Coronavirus has caused a lot of people to have to work from home; a problem made even more difficult if they have children. Though it may seem terrifying to balance being a parent and taking conference calls, it is definitely possible. It may take a few tries to find out what works best for you, but there is no right way to handle this “new normal.”

Create A Home Office

When you run a business from home, the first step is to separate your parental role and your businesswoman role. A home office is the best way to separate these roles, both mentally and physically. When you are in your office, you’ll be able to take a break from the rest of your house and focus solely on your to-do list. If you are not in your designated office, you will most likely look around and want to do tasks that have nothing to do with work.

Talk to Your Kids

An entrepreneur and her daughter taking a selfie
An entrepreneur and her daughter taking a selfie

If they are old enough to understand, tell them that you have to work without too many interruptions. You can tell them that they are part of a team, and their goal is to help you remain productive or that you will have pizza night if they listen to you.

Snacks and Activity Stations

A mompreneur who runs a business from home came up with the idea to prepare snack kits and activity stations. Whether it’s a play-doh and cookie-cutter station or a macaroni art station, it will keep your kids occupied while you get your work done.

Create A Schedule

A to-do list on top of a laptop covered in toys
A to-do list on top of a laptop covered in toys

Each day, create a schedule so you know what time you will take calls, what exactly you need to get done that day, and what work you can get done when your children are doing homework. Schedule lunchtime and a dance party so it creates a bit of structure for your kids as well; they’ll burn some energy and have fun. You can also print out assignments or games to put in a folder and give to your children to complete each day.

Do What Works Best for You

An entrepreneur working on her laptop with her kids in the other room
An entrepreneur working on her laptop with her kids in the other room

Whether that’s waking up before the kids to work or not working eight consecutive hours, it is best to do what works for you. It may not be the same schedule as you used to have and you may not prefer it, but you have to find a way to make this easier on you.

Flexibility

If you’re a mompreneur and you run a business from home, you have a bit of flexibility. If one or more of your children are particularly fussy during your business hours, put your work on hold so you can go for a walk with them, or play outside. When you arrive back home, your children will have less energy, and you can focus on completing your tasks.

Capitalize on Quiet Time

Take advantage of the time when your children are napping, watching tv, or doing schoolwork. You can be your most productive when your children do not need your attention.

Entertain Your Children

A mom and a child on a walk
A mom and a child on a walk

Give your children toys to play with or plan special movie viewings during your work time. If they are distracted, they will be less likely to interrupt you. To take it further, you can create a special area for your kids to play while you work on your projects.

There Will be Interruptions

Know that this new way of working is not going to be perfect. You may be on a conference call when your child interrupts it by yelling your name from the other room. Hit the mute button and remember to tell your kids you need the house to be silent when you take important calls. You can signal that you cannot be disturbed by tying a ribbon to your door or closing it. You can also put on a timer, so your children know not to disturb you until the timer goes off. You can do an activity with them when it rings.

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

An entrepreneur and her child on a bike ride
An entrepreneur and her child on a bike ride

It is not easy to be a mompreneur and work from home with kids, so cut yourself some slack. Try not to criticize yourself or your kids too much during these unprecedented times. This is temporary, and you are doing the best you can (and that is enough).

Seek Additional Help

If it is too much for you to work from home with kids, hire help. A nanny can come by for a few hours a day and keep your kids occupied, fed, and taken care of while you focus on your job.

Are you working from home while taking care of kids? Do you have any tips on balancing work and parenting? Let us know in the comments!

This article originally published on GREY Journal.