Working at Home With Kids During the Coronavirus Pandemic (15 Tips That Don’t Involve Video Games or TV)

By Mar 18, 2020 0

You’re here because you want to know how to keep your sanity working in a house full of kids, right?

And you’re feeling guilty (but tempted) at the thought of plopping them in front of Spongebob all day, giving them a tablet dialed into YouTube, or loading up the Nintendo Switch with Mario Odyssey.

Because we all know once you disrupt a child’s routine it’s so 👏 much 👏harder 👏 getting them back to the good, habitual kids you’ve worked so hard into molding. And the coronavirus will have you and the kiddos in the same four walls with no clear end in a chaotic environment where we’re all worried about our health, our jobs, and how to maintain normalcy and educational standards with the little ones.

Here’s the thing.

Team Aptly has been working remotely since our company got started. And most of us have kids on our laps already while we code, while we write, while we collaborate. The stay-at-home-working-moms-and-dads of Aptly share remote work pro-tips that might help keep your kids away from the screens so you can, ahem, focus more on yours. 

Jon Oien – Senior Software Engineer and dad of 2:

Pro Tip # 3: Obstacle course games are pretty great for rainy days & burning off energy. I have this one and it gets the kids sprinting around the house for a good 30-45 minutes.

Sina Shekou – CEO and dad of 2:

Pro Tip #4: Make a ridiculously detail-oriented schedule. And follow it. See the life of the Shekou kids above.

Pro Tip # 5: Enroll your kids in Khan Academy. It’s a free video-based learning website custom for each grade level. 

Clare Bates – Customer Success Manager and mom of 2:

Pro Tip #6: Daycare co-ops. Since schools are closed, find a few close friends with kids and work together. Have the kids play together while you work and also rotate child care.  

Pro Tip #7: Move the kids bath time to working hours and encourage a long, bubble-filled playtime while you work close by. 

Pro Tip # 8: Bring back the nap! Use your lunch break to tire the kids out at the park or outside and get their wiggles out before tucking them in for a couple hours providing mid-day focus.

Pro Tip #9: If your boss allows some autonomy in your schedule, consider becoming an early bird or night owl and prioritize your most mission-critical work that requires focus at the bookends of the day while the kids are sleeping.

Adam Silverthrone – CTO and dad of 3:

Pro Tip #10: Plan unstructured free time and let kids get bored without their electronics. Boredom is oftentimes the catalyst for creative ideas and imaginative play.

Christina Klopp – Head of Product and mom of 2:

Pro Tip # 11: More puzzles and board games! Mousetrap anyone?

Pro Tip # 12: Cooking entertains my kids for hours. Finding kid-safe recipes and having them make cookies or muffins has kept them quiet today.

Pro Tip #13: Try a fort building kit like this one.

“Magic” Greg Horion- Architect and dad of 2:


Pro Tip #14: Greg does 3 hours of push-ups and 6 hours of abs a day. We’re not quite sure how this helps his kids — or you for that matter — but this guy engineered the tech Aptly is built on with a baby on his lap (when he’s not doing crunches, of course) so he’s doing something right.

Maybe the takeaway here is self-care.

From all of us at Aptly

We’re all in the same boat and we try to navigate together. We all “get it”.  As a remote community of parents we have — and always will — collectively abide by the number 1, overarching, remote working with kids rule:

Pro Tip #15: Holding the puke bucket for a sick kid gets you a few hours away from work. Come back to your tasks later and lean on your team to help you. Their kids will get sick too, and the favor will soon be returned.

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