Friday, June 21, 2013

For Work-at-Home Moms: How to Get Work Done with Kids Around

To say that the past five weeks had been busy weeks for me is an understatement. I had been facilitating a series of workshops for my clients in the past weekends and most of them were done out-of-town. I also had an out-of-town speaking engagement a few days before one of the teambuilding workshops I facilitated in Tagaytay. Moreover, I write articles and books in between these workshops and speaking engagements. I had been doing all these and more in the past weeks that we do not have a household help.

You might ask: How do you get to do all the (business-related) work given your circumstances?

Aside from grace from God and help and support from my spouse, I give credit to strategies I learned in the past years as our helpers come and go. These strategies are very useful whether you work from home or run a home-based business. I work from home to do writing jobs and HR projects. But I run my consulting and training business as well. Let me share my time-tested and kid-tested strategies with you.

Teach your kids to play on their own.– When you’re a new and first-time parent, you have a tendency to think that you need to be with your kid ALL the time. But the truth is, you need to give your child some time alone to teach him to be independent and to teach him to entertain himself. I know this to be true because I was like that when I was just starting out as a new mom. Good thing I love to read and I learned from the books and articles I have read that teaching and allowing kids to have some time alone is also good for them and to us parents as well. You can teach this to your child gradually. Start by giving him five minutes of independent playtime. Then, slowly extend over time or with practice. This helps develop not only your child’s independence but also his creativity and imagination because he does not need to be dependent on you all the time in taking the lead on what he will play with and how.
Farmer Mateo and his produce.

If you have more than one kid, teach and encourage them to play with each other.– In the beginning, I thought and felt that it would be very difficult to have more than one kid. But as my boys grew older, I learned to appreciate having more than one child. One of my joys now as a mother is to watch my boys play with each other. I am amazed actually at how much they enjoy being and playing together. My youngest who is one year and a half loves to play with his older brother. He laughs so hard at his antics. He wants to follow him everywhere. So lately, I ask my eldest child to keep his brother busy by playing with him when both of them are awake and I have some work that really needs to be done. This strategy promotes camaraderie between my boys and teaches my eldest all about responsibility. The great thing about working from home is that I can easily step in when they suddenly fight over a toy or someone cries.
Doctor Yanthy and his patient.


Schedule to do some work while the kids are asleep.– I had been employing this strategy since I had my first child. It’s easier to work when the house is quiet and the things around the house are not a mess. You can do this early in the morning like what I’m doing now as I write this piece. Or you can work during their nap times after lunch (that is if your kids still nap.) I used to get a lot of work done in the afternoon when my eldest was still a baby and a toddler. Now that he is four years old and a preschooler, most of the time, he doesn’t want to take a nap anymore. You can also work at night after the kids go to bed. It’s quite challenging though to work at night if your kids go to bed late. Thus, it would be very helpful if you train your kids to sleep by 8 or 9 o’clock.
Mateo sleeps in the carrier.

Instill in your kids a love for learning and reading.– One of the things I’m very grateful for is that my kids love to learn whether with me or on their own. My kids are bookworms, especially my eldest. He would read on his own even with no one asking him. It’s one of his favorite past times. And because my eldest loves to read, his younger brother imitates him. My youngest pretends that he’s reading, too! I love it when I see him make up words while holding a book in his hands. So my kids learn by reading while I do some work on my laptop or while I do my own reading. Since my eldest already knows how to write, practices his writing skills, and loves to draw, his younger brother follows his lead. I therefore make sure that I have a lot of paper, crayons and pencils available to keep their hands busy. I also feed their curiosity by answering their questions and encouraging them to be observant. This practice has further developed them to be always curious to learn and to be keen observers. By answering their questions most of the time, they are encouraged to ask more and develop the attitude to seek understanding of something.

Our little genius.

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