There’s nothing better than working from home. You can set your own work schedule and pretty much do whatever you please, as long as it doesn’t effect your productivity. You don’t have to worry about cubicles, bosses, supervisors, annoying co-workers or anything else that comes with a regular job.
If you’re working a home based business, you’ve got your computer on your lap or desk, your feet are kicked up on an ottoman, your cell phone is right next to you and your income potential is unlimited.
Everything is as it should be. Life as a work from home entrepreneur couldn’t be better!
And then, from out of no where, comes your toddler. He spots you from the other side of the room. You try not to make eye contact but you just can’t help yourself….he’s so stinkin’ cute!
He starts heading my direction, slightly whining yet excited to get to me. I know that the moment I show him attention, he’s gonna want to play or be picked up. And when that happens, say goodbye to any train of thought or motivation I just had, because it’s a thing of the past.
Uh, oh. He has reached my chair, and now he’s screaming so I pick him up. What feels like minutes is really only a few seconds, and the entire time I’m thinking, “Just use your words son! Stop screaming!”
I pick him up to console him for a while, and as I do, he lunges for my computer in an attempt to smash the keys. He wants to do what Dad does! Yet, his nick name is Bam Bam. Not sure why. But my keyboard knows why!
Mom is in the back, doing what Mom’s do all day, and here I am, wondering how the heck I accomplish anything during the day, because this little scene happens over and over again.
I try to set him down near some toys but he’s not ready to play and doesn’t want to be on the floor. He wants Dad to carry him around to every photo in the entire house.
I try giving him food, but he just squeals some more.
Then finally, Mom comes to the rescue, takes him from my arms and sets him by his toys…..and guess what, he’s happy again!
She then says, “Why didn’t you just set him down by his toys?”
What the heck! I just tried that!
Then, she goes back to doing what she does all day.
And, the game starts again. Avoid eye contact. Avoid eye contact.
Does any of this sound familiar to you stay at home Mom’s and Dad’s?
If so, I may have a few ideas that might help you.
Tips for Working from Home with a Toddler!
Now, my little boy isn’t, in any way, a terror child. He’s probably still considered a baby, and not a toddler. He’s as cute as they come, but loves to spend time with his Dad. Lucky Me! And if I could get paid for spending time with my son, then I would do that for a living, and not work. And even though I don’t have to put in a ton of hours in my business, I still have to put in a few uninterrupted hours to stay productive.
So here are a few tips for working from home with a toddler that might help you stay productive without feeling bad about neglecting your child. Some of these ideas are common sense, others might be something new to you.
- Avoid working in the same room as your toddler. I think this one is common sense, but if you’re the only parent at home, this one might not work so well. If you must be in the same room, or if your toddler is clingy, sometimes it helps to stay just out of their line of sight.
- Avoid eye contact. This one is a tough one, especially if you think your own kids are cute, which you should. If you think your own child is ugly, something is wrong with you… just sayin’. But this one is true. The moments you make eye contact with your child, they’ll start heading your direction.
- Get the right toys. In my vast experience as a parent, (I’m a dad of four), a child’s attention span is almost zero. So the more elaborate, yet simple, a toy is, the more it will occupy your child. The toys you see in the doctors offices, you know the ones which have all the beads that slide up and down on little bars, those are a great example. My son could spend hours on those things and still be just as interested in it the next go around.
- Get them glued to TV. That sounds bad, I know. But what I mean is, get them glued to learning shows. One of our kids used to watch “Baby Einstein” for some time. She loved them and was learning at the same time. She has always been very articulate because of it.
- Get a cardboard box. If nothing else seems to work, when all else fails, just get a cardboard box. Christmas experiences have taught me this. Sometimes, you can spend a fortune on the newest technology or toy for your kids, and the thing they play with the most is the cardboard box it came in. There’s something about climbing in and out of a box that every kids loves.
- Retreat to an office space. If you’re not the only parent at home, an office space can be your paradise island. However, if you don’t have one, find another room to work in. Keep in mind, your environment can effect your attitude towards work. So don’t pick some dark bedroom to work in. Choose a place that’s inspiring and energetic. Consider adding a designated office space, with a door, to work in and make your own. Luckily I have a very involved wife who occupies and teaches our children most of the time, so I can retreat when needed.
In closing, the entire reason I started a home based business was so I could be with my kids more often, just not all the time. I still have to get some work done during the day, and without some strategy, my work day disappears very quickly. I’ve come to realize that an few hours of undisturbed, laser focused work is always more productive than a full day of unfocused work.
I hope these tips have helped and would love to learn from you as well. Is there something you use during your day to create some space between you and your children during work hours?