20 December 2007

Working at home while the kids are on holiday break

Work It, Mom!Guest post by our friends at Work It, Mom!, a wonderful community site for working moms.

School vacation is fast approaching and daycares are getting ready for their holiday break -- which means that if you have to get some work done during the holidays you'll be doing it at home with your little ones nearby. We asked a few moms who regularly work from home to share some of their favorite tips for keeping the kids occupied while they get work done:

  • Have on hand a special bag of toys that comes out only when you need to get some work done. Keep it simple -- puzzles, stuffed animals, stickers, a few books -- and rotate your stash; the novelty won't wear off so quickly if the kids only see these toys at certain times.
  • If you need peace but can get by without quiet, break out the noisy toys when you need to work. Kids will be thrilled to bang pot lids together instead of being asked to shush.
  • Set up a workstation for your child, so he or she can "work" while you do. A small desk placed next to yours, with a set of markers and a special, work-only notebook, can keep them busy while letting them feel important and included. [I'd add a few attractive office supplies such as a hole punch, paper clips, and some highlighters -- Ed.]
  • Try keeping a stash of special DVDs on hand for when you really need quiet time in which to work. Buy a few inexpensive compilations of your kids' favorite shows, and you can stretch the DVD out episode by episode. [Or TiVo! -- Ed.]
  • Got older kids? This might be the perfect time for a marathon -- a game marathon, that is. Dance, Dance Revolution is great for this (plus, it gives them some exercise and keeps cabin fever at bay during a long snow day) but any easy, two-player videogame can work. If you have more than two kids, make the others the referees, and have them take turns going up against the winner of each round.

The strategy I fall back on time and again is to get up a couple hours earlier than my kids. I manage to get more done during those hours than in twice as much interrupted time.

What are your best tips for getting work done while the kids are home from school?

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Playdates!! Both hosting and sending the kid off are helpful.

I set up a childcare swap with a WAHM neighbor whose children are close in age to mine. I care for her children at my house during the day, while she works, and she repays by caring for mine in the evenings or on weekends when my husband and I want to go out. We keep track of our hours so it all evens out.

She gets uninterrupted childfree time to work. Our dates are less expensive because our "sitter" works for free, and I get more work done on my own projects while our children are entertaining each other. =)

Win-win.

I like to have them watch their favorite disney movie. it last for 2 hours and keep them occupied while i do my business. I have a home based business, you can see details by clicking on my name. It allows me to spend all day with the kids and family.

thank you for the blog, love it.

I love these ideas, especially busting out new items that they only use when you need to get some work done.

A couple ideas that have worked for me!

-setting a timer gives yourself a limit and gives your kids an idea of when the time will end; consider rewarding them with a special time together after the work is done. this can help motivate them to give you the time and space you need.

-send them over to a friend's house for a playdate then the next week return the favor!

-we don't use them often but in times like these, we bust out the Gameboys and play them in silent mode

-get them involved in what you're doing. my kids are older so they can participate in helping fill out forms, etc.

-they each have a special bag with things THEY'VE assembled to keep them busy in such situations as having to go to the DMV and wait for mom, play quietly when mom has an important teleconference, etc. we turn on soft soothing music and I tell them if they can't hear the music, they are being too loud. you should hear them whisper like pros! :-) also, they comment that they enjoy this time because it helps them feel peaceful and relaxed!

Asha, thanks for sharing this with your readers. Suzy - those are some really great ideas, I'm going to have to borrow a few:)

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