Mom! Mom! Mom! (or Dad! Dad! Dad!) It can be never ending when you work from home…actually it is never ending no matter where you work. But it creates some serious problems when you work from home.
I have three kids whom I love dearly, but seem to be never ending chatterboxes the minute I sit down to work. The last year and a half I have been trying out many different strategies to keep them busy and give me a minute of quiet so I can focus.
I hate relying on screen time, although I do put a movie on some afternoons. It helps to have some activities prepared that you can rely on for 20-30 minutes of peace and rotate through them so they don’t lose interest.
Here are my best tips for dealing with the never ending interruptions when you have work to do and kids who want attention.
Tire Out The Kids
Take the kids out of the house first thing in the morning. Bring them somewhere they can be active, the park, a friend’s house or an indoor activity center. Let them burn off all that energy and make sure you give them lots of your personal attention. Both of these things will help you later in the day when you ask them to let you work.
When you get home, give them a big snack or early lunch and make sure they have use the bathroom. They should be able to give you a chance to focus on work now. Put on a movie, or get out a quiet project for them to work on near you, puzzle or coloring pages are great.
It will take a few days to get them used to leaving you alone for longer periods of time. You might have to remind them gently that you can’t talk right now because you are working. The key to this is to give your kids attention and activity in the morning, they will be better able to leave you to work in the afternoon if they are full of love and worn out.
Work When They Sleep
I am not a morning person. I’m not a night person either, really, I just like sleep. But now that I have kids I have to be a little flexible. My husband is good at getting up early, he likes to get up at about 4:30 so that he can have 1-2 hours of alone time before the kids get up. I am more apt to stay up a little late to get things done at the end of the day.
My husband and I have to work together for this strategy. He gets up early and I keep the baby with me so she will sleep later. Then at night he puts the kids to bed so that I can have a few hours to work uninterrupted. It can be hard to focus at the end of the day, so I make sure I have written out a list in my bullet journal beforehand.
Get Some Help
We have an awesome young woman who lives across the street. The last two summers she has been my Mother’s Helper. I pay her a few dollars to come play with my older kids and keep them busy. She loves my kids and they love her, so it works out well for everyone.
It is not always easy to find help that is affordable and a good fit for your family. Try to find an older child who is too young to babysit by themselves but could play with your kids while you are home.
Another option is to trade babysitting with another parent who needs some free time. You can trade watching their kids one day and dropping your kids off another day.
These are some of the best ways I have found to keep my kids entertained while I work. It helps to have some patience too!
Emma Bates is the blogger behind Kids, Cash and Chaos, (www.kidscashandchaos.com) where she blogs about business building for busy mothers. She is the mother of three and is also a VA in her “spare time.” Emma lives for her big bowl of ice cream at the end of the day.