Thursday, 19 April 2007

Working from Home when you Have Children

My little son told me that, ”children have to play and grown-ups have to work”. Too true. For most grown-ups that means going out of the house to a place of work. Children know that means their parents are working.

But if parents work from home, children need to understand the rules. This is especially true if your work is internet-based so try to have a separate office which is out of bounds to the children unless invited in. Most people do not have the space so the following rules are very important.

Firstly the telephone. Children must not answer if you are at all likely to receive business-related calls. A young one’s voice saying, “Hello. Mummy’s on the loo” might sound cute but will certainly not give the right impression. Keep the answerphone switched on at all times and ensure your children do not touch the telephone.

Your computer cannot risk crashing due to problems caused by the children wherever that means inadvertently introduced viruses from a program downloaded from the web, deletion of your files or plain old sticky fingers on the keyboard. Teaching children to use a computer is a vital life skill nowadays but not on your working PC. Buy them another one. If they are playing on computer games within your earshot, turn the speakers off so you are not distracted.
Tell your children which paper they can use and make sure they do not use up your last sheet of white A4 when you are about to print something important.

Explain to your children what you are doing so that they do not think you are ignoring them and simply “playing on the computer” all day. If old enough to understand, explain your business. Maybe it is something they could learn to do and build an income for themselves. It beats playing demonic video games on their X-Box. One 12 year old recently earned $1,200 in a month in an internet business and that is now building every month as he earns residual income.
Most importantly, share your goals with your children. Children will be very motivated to leave you in peace when you tell them you are working to take them to Disneyworld or that other dream vacation you all want.

At the end of the day, we work to live not live to work. Why work all the time and never have time for our loved ones? Find a balance. Set your working hours. It is hard when your children interrupt with something seemingly trivial but give them some notice, hug them, make time to eat together and ensure they know that you are always there for them when it matters but you are also disciplined to work during your working hours. It is a good work ethic and example of self-discipline to pass on to them.

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Copyright © Antonia Stuart-James

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