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Working Your Stay at Home Business with Children Underfoot

Aug 18, 2007
Running a home business is tough, especially with children underfoot. There are a number of demands on your time, and it's hard keeping the right balance for your family.

These are demands you have to be realistic about. The main reason many parents choose to start a home business is so that they can work at home with their kids, but this is not always practical It can be necessary to find daycare for the children if you are to be sufficiently productive and professional in your work.

This won't be necessary for every work at home parent, but it's common enough. Some find alternatives, such as trading childcare with friends. This works well if you only occasionally need a few hours with the kids out of the house.

If the hours you work are highly flexible you have a tremendous advantage. You may not need childcare help. Being able to work in the early mornings or late evenings is wonderful for productivity. It may not solve all your need for working time, but anything that frees up your day so that you can be there for your family is a good thing.

I've found that inviting other children to come over and play can help with available productive time. It can take a while for this to work, as the kids work out how they play together, but once they've settled in, they won't be asking you for much beyond meals or snacks. Just make sure plenty of toys, games and art supplies are available. And that you know what's going on when things get suspiciously quiet.

Tiring out your kids is another great tactic. Include time in your day to have fun with them. If they've played with you, they're more likely to be willing to let you do the things you need to get done.

Even young children can appreciate having a computer of their own. My daughter loves to be on the computer, working next to me. This allows me to keep working while she has fun and just a bit of my attention. This only works if you don't need quiet, of course, as children's games are rarely silent.

If you have a website, you can set up a page with links to your child's favorite websites. I have things set up this way for my daughter. Her homepage is the page which has her favorite sites. Since she's not reading consistently yet, I created buttons for her to associate with each website.

Encourage your kids to be independent. My daughter is 5 and is quite capable of getting many of her own snacks. She asks me what she can have, and in most cases they are where she can get them. Having my office in easy sight of the kitchen helps keep her behaving, of course. I keep a lot of fruits and vegetables available as easy snacks.

These tactics can make being a work at home parent much more pleasant and solve some of the stressors you may face. One of the most common goals for work at home parents is to have more time for their family. With good planning, this goal can easily be reached.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.homewiththekids.com/blog/ about being a work at home mom. She offers more tips on successfully running a stay at home business on her site.
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