3 Comments

Summary:

In my school district, kids get out of school as early as 2:45 pm and as late as 4:15 pm. If you start working after the kids leave for school, you can usually get around six or seven hours of work done. Most people tend to […]

Kids arrive home from schoolIn my school district, kids get out of school as early as 2:45 pm and as late as 4:15 pm. If you start working after the kids leave for school, you can usually get around six or seven hours of work done. Most people tend to work at least eight hours per day — so how do you deal with the after-school time, when work still needs to be done?

You may need to help the younger ones with homework or teach them study skills. You may need to switch into chauffeur mode to get the kids to sports, music lessons or club activities. Everyone has different needs and situations. With that in mind, I’ve come up with a list of suggestions of things that you can do to keep your kids happy and meet your deadlines:

  • Sign up the kids for after-school programs: Some schools have a program on campus. Many nearby daycare centers send vans to pick up the kids.
  • Hire a student: Some high schoolers finish school early enough to hang with your kids and help with homework. It helps if the high schooler can drive so they can come to your place and take the kids to the park or the library. This approach worked well for me last year. If it appeals to you, check your local colleges as well. Colleges may have a bulletin board or some other job notification system where you can advertise this kind of work.
  • Make a schedule: This is the approach I’m now using, and so far, so good. When the elementary kids arrive home, they have about 30 minutes to chill and eat snacks. Then one hour of homework, quiet and reading time. That time frame removes the temptation to rush through homework to go outside or do something fun. If they finish homework early, they still have to wait the full hour before playtime begins.
  • Take turns with other parents: Find other work-from-home parents to take turns in watching the kids. That way, you can get a couple of afternoons to yourself.
  • Pay another parent to help: When I still had a corporate job and my son needed to be somewhere right before I got off work, a good friend took him for me while I picked him up. Though we do things for each other all the time, this regular carpooling warranted a little extra.
  • Treat the afternoon as family time: Give yourself a break and enjoy spending a few hours with your kids, preparing for dinner and helping with homework. Finish your work in the evening after they’ve gone to bed. Instead of lunch breaks, take late afternoon breaks. But still, walk away from the computer for at least five minutes several times a day for health’s sake. Oh, and be careful not to get food and drink on the keyboard.
  • Set aside time on the weekend: If your situation doesn’t give you enough time during the week, pick a time on the weekend to do your work. It helps to have a home office so the kids know not to disturb mom or dad while they’re working, unless it’s an emergency (note that a kid’s definition of “emergency” will probably not be the same as yours, so you might want to discuss that beforehand). No home office? Create a work area that signals to the kids that mom or dad is at work.

Web working gives parents the flexibility to be there for their kids and put family first. They don’t have to explain themselves to coworkers and bosses when they need to take care of family business. I love working out of my home office as it provides a well-rounded life.

How do you manage your family around your web working career?

  1. I’m lucky if I get 5.5 hours of work time between the time I get home from taking my 6yo to school, and the time I have to leave to pick her back up. It’s very hard to get anything done in the after-school hours. Her autism makes her very high maintenance that time of day when she’s very stimulated from the school day.

    I use several of the methods you describe to get more time in – working later in the evening after my husband is home to handle her needs, and working after everyone is in bed. I also work some on the weekends.

    I do have one help that many people don’t. I am lucky enough that we have two sets of grandparents living here in town that are happy to have their little angel grandchild over after school to play when I really need that time to work.

    Share
  2. “Treat the afternoon as family time: Give yourself a break and enjoy spending a few hours with your kids, preparing for dinner and helping with homework. Finish your work in the evening after they’ve gone to bed.”

    Best advice here. Don’t fight it. Enjoy your kids. They are only young for a short time.

    Share
  3. [...] Manage in-person interruptions. This might not be so much or a problem for some web workers. However, those working in coworking centers, and those working from offices in family homes, might find their time invaded by people desiring a friendly chat. Have some phrases ready to rescue you from unexpected visitors. Try: “I hate to cut our visit short, but I am about to enter an online webinar. Thanks for stopping by.” Home office workers’ interruptions might include significant others, children and others living in their home. Check out my tips for meeting deadlines while keeping your kids happy. [...]

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post