Welcome to the moment where we truly appreciate our children’s teachers.

Hopefully, many of you already valued our local teachers. The last few weeks have probably stirred up some extra gratitude. Your children are now learning remotely and you are also working from home. You have to be on a conference call at 8 and rush to the other room to help your 4th grader get on a Zoom call at 9. This is what the Spring of 2020 is going to look like.

Hang in there. Although my scenario isn’t 100% the same, I have been trying to get work done at home with children bouncing around for several years. Let me share with you some ways I stay sane while working from with kids.

Age of the Child Matters

I have been fortunate enough to have worked with ages 1 day to 13 years under my belt. There are levels of difficulty with every age. Obviously your job will be different than mine, but we all are trying to get stuff done. Working from home with kids really depends on how many kids and how old they are.


Miles Hersey Napping as a Newborn

Are they even there? Besides feeding and changing, you can carry on as normal. I utilized a bassinet, a swing, and a blanket on the floor. Laptops are helpful and just set up shop where you can always see your baby with one eye.

Crawling, Walking Toddlers

Short answer – find a babysitter. This was the most impossible age for me. When my son hit 8-months, I just gave up. If I didn’t have a babysitter, I wasn’t getting work done. Now, that’s not an option for everyone so my suggestions are:

Wake up early

My children went to bed a bit later than your average babies. This means they also slept in a little longer. Waking up at 5 or 6 in the morning can give you that much needed quiet time to work on the computer. This is good for catching up with emails and/or project work.

Take advantage of naps

Nap time for dogs and Miles Hersey

Use nap time just like you would if you wake up early. This is also a possible time for meetings (if the other person is flexible). My children fell asleep around the same time each day. Sometimes I would use the car and drive down the road and back to help get the nap started.

Create a safe-room

Safe Room for Toddler Miles Hersey

The main issue with having a toddler is keeping your eye on them so they don’t get hurt. I managed to take one of our rooms and eliminated most dangers. The dressers were bolted to walls. There was no glass, breakable items. I made sure this room was baby-proof. I closed the door, gave him some toys, and started to work on my phone/laptop.

Catch up on training videos or educational podcasts

I found myself catching up on some training videos when I couldn’t get anything else accomplished. Sometimes my son just wanted to sit with me or play. Sometimes we would sit in the chair and I would watch some online courses (Lynda.com) on my Apple TV. There are hundreds of web and marketing videos, but also lots of courses on management and business tools. If he wanted to play, I would throw on some earphones and listen to a podcast while we played. I might not be doing my ‘job’ but I was still doing some ‘work’.

Communication Age

Once they start communicating you can bypass the complete need for a babysitter. Although I still prefer having a helper, you can get a lot more work done with the help of Play-Doh, Duplo blocks, and the occasional screen time.

Play Doh with Miles Hersey helps me while I am working from home with kids.

You can still take advantage of nap time and the safe-room, but most of the time you can reason with your child and get some work done by setting some expectations. I prefer to be in the same room with them, but if they want to be in the living room watching Mickey Mouse and you are in the kitchen – it can work.

If you are gutsy, you can have conference calls and Zoom meetings. You might get that 15-minutes of silence or you might have a friend yelling for ‘nun-nums’. My clients know I have a little one so they tend not to care if they hear 3-year-old barking orders in the background. I probably would want a babysitter for first impression calls and conversations.

Preschool and Pre-reading Age

Okay, I have to dig deep into my memory vault for this one. My son Miles is 3 now. I started watching my daughter Lainee when she was 4. I didn’t have a 40-hour job with Lainee, plus she was way more chill of a baby than my little terror Miles.

We graduated from bricks and blocks to crayons and crafts. My daughter was all about coloring, eating some snacks, and playing with toys. At this point, I could get some serious ‘thinking’ work done. I wasn’t quite ready to leave her alone without supervision, but I also didn’t have to go check on her every 15-minutes. I probably wouldn’t give her paint, but I would set her up to play and hammer out work until she needed help with something else.

