Skip to main content

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 

This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain flexible to my needs, but also the developmental needs of my children. Maria Montessori proposed that 3 hours was actually the perfect amount of time for children to spend in a work cycle. They need long chunks of time to get deeply into work and move through their days. Taking influence from that, I think of my own days in those blocks of time. I thought I would share what we do here to schedule our days and how that looks for my job. 

During these blocks, I'm flexible about what has to happen. I just need to make sure the things I have to get done, get done. You can find some sample activity ideas in the image below. I generally pick a few to get done during those work cycles depending on the day and how my kids are feeling. If I'm super prepared I will have a plan for the week - but that's not often 😅 

Now, I fully understand that this schedule won't work for every work situation. I know that my job is extra flexible, but during these difficult and uncharted times I think having examples of what works can be helpful. Here's a look at what we do. 

Early Morning - Getting Ready (6:00 a - 9:00 a)

Now, I didn't include it here but when I'm busy, I will get up earlier to work (usually between 4 and 5). But I consider 6 to be the time when I absolutely have to start my day. This time of day is for getting myself ready and do some work. I try to make breakfast as independent for the kids as possible - prepping the night before if needed. This gives me time for starting work, checking into what I need to get done and crossing off anything I can accomplish during that time. By 9, I want everyone up, dressed, fed, and clean.

Work Cycle 1 (9:00 a - 12:00 p) 

This time is for connection! This is when I put work aside as much as possible and try to engage with the kids. This is when we will do work together, when I'll pull out new projects, sensory experiences, movement, or practical life work together. This is when we will bake. I still check in with work, but try to focus as much on the kids as possible. When they get engaged in something, I can work too. 

Rest Time (12:00 p - 3:00 p) 

During this time it's time for the kids to rest and for me to focus on work. This isn't a time for housework, or entertainment. This is when I set up audiobooks, or put kids down to nap or enforce quiet time. We don't do screens, but this would be when I would most likely use them. Once the kids are settled, I get to work. I don't feel guilty about anything else happening, just try to zone in and get stuff done. This is when I schedule any important phone calls, emails or work I need to get done while others are awake. 

Work Cycle 2 (3:00 p - 6:00 p) 

This work cycle is when the kids are up and around and I'm with them but not focused on entertaining or presenting something new. This is when I'm most likely to take work outside while the kids run around, or play with open ended toys. I still work during this time as much as possible and don't feel guilty if I can't immediately engage with everything the kids are doing. This is not a time for me to get out messy sensory play, try to introduce something new, or work with the kids in the kitchen (outside dinner prep.) I work as late as I can before starting dinner and encourage the kids to be as independent as possible. 

Evening Time Together (6:00 p - 9:00 p) 

This is another time for me to be as connected to the kids as possible. We eat dinner together, read books, play games, and wind down from the day. We stick to a similar night time routine most days. Once the kids are in bed, I will sometimes work if there are still things I need to get done. Otherwise, I try to use this time for some self-care, and to rest for the next day. This includes doing a quick pick up of toys/materials, and setting up anything that I want to accomplish tomorrow. 

Now, it's not always looking this perfect. Baby naps mess things up. Cranky toddlers mess things up. Big kids coming running through the house in muddy boots. Life happens. I just try to give as much grace as I can to myself and to my kids to make it work. Each day is a new day. Flexibility is our friend.

Working at home with kids can be difficult when it's a sudden adjustment. Here is a free Montessori guide for parents working at home with kids.

If you are looking to schedule your days into 3 hour blocks, I have created a little downloadable PDF with this guidance, the same activities and a blank sheet for you to create yourself! You can use this daily or weekly. List the things you want to try to do, and check them off as you get them done. I hope it helps get through this uncertain time. 


Ali said…
This is great! Thanks so much for sharing. I am already using it today and everyone seems really happy to have this structure to help organize our day.
Unknown said…
Thank you!! I gave up social media for lent and I have to say, I miss seeing your Instagram posts! So, I look forward to your reports and podcast!!

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2021

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. Puzzles, in particular, have been difficult to find in stock. So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, bu

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Our Family's Montessori Christmas Gift Lists 2021

It's hard to believe another holiday season is upon us again. Every year I enjoy putting together my kids' Christmas gift lists. It's really a good time to observe them, see what they are interested in and what they might be ready for during this coming year. It's one of the few times a year that I purchase new materials for our home so it's always really exciting. IF YOU NEED MORE IDEAS DON'T MISS MY ULTIMATE MONTESSORI TOY LIST OR MY 2021 DEALS PAGE ! When considering these lists, please remember that these were curated based on my own children. Use them for inspiration but they are heavily influenced by what my children are into and interested in. And for my older second plane children, what they have asked for!  Here's a look at our family's Montessori Christmas lists for 2021!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore (Toddler) Teddy is just over 2-years-old. Being our fourth baby, he is really hard for me to think of unique