KIDS & FAMILY: Balance Work And Personal Life Under One Roof – Part 3
* Time shift. Power on and take advantage when the kids nap. Get the kids into a nap routine. Shift your work schedule to accommodate a child’s wake-time habits. Work when they sleep, are at school, out with friends or are doing homework.
* Posted: No Trespassing. When the office is off limits, hang a “Do Not Enter” or circle-with-a-slash sign on the door. And close it. Too much for a youngster to comprehend? If they enter while you’re on the phone with a client, a finger to the lips — or pointed out the door — might suffice as a command. For kids under 4, the denial of entry might be too much to handle. Be prepared for them to refuse, or to react with cries or a tantrum. Hurt feelings may need assuaging once the phone call is through.
* Give candy to a baby. Store toys in a desk drawer or desk-side box to keep kids busy. Keep especially enticing toys or snacks hidden and close at hand as emergency distractions during important phone calls. For those kids who won’t take the hint or command, stash candy or a toy nearby, and offer it up in exchange for their silence. At the very least, young ones will be quiet as they partake of the offering.
* Let the little ones play copy-cat. Keep colored markers, crayons, scrap paper (a good way to recycle old faxes and letters) and the like around for the kids to color on. Just make certain that their paper pile is nowhere near yours, and that they don’t end up writing on that report you were polishing. Maybe buy or build a little desk to keep in the office. It expands their imagination by letting them make believe they’re working, but also keeps them quiet when you’re working and they’re around.
* Teach them a lesson. Aside from being a great way to raise kids, working from home provides an opportunity to teach some lessons you can’t give from a downtown tower. Not only does working from home teach your children about what you do for a living, they will see the process of work. Think of it as a daily episode of, “Take our children to work.”
* Put ’em to work. Let them stuff envelopes, lick stamps, or put books or phone books away. As they get older, their responsibilities can grow. It both eliminates the negative emotion of having to be kicked out of the office (though that is a necessary evil at times). And if you pay them, it can teach them the value of working.
Click here to read the first installment.
Click here to read the second installment.
Journalist and author Jeff Zbar has worked from his home office in South Florida since 1989. He recently published Home Office Know-How, a tips book on working from home. Get a copy by visiting his website, www.goinsoho.com.