The do’s and don'ts of working from home with a toddler

PHOTO: Gallo/Getty Images
PHOTO: Gallo/Getty Images

Having to work from home with a toddler is extremely difficult. I am certain this is a challenge for most parents.  

Recently, I was so swamped with work that I had to hand over my phone to my almost-two-year-old daughter to keep her busy while I worked.

To my surprise, a notification from the bank appeared “. . . R899,99”, it said. Could it be a fraudulent transaction?

Maybe, but it was my little one who purchased a yearly subscription to one of her games! I instantly regretted not paying as much attention to her as I should’ve.

So here are some do’s and don’ts of working at home with a toddler – from a mother who learnt them the hard way.

Read more: Coronavirus lockdown a 'blessing' for parents, SA dad says

Do’s

Screen time with no buttons

No judging allowed, kids love phones. It’s the first word they learnt.

I use digital learning through YouTube Kids on the TV while I work, it’s the same content on the phone but less control.

The site has plenty of interactive learning videos for her age, flashcards and catchy learning songs have worked wonders and are beneficial.

Routine is your best friend

Fortunately, the school schedule is easier to manage at this point as she is accustomed to it. She has breakfast, screen time, snack, word books, naptime . . .

Take your office to the playroom

Working in a space that is not toddler-friendly resulted in tantrums, which meant a stressful day for everyone.

Since moving to the playroom, it was easier to get work done than obsessing over an aesthetic-filled work desk for the socials. It also helps to take them outside for a few minutes.

Involve your child

Fomo does not skip children, we all want to join in the fun, right? I keep a notepad and pencil next to me in case fomo strikes.

Read more: A parent's guide to fighting coronavirus stress

Don’t's

The guilt trip

I feel bad when I refuse to hand over my phone, but this has allowed me to have restrictions by explaining what is allowed from now on. Otherwise, who knows what she might buy next or even share.

The fridge bounty

I can never emphasise this enough to my toddler. I simply decided to pack her lunch pack with snacks she can have throughout the day.

I have seen parents with older kids opting for ice-cream containers as snack boxes, this way you can pick what they have.

Do not try to be perfect

Perfect is a myth. Ask for help should anything get overwhelming. As the days unfold, anxiety will kick in. When this happens, scroll back up to the do’s (wink).

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