Apparently I was being a bit too territorial — I grew up with four siblings who always messed with my stuff — and I didn’t want anyone in my home office space.
Working from home with kids during the summer break can be challenging, but there are a few ways to make it work.
1. Schedule alternating play dates.
One day your child could have a friend over for a few hours, and then a few days later your child could go over to a friend’s house. Depending on your child’s age, your child and his/her friend could play (and still be supervised) while you work. While you’re not supposed to keep score with regard to friendships, make sure that one parent isn’t watching the kids more often than the other.
2. Find day camps that your kids want to attend.
Churches, Temples and other non-profits usually offer reasonably-priced camps. If you have kids under 16, find out whether or not they can volunteer to be camp helpers. It will give your kids something to do all day other than watch TV or play video games.
3. Create a mini home office within your office.
Set up a little table and chair in your home office for your child to use. You could even give him or her a toy telephone or an old cell phone, tape dispenser, ruler, and safety scissors to help them feel as if they’re working, too. Add plenty of paper and markers to keep them busy.
4. If your child is old enough, involve him or her in your business.
Your child could help you update mailing lists, find articles for you to include in Tweets, or enter other computer information. Your child could also help you fill orders and package your products for you.
5. Take a book trip.
Go to the library or your local bookstore and stock up on books, or buy books online. Most libraries have a collection of DVDs you can check out for free. You could also visit your local Red Box to rent a few movies, but limit the number of movies your kids watch each day. It’s difficult, but try to avoid turning the TV into an electronic babysitter.
6. Work around your kids’ schedule.
When your kids are napping, make calls or send e-mails. Save video or TV time for when they’re awake so you can make calls or answer e-mails. If your kids are older and go to camp or summer school, work while they’re gone, instead of doing laundry, cleaning house or making personal calls.
In my next post, readers share their tips for working this summer with kids around.