There’s no question that doing business at home and trying to juggle the kids at the same time is definitely stressful; either the parents find a way to distract the kids and get some work done, or (more often than not) the kids distract the parents and nothing gets done.
It can be difficult to keep the kids occupied, especially if they are very young. The same old tricks fail to work after a while. Kids crave attention. It is a basic human need and they should not be deprived.
But when running a household is a full-time job itself, how can you be sure you have the time and energy to get your new business up and running, and make it a success?
How to Stay Productive in Spite of it all
Following are some tips to help you take full advantage of the work-at-home lifestyle without causing the business or the family to suffer.
- Wake up an hour earlier than the kids. This is your “power hour,” to plan the day ahead or spend some time in meditation, envisioning that the day will be productive and fulfilling on all fronts. You’d be amazed how much better your day goes when the first thing you do upon rolling out of bed is something nice for yourself!
- Enjoy wake-up time with your kids. Start off with some rise-and-shine cuddling, snuggling, tickling, etc. Then eat breakfast together and talk about the day ahead. Getting off to a good start emotionally and nutritionally will do wonders for both parents and children.
- Keep them occupied with new activities. Put together a list of fun things they can do at home, and allow them to pick an activity at random, maybe by pulling a number from a hat. Continue to add to the list as you think of new ideas. Include the kids in the brainstorming process.
- Inform them in advance when you particularly need to get important work done. People often underestimate children’s ability to comprehend “adult” concepts, but you’d be surprised how helpful they can be when they feel that they’re being included in important family matters.
- Hire a sitter a few times a week, to grant yourself a moment of privacy to work, play, or whatever else you need to do. (Nap, anyone?)
- Be flexible with your work location and hours. Taking the kids outside to play in the yard allows them to be active while you bring your laptop along to do get work done, and you can still supervise as necessary.
- Give them tasks. Playing mom and dad’s “little assistants” will make them feel important and needed. Stapling, clipping, sorting and stacking are tasks that many kids can manage to do, and they’ll love to hear how helpful they have been to you and your business.
- Do some things after hours. Work that requires more concentrated effort can be done after the kids have gone to bed, when you can finally get some peace and quiet.
- By choosing to work at home, you have chosen to be with the kids. Be thankful for the chance to spend time with them. Many parents don’t have that opportunity.
- Keep in mind that it’s hard work for them, too. As difficult as it is for you to get anything done when the kids keep taking you away from your work, it’s just as hard for the kids to get their needs met when work keeps taking you away from them.
Working at home should be a blessing, not a curse. Don’t allow stress and frustration to rob you of this wonderful time with your family. It is possible to strike a balance between your work and home life. Enjoy!
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