Disciplining yourself when working from home is difficult enough without the added responsibility of caring for young children. Add into the equation distraction from neighbors, routine household chores and extra-sensory stimulation (read, just your day-to-day usual household excessive decibel level noise) and you get the picture. The most challenging of the above is how to deal with getting your progeny to respect your office time. Here’s a few secrets:
1. Establish a Work Schedule. Often it helps to establish a schedule that works well for you and your family. Before you begin your workday, first spend quality time with the kids. They’ll be more willing to entertain themselves for awhile after they feel they were listened to and their immediate needs were met.
2. Choose Your Work Location Carefully. If you have the option, exercise care in where you choose to set up your office space. Choose an area you can close the door if your children will need to be under supervision. If that’s not a workable option, use a screen to set up a designated work area to signify that the area is your “private space.”
3. Establish Boundaries. Hold a family conference to let them know that this is your job and that is how Mom or Grandmom makes money. Explain that it isn’t a hobby, and that they need to understand that this is how you make money for their clothing, food, toys, gifts and keeping the utilities on. Your spouse or significant other must also be understanding in order to offer support in keeping the kiddos occupied when they’re home and you’re working.
4. Dress for Success. Maintaining a professional demeanor and attitude while you’re working is important and your children will notice the difference. They’ll be able to recognize the “working mommy” versus the “at-home mommy” mode. Be consistent and eliminate confusion by avoiding chatting on the telephone in a conversational tone that they’ll recognize as your “at-home” mommy voice when you’ve told them you’re working. Oftentimes it helps to dress up in casual office attire when planning your work-at-home schedule.
5. Create A Signal System. If a responsible sitter or adult is home to watch the kids, it always helps to develop a signal system to let others know you’re working. One possibility is to hang a cute sign clock with movable hands on your closed door or screened-in area set to the time when you’ll be available again. Have the kids make one for you!
6. Eliminate Distractions. Background noise such as workers or animals can frequently become a distraction or source of procrastination and can easily be remedied by using a noise-canceling headset. Using this will also signal to the kids to respect your privacy and need for quiet time.
7. Keep The Kids Occupied. As a Grandmom I know full well that children have short attention spans so in order to let them know you have to work, head the kids off at the pass. Set up a project for them to do so you can be busy together. They can work independently while you work at home on your blog post, virtual assistant project or ecommerce site. Keeping the kids occupied will allow you to catch up on writing more articles for e-How.
Undoubtedly it’s sometimes hard to get any work accomplished at home with the kids under foot, but it can be done. Remember, pay attention to them first while explaining to them in their own language that everyone has a “job” and theirs is to let you do your “job.”
Photo Credit: Mom & Kids StockXpert