In today’s post: Struggling to maintain your work-at-home momentum or hours with kids at home? Here are a few ideas to help get them involved and keep them busy.
Many people start working from home so they can stay at home with their small children. As your children age, they eventually start school and activities. For many work-at-home parents, this is an opportunity to ramp up their home business or take on more hours at their work-at-home job. Then summer rolls around or a big snowstorm rolls into town and suddenly you have to figure out how to still maintain those hours and that momentum with a few more distractions.
We’ve all heard the standard working from home with kids advice:
- Set boundaries
- Close the office door
- Establish working hours
- Get up early/stay up late
Especially for little ones, they may not understand home office boundaries and working hours. They need to be kept busy, too. Perhaps there are a few activities within your own work-at-home routine they can help with. I know my own niece really looks forward to “working with mommy!”
Depending on the age of the child, this could be as simple as counting and writing down how many pens and pencils you have on hand. This isn’t something that’s really that important, but it’s going to keep them busy and make them feel they are part of the family biz.
If your children are older and you are involved in some type of retail business, what better time than to do inventory? Print off a tracking sheet – or bring up your spreadsheet on a tablet – and have them make sure everything is accounted for and where it should be. Nothing is worse than getting an order and not being able to locate it.
2. Writing Thank You Notes
Whether you have an ecommerce business or are a freelance service provider, there’s a good chance you send a thank you note from time to time. If you send quite a few, let your kids get a jump start on those cards. Maybe instead of including just your name, this time they can say “Thanks for supporting our family business.”
3. Organization & Filing
As is age-appropriate, give your kids a few organizing and filing tasks. This could be simply cleaning out that top junk drawer and putting pens and paperclips into holders. If you have older children, maybe they are ready for filing things like receipts and invoices. And let’s not forget that shred pile! As long as you have a finger-proof shredder, that’s fun for almost all ages.
They can also put books back on bookshelves, and organize them if desired.
And don’t forget those household chores like dusting, vacuuming, wiping down surfaces. My office is the most neglected space in my home even though it’s where I spend most of my time.
4. Data Entry
Many home business contacts are kept online anyway these days, but what about that stack of Christmas cards that are sitting around waiting for you to write down the return addresses into your address book? Regardless of whether your address book is physical or digital, this can be a great activity for tweens and teens.
So, you’re probably going to have to break out the cash for this one. And in addition to paying, perhaps you can make a little fun too. Let them play housecleaning business. Set them up with a little cleaning tote and apron. Give them tasks like dusting, sweeping, wiping down counters. When they are done, teach them how to write out an invoice and receipt for payment.
I love seeing kids who love to cook. It’s always been something that brings me a lot of joy after all. If your child loves to try new recipes and is responsible enough to use the stovetop or microwave, perhaps they can be assigned lunch duty. Even if you aren’t comfortable with them using heat, maybe they can experiment with some fancy sandwich recipes or jar salads they find on Pinterest. No-bake desserts are always welcome around here, too!
7. Let Them Forge Their Own Path
Maybe your child has no interest in your type of job. Maybe your skill set is something like numbers or marketing, but they have a creative talent like music or art. There are so many online resources available today, give them some free time to hone their own talents. And some of these talents may be things you need help with in your business. Internship!
- Fender Play – guitar
- Raddish – cooking
- Scratch – coding
- Outschool – photography, graphic design and more
- Udemy – a wide variety of online courses
8. Reward Continued Learning
There may not be homework assigned during this break, but you know just how important it is to continue to hone skills and learn new skills. There is a wide variety of online learning portals – many of them free – that can help your child work on any trouble areas or areas of particular interest. This learning time can also help establish a schedule and that’s a block of time you can use for work.
A few sites to look into:
- Khan Academy
- ABCmouse – get two months for $5
- Curious World
- Teachers Pay Teachers
Final Thoughts on How to Work With Kids at Home
Above all, make it fun. Keep a chore chart, aka “timesheet.” Use this as an opportunity to teach them about receiving a paycheck for a job well done.
Now that they have a little cash in their pocket – you did pay them a little something, didn’t you? – you can teach them about saving for a rainy day and even giving to those less fortunate.
Also read: How to Make Money When You're Stuck at Home