Achieving a comfortable work-life balance isn’t easy when you’re trying to manage a home business or freelancing career. Working from home can offers enviable flexibility and convenience, but trying to successfully juggle parenting and work responsibilities can also be a difficult challenge. During the school year, most parents try to get the bulk of their work done while their children are at school, finishing up after the kids are tucked in for the night. But summer vacation throws a huge monkey wrench into even the most smoothly running home businesses that may require a few adjustments to both work and family routines.
With schools getting out and summer vacations starting, here are some tips from moms who have been there on how to keep your home business running smoothly while the kids are home for the summer:
- Set boundaries. Children are all about immediate gratification but they can be taught to respect the boundaries you require to operate your business. Keep boundaries simple, understandable and age appropriate. For example, closing the office door to signal that you are on the phone or working on deadline is a signal even young children can understand.
- Clearly define exceptions. Kids being kids, work-at-home parents must expect interruptions for emergencies, but your and your children will likely have very different definitions of “emergency.” Clearly define what constitutes an emergency and when it is okay to interrupt. Giving your children specific examples and engaging in a little role playing can be more effective than a list of verbal rules in helping children understand your expectations.
- Volume control. Children are noisy which can be distracting if you are trying to concentrate or if your work requires creativity. Setting rules about appropriate indoor and outdoor behavior and activities can help, but children are prone to boisterous play. Try using an audible cue to remind children to keep it down or take their play outside. Try ringing a bell when the decibel level starts rising inside your home. The sound cuts through other noise, catches children’s attention and is more effective than yelling.
To be continued