July 13, 2014
Summer is well upon us and with the warm weather comes the annual struggle to keep our kids busy while we try to get work done at home. While more companies are now allowing employees to work remotely, figuring out how to do so while the children are home is a careful balancing act between meeting the kids’ needs and your own. If you have small children, the following tips will help alleviate some of that work from home stress:
Make a schedule
Kids thrive on routine. It will also help you be able to draw lines between time you should be working and time to enjoy being with the kids. I often turn the schedule itself into an activity by printing out an hourly calendar and letting the kids decorate.
Create a worry free space
I have a friend who telecommutes and complained to me that he needs to step away from the computer every few minutes when his toddler tries crawling into adjacent rooms. Delineating spaces where your children are allowed to play, especially if they are younger, will afford you a similar type of structure that comes with scheduling.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to child proof areas where you know the kids will be hanging out. When trying to concentrate on work, peace of mind is priceless.
It works! While I’m sure this will cause educators and child psychologists to cringe, I often keep small prizes in the form of games or treats to break up the monotony of the day and provide incentives for good behavior.
One of my favorite and most effective bribes is allowing for movie watching or video game playing after a significant amount of time of good behavior. While I would rather if my kids played outdoors, weather, age, and location can often keep them inside. As tempting as it is to just set them in front of the monitor all day, limiting access will keep them interested and make you feel like less of a bad parent. For those of you that feel guilty utilizing this method, remember, we’re not trying to win any parenting awards here, we’re just trying to get through the day with as little drama as possible.
Take advantage of the internet
There are so many workbooks and coloring pages now available for free on the web. A simple search for whatever your child will enjoy will provide your with a variety of time-consuming options.
Communicate the nature and importance of your work
We often lose our patience with our children without questioning whether or not they even understand why they need to keep quiet while you are on the phone or typing an email. Children that are old enough to understand should manage to keep quite in your immediate work space if explained why it is important that they do so.