When you work at home, one of the biggest challenges can be keeping the kids busy. There will be the days when the usual tactics won’t distract them, but you just have to get some work done. It might just be time to do something the kids won’t expect.
Some work at home jobs and businesses may not require you to actually be at home. Can you bring a laptop or briefcase and work at the playground, library or fast food restaurant? You’ll still have to keep a sharp eye on the kids, but they’ll have a chance to release that pent-up energy.
What about things you can do with your kids at home while working? Older children may be able to help you with parts of your work, knowing that this will free you up to play with them sooner.
Other times you may have to take advantage of any flexibility in office hours your work at home job or business will allow you. Go play! Dance with them, play a board game, paint… just find something fun to do with them for a while. Don’t make a habit of this, or your generally cooperative kids may suddenly expect you to drop everything to play with them, but there are times when you make exceptions to your office hours.
Not all work at home parents can do this, of course. Some jobs do require set hours. In that case, have someone you can call on to help. This doesn’t have to be another adult. Even having an older child from the neighborhood come over to play can be enough to let you get work done.
If you are regularly having problems with the kids needing your attention while you are trying to work, it may be time to reassess your office hours. Children’s needs do change as they get older, so the schedule that worked perfectly for your toddler may not work now.
Remind yourself as often as necessary why you decided to work at home in the first place. It’s easy to get your priorities mixed up when you have a schedule to keep, deadlines to meet, etc., but your children need you too. Keep them high in your priorities and let them know how much they mean to you.
Stephanie Foster is the owner of Home with the Kids – a resource for parents who want to work at home. For more tips on working at home, please visit www.homewiththekids.com/wah.htm