Advice For The Work At Home Parent
Working out of your home can be very difficult with small children. Here are some ideas for parents to make it easier, and some thoughts to ponder.
Working at home is becoming more and more common lately. People are setting up home offices and keeping their children home with them. This can be such a benefit for both parent and child, but it also has some disadvantages.
One of the primary disadvantages is the fact that the children that are at home with the work-at-home parent are most likely babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers. Children at each of these stages are generally high maintenance. They need a lot of care, not to mention the love that you want to give them - the latter of which is probably one of the reasons that you’re working at home to begin with. The disadvantage in all of this is the fact that while you are giving your child the care and love that they deserve, your work is not getting done.
There are ways to give your children the time that they need, and still get your work done. It takes planning, preparation, and follow through. You need to plan your days and organize yourself so that you can stay on top of your workload, household responsibilities, and family. With babies, you have to work around them. They need to be fed when they’re hungry, they need their diaper changed when it’s messy, and they need tons of love. You’re going to have to take advantage of any nap time that your baby takes. You can also find ways to keep your baby busy for periods of time to get some work done. Music soothes them, swings entertain them (as long as you monitor them for safety), toys for them to admire and reach for keep them busy, and you can lay them on their tummy for a work-out while you sit next to them and “attempt” to do some work. I say “attempt” because it is very hard to keep your eyes off of a baby in the midst of milestones.
Toddlers are into everything. They are known for their “search and destroy” demeanor. If you do try to work while your child this age is loose, you must set limits and boundaries from the very beginning with them. Have off-limits areas that are vital to you, such as your computer, your files, etc. To keep a child this age busy while you work, you might have to give them objects of fascination for their very own. They’re going to love your pens and notebooks. Designate their own pen and notebook. Make sure it’s an erasable pen, and make sure to check on them so that they aren’t carving toddler scribbles into your new coffee table. It’s very hard to keep a toddler out of specific areas, so you really need to take advantage of nap-time and bed-time with children this age. Snacks and cartoons are a way to keep them busy for short periods of time. It’s important that we don’t let our children zone into television all day, but there’s nothing wrong with getting 30 minutes of uninterrupted (yeah right) work done.
Pre-School children are much easier to work around. They might even be interested In seeing what you’re working on. They can pull a chair up next to you, and when they get bored they’ll go look through their books and toys or watch a video. Children this age will respect your off-limits areas and items. To keep them involved, you can call their coloring projects their “work” or you can give them old checkbook registers to “balance”….any ideas like this will make them feel very important. Get your creative mind thinking to let your little ones have fun.
Always remember why you work at home. If we don’t dedicate quality time with our children, we might as well go back to the office. They would rather only see you in the evenings than watch you stare at a computer screen all day and holler when they get in the way. They’re only young for so long, and before you know it they’ll be in school all day. That’s going to give you at least six hours of uninterrupted work every day. Enjoy them while they’re young, and remember that it doesn’t last.