Finding time to spend with your kids when you're working from home can be a challenge. Use these tips from other work-at-home moms (WAHMs) to ensure you're getting the family time you'd like.
- Give Your Kids Time Targets
"Give them a kitchen timer with the time set to how long you need to work. This works best when you can parcel out your tasks into 30-minute blocks or so. When the bell rings, your kids can let you know that work time is up and playtime begins. Then you can reset it to go off when it's time to go back to work."
- Have Dinner Together
"In our house, dinnertime always was and still is a quality time. We don't answer the phone, we take our time eating and we enjoy great conversation. When my daughter was in band and had practice at 5:30, we would sometimes do 4pm dinners so we could still eat together."
- Do One Thing as a Family Each Day
"This can even be watching a favorite TV show. For example, we watch Survivor each Thursday night. We also like to play a great card game called Five Crowns. It's tough to balance mom time and work time. For us, this has worked."
- Put Them on the Payroll
"My kids are a little older, so I put them on my payroll. Simple tasks are good, such as putting labels on packages or filing papers. It instills a work ethic, they understand what Mommy's doing in her office and kids can take real pride in doing 'grown-up' jobs, all while spending time with you. Plus, paying them can be tax deductible for your business."
- Set Aside Money for Fun Activities
"I knew we would all be making some sacrifices, so I took 25 percent of the money that I made from my business and put it into our 'fun kitty.' We would decide how to spend that money together. Our first decision was a vacation to Hawaii. That was something we'd wanted to do, but we never really had enough money for all of us. That 'fun kitty' plus our vacation savings made it possible."
- Schedule Family Obligations First
"One of the awesome things about having your own home business is that you decide when to work. Here's how I did it: I took my family's schedule and marked on my business calendar all of the times for my son's baseball games and out-of-town tournaments, important family dates and other busy times. In my son's senior year of high school, I drastically cut back my work schedule during April, May and June to be available for all of his extra activities. It did affect my business somewhat, but I worked really hard over the summer to make up for it and don't regret it one bit."
- Be Honest with Your Kids
"Let them know how serious your work is but that if something is important, they can come see you. I had a family meeting to tell them of my plans and how much time my business would require of me, and I asked for their suggestions. That way, they felt part of the decision."
- Create Sacred Time
"I don't plan any work stuff from dinnertime until 7pm. We have dinner, do homework and bathe the kids. It's just regular family stuff but I never miss it."
- Work after Their Bedtime
"After my kids are in bed, I make any calls to customers that I need to. This is also a great time to take care of my paperwork and other office stuff. It does take some time and planning but the life I have now is heaven and I feel blessed to be home every day. I would never go back to what I was doing before."