.

Why is it Important to Know How to Work From Home With a Toddler?

Being a toddler is a time of exploration, learning, and development. Parenting can be a full-time job in itself. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad or work remotely part-time, understanding how to work from home with a toddler can make your life easier.

Knowing how to manage your toddler while working from home is important for your child’s development. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several developmental milestones including:

  • Showing greater independence
  • Showing defiant behavior
  • Recognizing themselves in a mirror
  • Imitating behavior
  • Forming simple sentences
  • Following simple instructions

As a parent who works from home, you can encourage these milestones through diligence, planning, and management. If you follow the tips provided in this article, you will be able to create a stable, creative and fun environment for you and your toddler.

How to Manage Your Toddler While Working From Home

Managing your toddler while working from home can be tough. At this age, they are curious about almost everything and keeping a close eye on your toddler while focusing on your work seems impossible.

Here are some tips to help make managing your toddler while working from home easier.

1. Make nap time work for you

By the time your child has grown into a toddler, it will have developed a fairly regular sleep routine, including a daily nap.

Research published in the Nature and Science of Sleep has found that for children under five years of age, daytime napping is essential for cognitive development, especially memory function.

If you can, try scheduling your most important tasks, or those that need your undivided attention, to take place during nap time. You can even organize to batch-call your clients or colleagues during this time for an uninterrupted meeting.

Pro tip: Keep nap times and duration consistent for your toddler’s regular routine.

2. Modify expectations

As a parent, you’ll need to learn to embrace flexibility, because one of the most important things for parents to understand when they have a toddler while working from home is that you will need to manage your expectations.

It is not realistic to expect that a toddler can sit and be quiet when their parent is on a 15-minute phone call.

This means that you need to develop an attitude that allows you to get your work done while catering to your toddler’s particular needs.

Try:

  • Introducing more screen-time
  • Providing rewards for good behavior
  • Investing the time in developing independent behavior in your toddler
  • Allocating one-on-one attention to your toddler regularly throughout the day.

Pro tip: You don’t have to fill your toddler’s day with 100% educational activities. You don’t need to be intellectually stimulated every minute of the day, nor does your toddler.

3. Learn to love your schedule

Some of us love to plan, while others would rather see where the activities of the day take us. Without a doubt, developing a schedule when you have a toddler and work from home is the best way to ensure that you are equipped to handle the challenges of the day and get your work done on time.

Pro tip: writing down your schedule is a great place to start and you can even use pictures or symbols to encourage your toddler to participate as well.

4. Encourage independent play

When a toddler is encouraged to play independently, they are developing their brain through social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation practices.

According to research from the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is not just a fun way to pass the time but an essential part of mental, physical, and social development.

When working from home with a toddler, independent play is a great way to have a block of time to get work done.

Pro tip: Have a pre-planned list of activities, games, and projects that will keep your toddler occupied for 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Encourage play dates

Toddlers, like their parents, thrive when they have the chance to interact with people their own age and who share their interests.

Although nothing beats a face-to-face play date at someone’s house or at the park, the convenience of digital technology means that you can schedule time for your toddler to see their friends or spend time with a grandparent over the phone or computer screen.

Pro tip: for toddlers, virtual play dates will only keep them entertained for a short time, so don’t expect it to keep them busy for long chunks of time.

6. Invest in a play space

A designated play space, where your toddler has room to crawl and walk around but cannot leave, is a great option for encouraging independent play and allowing you time to work without your toddler in the room.

You can also be assured that they are safe and secure without having to keep your eyes on them 100% of the time.

Pro tip: periodically swap out the toys and activities in the play space so that your toddler always has something new to challenge and interest them.

7. Become an early-bird

According to the Raising Children Network, toddlers need around 10-12 hours of sleep each night, as well as a nap during the day. Adults, on the other hand, require between 7 and 8 hours every night.

This means that you have time at the start and end of each day to work while your toddler sleeps.

If you’re a morning person, you can tackle the most challenging part of your workday first. Even if you’re not, you can use the time to center yourself with a workout session, do some meal preparation, or have a relaxing cup of tea or coffee.

Pro tip: if your partner also works from home, why not get in a couple of hours to work first thing in the morning while they take care of the toddler’s morning routine?

8. Organize babysitting shifts with other parents

Do you know of other toddler parents in the neighborhood who also work from home? Organizing a babysitting swap is a great way to lock in a couple of uninterrupted hours.

Not only does it give your toddler outside stimulation, but you can also develop a network of reliable friends who know what challenges you face while working from home with a toddler.

Pro tip: When you have an important work presentation or need to put in extra hours to meet a deadline, organize ahead of time for fellow toddler parents to take your little one for the day or even the whole week. You can return the favor when they need the same.

9. Practice positive reinforcement

Parenting is an art, not a science, and there will be times that you will have to discipline your child.

The best way is with positive reinforcement. Instead of punishing bad behavior, toddlers should be rewarded when they do the right thing. 

Here are some examples:

  • Giving a thumbs-up
  • Giving a hug or pat on the back
  • Giving verbal praise
  • Cheering and clapping
  • Giving a high-five
  • Doing a fun activity together like reading a book or playing a game.

10. Work smarter, not harder

You don’t have to do everything yourself to get through the day. There are a number of ways that you can make things easier for yourself, including:

Using a babysitter service

Hired help, whether full-time or for a few hours each week, enables you to dedicate time to get your work done.

Bring in cleaning help

As a parent, spending time with your children is one of the most important things that you can do to enrich your lives. Employing a cleaner every week to keep the house neat and tidy will give you a few extra precious hours.

Schedule a meal-service

Meal preparation can take a large chunk of time. While a meal service provides your family with dinner, you can also invest in time-saving kitchen appliances and dedicate time to meal preparation to save time in the long term.

Share the load

If you and your partner both work from home, share the parenting duties. A great way is with a toddler schedule like this one: 

Schedule for Toddler While Working From Home

When you are working from home with your toddler, there are a few things to keep in mind. One is to make sure your work schedule fits within their routine, and another is to be mindful of how long you’re working.

Your toddler’s sleep schedule is also important to consider; if you work late into the night, they may not get enough sleep. Setting up a schedule can help you to juggle between your work and managing your toddler.

Here is an example of a schedule for a toddler while both parents do not have a babysitter and are working from home.

TimeParent 1 (Mom/Dad)Parent 2 (Mom/Dad)
6 am to 9 amUninterrupted workSelf-care + meal and clothes preparation + providing breakfast + getting toddler ready for the day
9 am to 10 amTime with toddlerUninterrupted work
10 am to 12 noonShared parentingShared parenting
12 noon to 12.30 pmProviding lunch for toddlerUninterrupted work
12:30 pm to 2.30 pmUninterrupted work while toddler napsUninterrupted work while toddler naps
2:30pm to 4:30pmTime with toddler + self-careUninterrupted work
4:30 pm to 6 pmFamily time with the toddlerFamily time with the toddler
6 pm to 7 pmFamily dinnerFamily dinner
7 pm to 8 pmToddler to bed or work as neededToddler to bed or work as needed
8 pm to BedtimeWork as needed or relaxationWork as needed or relaxation
Schedule for Toddler While Working From Home

Creating a schedule is probably one of the best ways to structure your workday, this helps you to become more productive.

Pro tip: the best way to get work done is to do it when your toddler is occupied. It doesn’t matter whether they’re asleep, out of the house, or at daycare. Get as much work done during these moments.

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