The coming of summer means that kids will be out of school, and working at home takes on a brand new set of challenges for many moms. Getting it all done, day in and day out, can be difficult under the best of circumstances, but when you add in a restless and bored kid (or two), what’s a mompreneur to do?
Even if you’re not fortunate enough to have daytime help with the kids, you can still be productive this summer. It just takes a little planning and a lot of patience to make the days go smoothly. Here are 5 tips for working at home with kids, that just might help get you through to August!
- Get an early start each day. If you’re able to get up and get your day started before your brood is up and raring to go, you’ll be able to get a little bit of work done without distractions. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, that’s time you can spend organizing your thoughts, making your to-do list, getting through email, and getting laser-focused on the day’s goals.
- Put the kids to work. If your children are old enough to take on a little responsibility, give them a few tasks to complete during the day. These can be things related to your work (filing, for example) or household chores like picking up toys in the family room, walking the dog, and cleaning up after lunch. Having their own “job” to do will make them feel grown up and will relieve you of some of the daily burdens that working moms face.
- Speaking of lunch, have a set schedule for lunch and short breaks throughout the day. This gives you a much needed opportunity to step away from work, and it builds structure into your family’s day. Kids will be less likely to disturb you while you work if they know they’ll have your attention for 30 minutes at lunch time.
- Plan ahead by organizing age-appropriate activities for your children. One mom I know sets her kids up with paper, crayons, and markers, and for an hour in the morning they create beautiful refrigerator masterpieces. Then in the afternoon, they watch fun and educational DVDs while Mom works. This keeps the children occupied and entertained while allowing Mom to get a little bit of work done. I’m sure you can think of some great ideas for your own kids.
- Have a planned quitting time and stick to it. Don’t tell the kids you’ll be finished for the day at 3 and then keep working until four-thirty. You’re going to have very unhappy children, and most likely their complaining will prevent you from being very productive. Follow your schedule by closing up shop for the day at the pre-planned time, and then reward your children for a great day by taking them to the park, out for ice cream, or another treat they’ll love.
These are just a few simple suggestions. As a busy working mom, you know better than anyone what works for your family and what doesn’t. Will you share some of your own ideas in comments below?
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