Ever since my daughter was born a year and a half ago, I’ve had to master the art of working from home. Thanks to our country’s non-existent access to affordable childcare, I was put in a position where I had to quit my job to stay home with my daughter, but still had to bring in some form of income because my husband’s salary isn’t really enough to support us. When I tell people what I do, the reaction is usually something about how I’m so lucky to be able to work from home. But most days I don’t feel lucky, and this is a situation born out of necessity., But working from home — with your child nearby without losing your mind is harder than it seems.

Have you ever tried to work with a toddler sitting on your computer? Or with a child who likes to close your laptop while you’re typing? What about trying to write while Veggie Tales plays in the background? Every day is a constant battle between giving my child the attention that she needs and deserves, and trying to get enough work done to make money for our family. Luckily, the longer I do this, the better I get at it. Here are some hacks for working from home with a kid (and maintaining some level of sanity) that I’ve found to be incredibly helpful.

1. Bribe Them With Snacks

Goldfish works incredibly well in our house. I can strap her into her high chair or booster seat and give her some a handful of fish, and she’ll be content for at least seven minutes.

2. Wear Headphones

Headphones block out whining, repetitive questions, and loud crashes. But don’t crank the volume to max, or you won’t be able to hear your child when they actually need you.

3. Find TV Shows They Like

Judge me if you want, but sometimes this is the only way to get any work done. In our house we’re fans of Little Einsteins, Doc McStuffins, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Use this as a chance for your child to get in some educational screen time.

4. Take Breaks

You can’t ignore or distract your kid all day, so breaks are essential for both you and your kid. Take a walk around the block, read them a few books, or play a game with eachother. Breaks will satisfy your kid and refresh your brain a bit.

5. Set Realistic Goals

Set work goals that are achievable and realistic with the circumstances you have facing you. Is your kid sick and clingy? Put less on your plate that day. If it’s helpful or possible, being honest with your boss about what you’re facing for the day may alleviate some pressure from the higher ups.

6. Use Nap Time As Crunch Time

My daughter naps for about two hours every afternoon and that’s what I consider crunch time. I save any phone calls, interviews, or serious writing for that time of day and make the best use of it that I can.

7. Maybe Don’t

When all else fails, give up. Seriously, working from home with a toddler is one of the hardest things in the world. Major credit to everyone who does it.

Images: Courtesy of gracefamily/Flickr; Giphy (7)