When the phone rings and you are busy with the kids, it can be frustrating to know what to do, especially if you work from home. You want a professional environment, and that is hard to obtain when your clients hear children begging for attention or screaming in the background. Even if you do not work from home, this can be a challenge. Here are three ways to handle phone calls when the kids demand attention.
1.Don’t pick up the phone. In a world of answering machines and voicemail, there is no need to immediately answer the phone. If things are crazy, let the machine get it. Clients often leave messages, and you can call back in five or ten minutes, when things have settled down a little bit. If you must answer the phone, pick up and say that you are busy at the moment but you would be happy to call back in a few minutes.
2.Involve your kids. Most children love to imitate what they see “big people” doing. Get a play phone (or more – depending on how many kids you have) that you keep by the real phone. Make sure that you indicate that the phone is special, that it is not to be played with commonly. This makes the phone more interesting and the novelty will remain longer. When you have to make a call, you can tell your children that it’s phone time, and you can all get the phones together. Likewise, when the phone rings, all of you can answer your own phones. If you think you’ll need quiet, you can create what you call “talking areas.” Each person has his or her own “talking area” for the duration of the call.
3.Sometimes a bribe is necessary. Nobody likes this tactic, but sometimes it just needs to be done. Give a small treat if the conversation will be short. Have them occupied with eating crackers or cookies, and they will be happy to wait a little while. You can even turn on the TV if you get desperate. I try to conduct my phone business during my son’s hour to hour and a half of “TV time.” I try to schedule all of my calls during a time that I know he will be occupied. This means that the bribe isn’t really seen as a bribe, since it is a regular thing.