Operating a home business is seldom easy and interruptions come
in all shapes, sizes and forms.
Between the family, friends and neighbours who call or come by,
and the telemarketers who insist on ringing your number off the
hook, getting through the workday can be a real challenge.
When you introduce children into the home office environment,
your productivity and patience can be seriously tested.
For example, right now my three-year old daughter is pulling on
my shirt and begging me to read her a story. Clearly, Im in the
middle of something important here, but how can I say no to
those eyes? Ill be right back…
Ok, that wasnt so bad was it? Shes happy, Im happy (having
bonded with my daughter) and now Im back to continue my
conversation with you 🙂 Whats the lesson here? Flexibility
is a major key to balancing your home business priorities with
your familys needs.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that maintaining a
deep level of concentration on work in a home business for long
periods of time is next to impossible. Naptime does offer some
reprieve, but any break from the kids is usually short lived.
Even with older children, summertime introduces new challenges
with kids running in and out of the house all throughout the day.
I would like to share with you some of the tips I have
discovered to help manage your home office with children in your
midst. Since children of different ages pose different
challenges, I will present my tips in terms of age groups.
OLDER CHILDREN AND TEENS
We will look at older children first since they pose the least
challenge to our work productivity.
Children, who are old enough to understand the idea of schedules
and chores, are old enough to understand the needs of your home
business. Explain to your children that you do your work at home
so that you can be near them when they need you. But also be
sure they understand that you must do your work so that you will
have the money necessary to keep your house, feed the family and
to provide them with money for entertainment.
Once your children understand the necessity of your work, then
outline a work schedule and explain it to them. Do make sure
they understand that emergencies are definitely an acceptable
reason to interrupt your work. Then make sure they understand
that between hours x and y, you will be doing work — and then
hold them to respecting your schedule.
Infants will never understand your needs for work. But
fortunately, babies do well under a schedule or routine. Instead
of expecting your child to work around your schedule, schedule
your work around the needs of your baby.
It is simple. Babies eat, sleep and poop. Sometimes they play.
Fortunately, babies sleep more than they do anything else.
Naptime offers the best advantage for getting your work done.
Get your baby into a routine of eat, sleep and play, and you
will experience unexpected levels of productivity.
If you have a toddler running around the house while you are
operating your home business, then you may find that your hair
turning gray or disappearing altogether. But, gray hair is a
sign of character, right. 😉
I am venturing to guess that the person who devised the door
lock for the inside of the house did so because he had toddlers
in his own home. Inside door locks should only be utilized when
you are making that important phone call and your toddler is
screaming for your attention. At all other times, your door
should remain unlocked with your door open.
Develop a routine with your children for meal times, naptimes,
and play times. Work these times into your work schedule and
adhere to them. If you fail to keep appointments with your
children, your children will have less respect for your work and
do more to prevent you from the completion of your work.
Don’t be afraid to let your children sit in your lap while you
are working. It helps them to feel wanted and it helps them to
be a part of your daily life. There are times when it is okay
for them to be sitting in your lap while you work, and at other
times you need them out of your lap. Don’t be afraid to tell
them to get down and go play or read a book so that you can
resume your work.
Permit your children to have their toys in your office. Often
they will sit contently and play while you work. Just knowing
you are near is enough to keep them happy.
Be prepared to take an hourly break to deal with your toddler.
Try to do potty breaks at your hourly break and to do drink
refills. This can help your child grow into a routine that will
work well with your home business. At each break, spend a few
minutes with your child giving hugs and kisses and talking with
your child about what he or she wants to talk about.
Toddlers don’t always do well with the routine, so be prepared
to take a few minutes when needed to give the attention that
your child so desperately needs in the moment.
I hope these tips serve to help you in the challenge of
operating a successful home business.
My home business permits me to fulfill my financial obligations
*AND* see my children grow up. I would never contemplate trading
my home business for another kind of business. Even with the
added challenges of dealing with toddlers in my home office, the
upsides far outweigh the downsides.
Growing my own home business with children around has definitely
given me a new respect for all people who successfully run a
home business with kids in the work environment. I tip my hat to
you… You deserve it!