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Seven Tips for Working at Home With Kids

Aug 17, 2007
You can stay at home with your children while still advancing in your career. So how do you make it work? Here are seven tips.

1. Control your environment.
A clearly designated office will help you stay on task. And an organized workspace will help minimize distractions and make the most of the limited time you have available.

2. Break work into manageable chunks.
Most WAHMs rely on their "to do" lists. When my three children are awake, I strive to give them my full attention, though I always have such a list on the table. The list just seems to grow all day and when naptime (or bedtime) rolls around, I am focused and ready to tackle the tasks at hand.

3. Make the most of quiet time.
When are you most productive? It may be possible for you to get work done during the day (while your children are napping or at school), but, chances are, the best opportunities for productivity will occur when your children are down for the night. My workday, for example, typically begins at 4 a.m. That way, I can spend uninterrupted, quality time with my kids during the day and remain relatively rested.

4. Remember your priorities.
If you find yourself consistently ignoring your children, they are better off in the care of someone who is less distracted.

5. Get help when you need it.
Lesley Spencer is the founder and director of Home Based Working Moms. "I think it is important to understand it is very difficult to be a successful mom and worker at the same time," Spencer says. "If you are working, your children are going to need your attention. Of course, you can get by with short amounts of work or phone calls but repeated attempts to work while your children are with you is not fair to them or you," she says. "I feel it is best to work while your children are asleep or at school. If you are working more than about 10 hours a week, you probably need outside help to give your children the attention they need. Consider part time preschools, Mothers Day Out programs, neighborhood babysitters, family or friends or a babysitting coop to help with your child care needs."

6. Take time off. When your office is always open (and it is right down the hall), it can be difficult to stop yourself from sneaking in just one more task. Establish office hours for yourself, and try to avoid allowing those hours to expand. It helps me to turn off my computer after a certain time each day.

7. Reflect often on the many ways your children are benefiting from your work at home situation. When I start to feel overwhelmed all the unfinished tasks in both my home and my home office, I think about how I am demonstrating to my children that there are, in fact, ways to balance home and family. The path may be difficult at times, but it is certainly worth the effort. And I hope this is a lesson that they will teach to their own children.
About the Author
Susie Cortright is the founder of several popular websites, including BestSelfHelp.com, Susies-Coupons.com and Momscape.com, where you can register to win gift cards from top online merchants.
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