Working from Home with Elementary School Aged Children

by golda on January 16, 2012

Working from Home with Elementary School Aged Children
By Golda Smith
 
I’ll be honest and say that at times I’ve allowed the kids to watch a little to much TV just so they would stay out of my way and allow me to focus on work without their disruptions. However, after some thought, I had to ask myself if this was the kind of mother I wanted to be, having the idiot box babysit my children and the answer is no.
 
I’ve had the pleasure of being able to work from home since my first child was born. Initially, it was as a caterer. That was a whole lot of work. Then it was in real estate which was a little easier but still had its challenges. What I’ve learned is that each age group has its own set of challenges that must be worked through.
 
Of course it has gotten easier…I think…as the children have gotten older. Now I can plan longer periods of independent work time for them while I get focused on what I need to do. Make no mistakes, there still is planning involved. Yes, it’s back to time and life management. I’ve asked before…what do you want your life to look like? Answer that question and you can plan your actions that will lead you to that life.
 
I work from home full time and my children are in school. I’ve given some thought to homeschooling but right now it’s still a thought. Most days things work out great. The majority of my work day occurs when the children are at school. However, there are those other times like holidays and extended weekends, snow days and other unexpected moments. How do you stay on task?
 
One of the great things about this age group is that they are old enough to handle some independent tasks. For example, my children can actually make themselves breakfast, one less task for me to handle. Something else that helps me in a major way is that they have their own little library fully stocked. They’ve got reading books, math books, workbooks, flashcards, and art supplies…everything they could possibly need to work on almost any project.
 
This is one of those long weekends but Monday is still a work day for me. I have clients that I serve and they expect me to deliver so I can’t blow them off because me children are off from school. On days like that I plan my day in 30-45 minute segments. Just because school is out doesn’t mean they stop learning. Read a chapter and write me a text to text connection. Quiz your brother on his subtraction. I have them working, we do a check in at the end of the time block and then it’s on to the next activity.
 
Of course you have to find your own rhythm because what works for me may not work for you. I also recommend this must have business tool…a smart phone. You can get so much accomplished and I’m talking from experience. You may want to get out of the house whether it’s to take the children to the playground or bookstore and you can still be in the “office”. You can write that blog post, handle your budget, manage your social media activity and submit your next proposal. Your smart phone allows you to take the show on the road without being tied to your home office.  
 
It’s important to set boundaries, especially at this age, because your children are used to spending so much time with you and they think that you are at their beck and call. When they see you at home they need to understand that you have a designated work space and work hours. It’s your job to enforce that…woman up!
 
To any mom who’s thinking about working from home but worried how on earth they will manage building a home based business and raise their children, it’s so very possible but like anything else it takes planning. That’s the most vital aspect of making this work, planning and sticking to your routine. Focus on the important activities and let someone else handle the rest. You’re children will have the mother they deserve.



Golda Smith is a single mom who is building her "Business From The Kitchen Table" working with entrepreneurs to support them in the tasks that hold their businesses together. Are you on Twitter? Get your checklist, now. Don't tweet without this!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lacretia June 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm

I can't wait until mine are school-aged. I have 3 under 3! I am also guilty of the idiot box as a babysitter thankfully Nick Jr is educational. Now I am making sure I don't have to use it too long and trying to establish a sleep schedule for them to get more done. 

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2 Golda
Twitter: only1golda
June 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Lacretia, your family is beautiful! Congratulations on the newest addition. Whew…3 under 3, I know you are busy but what a blessing. Nick Jr. is very cool…love Laurie Berkner’s music. You already recognize that having them on a schedule will definitely help you keep your sanity and build your business but remember to also give yourself some grace. Enjoy your babies and thanks for commenting. Until next time…

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