The benefits of being a work-at-home parent can often outweigh the drawbacks. However, there are some days when it can prove to be a difficult task. You’re trying to be involved in a very important conference call, or maybe you’re trying to get that work in before the deadline. Meanwhile, your two-year-old is trying to climb on top of your filing cabinet. Here are some great ideas that can help make life easier while you work at home with your kids around.
Let your child know that he or she is your personal assistant. Stress the importance of the title they’ve been given and set up a little desk for your new assistant. Make sure that it’s close enough for you to keep your eye on your child, but far enough away that you can focus on your own work. Give your child tools similar to the ones that you’ve got on your own desk. Select only the safest items and be sure that they are virtually indestructible. A natural curiosity paired with an active imagination can lead to disaster should your child get his or her hands on the wrong item.
Assign your assistant with important job responsibilities. One duty that might give your child a sense of importance is opening mail. Give your child junk mail, advertisements or anything else that is unimportant to you. Be sure to give your child’s workspace a trashcan to throw away the envelope when they’re through. Another time-consuming activity is allowing your child to organize outdated files, rough drafts, old business cards, or anything else you no longer need. The key to this task is to place files to be organized in a file bin to be transferred to an old briefcase or even a desk drawer. This has the potential to entertain your child for hours.
Small children usually like to look for things, especially when they think they’re helping mommy or daddy. Depending on the location of your office and the independence of your child, you may be able to designate duties that require your new assistant to leave the office – such as going after a phone book or other item that you’ve failed to bring in. You can purposely leave those items behind to give your child an activity.
Consider adding a chalkboard to your new office. Buy brightly colored sidewalk chalk to be use with the board – the fat, brightly colored sticks are less likely to be tasted. Make a production of adding the new item to your office. Your child will be more eager to get his or her hands on something that they see you using.
A must-have for your assistant is a notebook similar to the type that you use for notes and crayons. Encourage your new employee to draw a picture for you and praise the final product. The more compliments your child hears during this process, the more likely your child will want to continue to create masterpieces. At the end of the day, make a routine of hanging your child’s artwork somewhere in the office.
If you have the money (and can stand the noise), there are a few toys that you can pass off as tools for your child. Educational toys, such as battery operated computers would be a welcome learning tool for your new assistant. Telephones that ring by themselves and talk back to your child will also be a great idea. Your child may be content to imitate you with these toys, as they look similar to your own desktop devices.
Working at home with a small child around doesn’t have to be the most difficult task in the world. In fact, with a little imagination, you can turn your child into a valuable staff member!