My kids private school shut down. Completely. While I could wallow in the fact that my kids will likely lose their friends and this was never in my plan, I’m going to move forward. Cause really, what can I do?
We’ve decided to homeschool the kids for the next year. We found a great charter school that pays for everything, they go to the campus a minimum of 2 times a month, but more if they want. My middle schooler gets her curriculum set for her, she has actual teachers, but most learning is online, from home. And they offer extra curricular activities, educational field trips, additional classes and more for my little one.
I was feeling good in this decision. I get to spend more time with my kids. It’s going to force me to be home full time again.
But then I realized …
Like a big ol’ Willy the Giant sized reality check, my excitement came to a halt and thoughts of what I had REALLY gotten myself into came fee-fi-fo-fum-ing into the picture.
My kids are going to be HOME … with me … every day.
While I strive to teach my son and not kill my pre-teen daughter, work still has to get done. I need to stay productive, I need to find time to market, connect and write in between homeschooling, entertaining them and constantly feeding them (seriously, why are they always eating?!)
So, how do you work at home with kids, without sacrificing your business or your sanity? Short of using Time Turner to give yourself extra hours in the day Hermione Granger style, here are some tips to actually get things done when you have kids at home.
How to Work at Home With Kids
Work before they wake up. Or during naptime. Or after bedtime. Sometimes you just do what you have to do. And sometimes that means having to wake up a few hours early just to have some peace and quiet. Or staying up a few hours later. If your kids are young enough to nap, take full advantage of that time as well. If you are productive and make the most of your time, you can get a lot done in those quiet moments.
Have a to-do list. Speaking of making the most of your time, make sure you have a to-do list. I take a few moments the night before to plan out the main 3 things I need to do each day, which usually consists of client work, connecting on social media and actively looking for jobs.
Be realistic. Life with kids is unpredictable. Things don’t always go according to plan. Or sometimes they’re driving you nuts because they’ve been home all day and you just have to forget everything and take them to the park to burn off some of that energy. So it’s important to be realistic when you create your work schedule. Don’t be too strict with it and understand that things can change at any second.
Keep a hidden stash of toys. I definitely didn’t come up with this tip but I think it’s genius. You know how kids are sooo excited at Christmas? Everything they have is brand new and exciting. And you know how they are suddenly sooo bored in January. Because apparently they have “nothing to play with.” By keeping a stash of new toys, you can keep that Christmas-day excitement up, and keep them completely occupied. Break out a new toy when they start to get restless with the ones they already have. Depending on the toy, it could keep them busy for hours!
Play with them. This works for some kids better than others but I think it’s worth a try. This tip is simple, just take the time to play with them. For some kids, if you take a few hours to play with them to play with them before doing your work, they’re much more likely to not crave attention during your work hours. Because they already got it. Kind of like filling their tank. Bonus: If you wear them out enough, you might get a longer naptime out of it.
Include them in your business. If they’re a little older, include them in your business. They can help with admin tasks, inventory, or anything else you might need help with that you think they can handle. The beauty of this is that they stay busy, you get some extra hands and they get to learn a little about entrepreneurship. Win, win, win.
Enlist help. There ain’t nothing wrong with throwing up the white flag and admitting you need help. In fact, I think it’s wonderful. So let your kids spend some time with their grandparents. Or trade kid-watching duties with another mom. Work it out with your partner. Anything! In fact, asking for help is actually a great way to set boundaries. You’re making it clear that you have certain work hours and that kid duties do not fall in those hours.
Make sure they’re fed and happy before calls. This last tip is for anyone who does coaching calls, interviews, podcasts, live videos, etc. Make sure your kids are not hungry, thirsty or in need of a diaper change before you jump on that call. Of course, this doesn’t mean they won’t bother you anyway, but it does help lessen the chances.
Raising kids isn’t easy. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Add them together, and it’s just chaos. Between boogers and mealtimes, there’s bookings and marketing. Between playtime, there’s promotions. While it may take some juggling, working at home with kids can be done. As long as you don’t kill your pre-teen daughter.