Sometimes we feel overwhelmed when working from home. Between work, housekeeping, the noise, and all that our family adds to our day, we may not be able to concentrate well. To be successful, we need to have some amount of cooperation going on within the home while we are working.
How do we get our children to cooperate? This depends on their age and maturity levels. For instance:
A baby will not be able to cooperate, so you will have to work around her schedule.
A toddler can be trained, though it will take time, to work on quiet activities for an hour in the morning and then again in the afternoon, by the time they start school. They take a nap, and go to bed at an early hour. You’re still working around the toddler’s schedule, for the most part, but you are also working on getting them to be able to play quietly for a bit a couple of times a day. What can they be trained to do? Play on a blanket on the floor, or within the office space, quietly. Have them color or ‘read’ their books. They will likely talk, but your goal is to have them do so as quietly as possible. Start small, and work your way up to that hour.
Young children can play quietly in their rooms or in your office space, without always needing to talk to you, though they might talk to their dolls or imaginary friend. As long as children are getting ample outdoor time, study and reading time with mom, and meals with you, as well as other daily rituals, they will be fine for a couple of hours at a time. As they get older, you will be able to bring them outside and let them play in the yard while you work. If they attend school, then you will have entire days of working alone, but will need for them to be able to let you work during vacations.
Preteens can handle more things on their own, and need mom less… according to them. This age is where some big-time drama can enter your life, so you need to be firm but not mean about your work time. You’ll be free for talks after your work is done. If you were working for someone else, they would not have access to you whenever they wanted. They can wait until your work day is done, barring an actual emergency.
Teenagers won’t need you for much, but their music and company can get quite loud. They are old enough to understand that those things are not okay while you are working.
Children of most ages can clean up after themselves, which is especially important when you are working from home. Clients don’t want to see messes when they visit, or behind you when you’re having a virtual meeting.
The best tactics: Be open and honest. And consistent.
Hard truth: If you cannot be consistent as far as your children go, you might want to wait to run a home business until you learn that very important skill and they have had a chance to adjust. If they won’t behave (for the most part) on a regular basis, they probably won’t while you are trying to work. If they can’t let you be on the phone or hold a conversation without interrupting, then you won’t get much accomplished in that regard either. (Obviously, very young children will need to learn how to do this. This is not what I am referring to in this example.) another option is to send them to daycare when they are not in school.
As children get older, they may even want to help. It’s up to you if you want to do this. When Skye was in the fourth grade, she used to keep my books for me for the daycare I ran in my home. As the girls got older, they learned office tasks, activity planning, menu planning, how to care for children, and more. They had a full set of skills before they were even adults.
I personally think having children who want to help is a blessing, for you and them. They learn important skills, and you get a bit of a break with some things. Win-win.
This 2nd edition of Let Your Teen Help As You Build a Home Business: While Learning Valuable Skills for the Future, has been edited and updated, with more information on the important ways that your teenager can help out during this transitional period and beyond.
By coming together as a family, it’s possible to successfully create a career you can have from home. With your teen as part of your team, you will go far.
Teens can be a big help with:
* Helping with some of your business tasks.
* Teaching you about technology.
* Helping you to plan different aspects of the business.
* Helping with their siblings sometimes.
* Helping out around the house.
By having your teen help out they’ll learn valuable skills to take into adulthood, to use at home and in their career. This will put them ahead of other young people who were not given these opportunities.