Don't Do It Yourself

5 Tips for Working from Home When You Have Kids

working from home with kidsRight now, I have a pretty sweet setup. My son is in school, so I have six hours a day that I can use to get work done.

But it wasn't always this way. Working from home as you attempt to build a business can be tough when you have kids at home. Here are some tips to help you juggle your kids and your entrepreneurship:

1. Hire Some Help

I hired someone to watch my son twice a week for three hours before he was old enough for preschool. People regularly asked my why my son was being watched when I worked from home. Isn't the point of working from home to avoid getting child care?

Don't underestimate the power of uninterrupted work time. Those six hours a week were my most productive. Knowing that was my only time to accomplish the most important tasks pushed me to make the most of that time.

2. Work When the Kids are Asleep

I spent a lot of time working in the evening after my son went to sleep, as well as during nap time. However, my time in the evening was limited by the fact that my husband wanted to spend time with me (not that I'm complaining).  I tried to keep nap time for smaller tasks that I knew I could accomplish in a smaller time period, since you never know when nap time is going to end.

3. Coordinate Your Schedule

You have to look ahead when you have kids. This means prioritizing your workload, and seeing what you have coming up. I made it a point to look at my schedule a week out, and determine which items should be done while my son was in child care, and which could be banged out while he was napping. Working around children as an entrepreneur or freelancer requires planning.

4. Take Breaks to Amuse the Kids

If you work while your kids are awake, take breaks to amuse them. In many cases, my son was good for an hour or two if I played with him devotedly for 20 to 30 minutes. If you have more than one child, you can encourage them to play with each other. My son is an only child, and he's always been good at amusing himself, but I did want to make sure he spent quality time with me.

5. Let Them in the Room with You

Finally, you can let your child in the room with you. If I have a couple things to finish up after my son gets home from school, he brings his homework into my office, and we get our work done together. You can let your children play in the room while you work, or even set them up with their own “office” setup. When my son was four, he loved sitting as his child-sized table, in the office, and working on projects — just like mommy.

This allows your children to ask you questions if they need to, and interact with you. It can slow your work down, but it's better than getting nothing done.

What are your tips for getting work done with kids in the house?