If you are a parent in business then you know there’s nothing your children like more than attention, and the less they get, the more they want. And you know what? They really deserve the attention they seek.
It’s natural that they want to spend time with you, to play and experience the reassuring security of knowing that you’re there. The problem is that children never really seem to get enough attention, and you as a business parent have to work every once in a while if you hope to make a go of your new enterprise.
If you have kids and decide to start a home-based business, inevitably you’ll have competition between the time that you need to devote to your children and your business.
The decisions you make early on in dealing with this natural conflict can have a dramatic impact both on the ultimate success of your business and on your relationship with your children.
Kids do eventually grow up, and as you may be surprised to find out, you will someday be working away for hours at a time without interruption.
Until that day arrives, however, try these suggestions for handling your children and business:
- Keep them busy.
If you’re going to let your kids hang out with you in the office, set them up with things to do: an easel for painting, lots of crayons, paper, glue, scissors, or whatever else keeps them busy and creative.
Here’s a tip, though: make sure that whatever you give them to keep them busy does not require your constant intervention or attention.
Avoid anything that may result in a big, sloppy mess.
- Involve them in simple work tasks.
Nothing is more boring for most adults than folding letters or brochures and stuffing and stamping envelopes.
Guess what? Your kids probably won’t find those things boring at all. Not only will they enjoy helping you, but they will also feel that they are doing something important and worthwhile.
And, of course, they are.
- Hire a nanny or sitter.
If you can’t (or don’t want to) juggle your kids and work simultaneously, by all means hire a nanny or a sitter to come keep your children occupied and out of your hair. You can have the best of both worlds: working at home while still having your kids nearby and accessible.
- Work around their schedule.
Because you’re the boss and business parent, you get to decide when you’ll report to work (that alone is why many people long to start their own business).
Why not set aside a certain time each day to take your kids to play in a park, go to a library, ride bikes, or simply go for a walk?
If you want to stay accessible to your clients, just bring your mobile phone along.
- Keep your office your office.
Although many people integrate their offices throughout their home, we believe your office should be your office. It should be the one place that, when you close the door, you’re removed from the day-to-day distractions of friends and family.
A closed door means others, including children, need to respect your privacy, peace, and quiet. You can decide to make your office off limits to your kids — and you may need to, depending on your particular situation.
Just be sure your kids know that you’re available in case of emergency, which includes emotional traumas when they’re in dire need of a shoulder to cry on and a big hug!