In April 2014, my husband and I became parents to our eighteen month-old grandson. We had a lot to figure out, but one thing we knew was that we wanted to have him at home and not in daycare at such a young age. So, I began to pursue opportunities to create income from home. I started doing virtual assisting and I also went back to college in August 2014 to open opportunities for myself at a later date. I am kind of crazy like that-one challenge isn't enough for me, no sir!
I began to comb the Internet for tips on dealing with toddlers while working from home. Some ideas had merit, such as work when the child is napping or asleep. Other ideas weren't so helpful for my situation, such as put them in daycare, or wait to start a business until they are older and in school. I mean, really? That was not helpful in the least.
Here are ten tips that worked for me and hopefully they will be helpful to you too.
- Spend time with your child prior to trying to do any work. If I spend a good twenty minutes with my little guy, then I can count on just about the same amount of time to do some work, maybe even longer. Before I start my work, I make sure he has eaten, we have read books and played, and I have some special toys ready for him that he doesn't see often. I repeat this cycle of play and work all throughout the day.
- Teach your child that when you work, he/she gets to do something that he/she really enjoys. My grandson likes to watch Daniel Tiger. When I go to my computer to do some work, he gets to watch an episode of his favorite show. I also reserve special toys for work time that will keep his interest for an extended period of time and I rotate them so they are fresh and fun when he does get to play with them.
- Offer a lot of praise for good behavior while you are working. I tell my grandson what a good job he did being quiet while I worked or while I was on a phone call. I thank him for making good choices so I can get my work done.
- Keep a consistent schedule of meals, naps (if they take naps), and activities. Children are much more compliant when they know what to expect and when. Ever changing schedules are hard on kiddos and in turn, hard on parents.
- Don't try to take care of your child, work from home, and do housework. If I were out of the house from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., I wouldn't be washing dishes and laundry, so I don't while working from home. You need to view your work time as work time. Don't visit Facebook, clean the house, or babysit for friends while you are working.
- Take a lunch hour. Making sure you and your child are nourished is very important to getting through the day well versus just surviving. Plan the week's lunch on the weekend and have the lunches you need ready for the work week.
- Get dressed and dress your child. You will feel more productive and your child will realize that the day has started if you both get dressed instead of wearing your pajamas or exercise clothes.
- In the summer, if you can, adjust your work schedule to take advantage of summer events like free summer movies, free bowling, participating in library summer reading programs, or going swimming. These activities are enriching for your child and will give you both a sense of having had a nice summer.
- Don't work on the weekends unless you can't avoid it. It is important to have normal family time. If work is always intruding, your child will be resentful of your work and not as cooperative.
- Point out to your child how your work benefits the family. Even small children can learn to appreciate that your work provides juice boxes, toys, and other niceties. When they understand the correlation of work to things they like in their life, they deal with the fact of a parent working a lot better.
Are you a parent who works from home? What tips and tricks have helped you to manage your days with little ones while trying to earn a living? Please share in the comments section below.