Here’s a list to help you put structure in your home while running your “at home” business. This will ease the tension and give you quiet times in the day to run your business. I can tell you from experience and training others that if you have structure throughout your day, you’ll have more stability in your home.
1. Set up bins (baskets, tubs, Tupperware) of several different types of toys for each area of the house. Put them where the children can reach them so they don’t have to come get you to help them get their toys.
2. Make sure the toys are area appropriate. For example: If you’re on the phone with a client, make the toys in that bin quiet toys.
3. Stay strong and do NOT give in when they whine to play with the toys in a certain room. Otherwise the purpose is lost. It might take a few weeks to help them get into this habit but it’s well worth the time invested.
4. Set up a container of toys for in the car!
5. Set up an office just for the child(ren). Depending on how many children you have, set up an office just for the them. Give them lots of pens, pencils, papers, crayons, calculator, a real phone not plugged in, tape (if you don’t think they will use $20 worth daily), stapler if they’re old enough, paper clips if they won’t swallow them, etc. AGE APPROPRIATE is the KEY here.
6. Block out your time. Schedule in blocks of time according to your children’s biorhythms. Everyone has different times of the day that they work best at certain things. So by combining all of these needs and blocking time, the kids come to expect a schedule and are more ready for the day and “each segment” of the day. This is highly important to children of all ages and will give you certain times each day to work your business, do the housecleaning, etc. Also, when something unexpected happens that could throw off the day, it’s easier for them to handle it than when there’s no structure. Structure allows the kids better focus and stability.
I’d like to focus on this one aspect for a moment. A schedule does not make you rigid. I hear these thoughts from women all day long.
“But if I get a planner and schedule in my time I’ll be a slave to it.”
Planning does not make you a perfectionist or married to your plan. YOU are the one who controls what you schedule throughout your day. I used to schedule three or more hours of free time for the kids AND myself. Now that I have teenagers, it’s different. The schedule is based on school hours and their activities. However, there is still structure in that.
When my children were of mind molding age it was great to be on a schedule. Everyone knew what to expect and when to expect it. This form of structure gave them a type of stability and a sense of peace. When we needed to veer off schedule or had an emergency come up, the kids had a much easier time going with the flow. Also, because we were structured, we wouldn’t fall so far behind in the housework or homework that we had to take a day off to catch up if something came up that changed our plans. The key here is to have as “few” emergencies come up as possible.
How you react to things is how the kids will react to things. If your tire blows but you’re able to get to the side of the road safely, then behaving in a matter of fact way, (ie: the tire blew, so we’ll put on a new one or call AAA.) will help everyone realize this is somewhat normal and that you just roll with the punches.
So back to balancing…
7. Be flexible to a point, but keep the structure. Children of all ages NEED structure. (Adults too for that matter.)
8. Make time for the kids. Schedule in playtime with your children. I used to have at least one to two “baking with the kids” days throughout the month. No I wasn’t perfect, or even close to a Martha Stewart type, but I had structure and that’s what allowed for certain tasks to be done each day, week, and month to get accomplished. Even if it meant running a business. Now some businesses take more of your time than others. So structure is a must. It will be more difficult, but not impossible.
You have to take control of your environment as mom when you have young children so that as they grow, it’s easier for them to see the difference between right and wrong as they grow. Schedule in FREE TIME/ME TIME for everyone. Take time together looking at different leaves or flowers. Listen for birds chirping and bugs buzzing. The ways of the world are going faster and faster. But we don’t have to go with it.