Lainee and Hunter Hersey doing crafts while I am working from home with kids.

Naps stopped coming, but I also could easily put on a movie and get that same hour of peace. You can pretty much get your child into a routine and schedule your workday around your routine. I can’t say I have experience in how the preschool – homeschooling works, but I imagine you replace some of your set routines and playtime with school projects and it’s similar. I would just leave some time in your day to help with instructions to get them started with schoolwork.

Elementary School

You made it! You finally have an age where you can send them outside to play and make them check-in with you. Every situation and parent are different. My wife would make sure she had an eye on them at all times and I just make sure they respond when I yell from a distance. This is when I actually get to work from my office.

Lainee Hersey at school but is now working from home with kids.

This is also when you might need to be more hands-on with school. They are smart enough to use a computer but might not be ready to fully figure it out on their own. My daughter can read her assignments but didn’t quite know where to go to send an email. They also need a little help from the parents for studying.

Middle School

This is where my journey stops. I don’t yet have a high schooler but I can’t imagine it’s much different. My middle school (junior high) student does his own thing. I’m lucky if he comes out of his room. The only struggle I have is fighting with him for internet bandwidth.

Hunter Hersey at The Linsly School but is now remote working from home

My son is independent enough to make his own breakfast and lunch. I might have to check-in with his schoolwork every few days to make sure he is completing the assignments, but ultimately you can work from home without worrying about babysitting. If anything, get yourself an app for your phone to monitor their screen time and mobile activity.

Sharing the Space

We are fortunate enough to have enough living space to have everyone working from home in their own nooks. My kids have their own computers and own rooms. Life might be more difficult if we were sharing a space and sharing a monitor. If life were different, I would suggest the following:


It’s a lot easier to concentrate with a quality pair of headphones. Your daughter might be chatting with her teacher and you are trying to draft an email. Some headphones and some music might help you drown out all other noise.

Schedule Ahead

Calendar planning for Working from Home with Kids

Use that calendar and schedule out your week. My wife has a conference call each morning, an hour later my daughter does a Zoom call, my son then has to talk with his teacher, and I have to make a call at noon. If I didn’t know ahead of time, I might have scheduled my call during one of my kids must-have calls. Not to mention the hassle if we were sharing a computer.

Take a Walk or Enjoy the Porch

Lainee Hersey outside on porch while Working from Home with Kids

Even with everyone having their own room, I find myself feeling cramped. Since we are not trying to social gather, I just take a walk or sit on my porch. Sometimes you just want some space.


Just because you aren’t required to attend school Zoom sessions doesn’t mean you can’t listen in. I find myself learning new things each day by helping the kids with assignments. Lend a hand and make it a team project (when applicable). Sometimes it’s easier to tolerate and help with items you are invested in.

Stay Patient and Stay Sane

It’s probably not easy for any of us. The kids would like to see their friends and their teachers. Our boss might want us to more available. We all want to do our best, but we have to work within the restraints we are given.

There have been many days and weeks that I wish I got more accomplished. Trying to hand-code websites with a 2-year-old running around was not easy. I wanted to pull my hair out. But, I realized that I needed to shift my schedule slightly and move that task to a bit later in the day. Instead, we would sit and watch some cartoons. This shift was difficult for me to adjust to, but when I finally accepted that it was necessary, I calmed down and relaxed.

We all will have to adjust and shift our routine. Working from home with kids is not easy but can be done effectively. Communicate and work together. Things can get messy – so make sure you take lots of pictures.

  • Hunter with cheerios
  • Miles making a mess with noodles
  • Hunter drawing on himself
  • Lainee drawing on her face
  • Miles with Pudding
  • Hunter making mess with coffee
  • Miles with Count Chocula
  • Hunter with paper towels
  • Lainee with makeup mess
  • Hunter with marshmellows
  • Hunter with hand lotion