Working from home comes with some benefits, such as avoiding traffic, saving money on gas, the ability to work in comfy clothes and having access to your own kitchen for meals and snacks. If you have small children you might also see a work-at-home job as a way to avoid paying for expensive child care. Since you get to stay at home, you can just do your work while taking care of their children.
Depending on the job, however, keeping the kids home while you work is not always an option. Some jobs require a quiet place to work, phone and video calls and a strict schedule. It can be difficult to monitor small children and be productive at your job. Other jobs might actually require that you have child care for your children. As a work-at-home parent, you have options for child care that a parent that works out of the home doesn't always have.
Your Spouse, Significant Other or Roommate
If your work-at-home job allows you to work a flexible schedule, use the time when another adult is at home with you to your advantage. Plan to start your "work day" after another adult arrives home.
Find Part-Time Child Care
If you don't have an adult at home with you or if you don't want to lose your time together, look for part-time child care. A home child care provider may not have the ability to be flexible with a part-time child, but larger child care centers often offer part-time care. "Part-time" can be considered a few full days a week, a few half-days a week, or a full week of half-days. Preschool is also an option if your child is old enough. Many preschool programs are half-day. Contact a local center, such as Mountainside School, to see how they can best help fulfill your needs.
If your work schedule can be flexible, pick a few days a week to work longer shifts. 2 or 3 days of daycare is less expensive than a full week. You may also consider working 4 hours during the day while your child is at "school" and finishing up your work in the evening after they are in bed.
Consider a Nanny
Nannies will come into your home and take care of your children. A nanny tends to be a bit more expensive than a daycare, but having the child in the home environment is important to some parents. A nanny is able to transport the child to activities, play dates and on errands. Nannies are also able to help out around the house. One benefit of a nanny for a work-at-home parent is that you are always nearby, and you can even see your child on your breaks.
If a nanny is out of your price range, look into a nanny share. This is when you "share" your nanny with another family and split the cost.
Home Daycare Provider or Child Care Center
If your work-at-home job requires you to have child care and is not flexible on the hours you work, traditional child care is likely the route you will need to go. A home daycare provider is often less expensive than a large center.