I've been working from home since my youngest daughter was born. It's been a great adventure and I'm so blessed to be able to stay home with my kids and bring some income to the family budget. I love it.
The key to making this work for our family has been having our daughters work with me in my businesses from the beginning. Now I know, that sounds impossible. And obviously a newborn can't stick labels on my mailing etc. But as soon as my kids could walk and talk I started training them to be little entrepreneurs and helpers, beginning first with helping me around the house so that I could get the business work done.
Here are a few quick steps you can take with your little ones to start them on the road to success in helping you with your business and even toward helping them get their own home business started when they're older.
1. While they're still in arms, use a sling or a backpack to carry baby with you while you work. Talk about what you're doing and how they can help you when they're older. The key at this age is have them WITH you as much as possible and then use nap time to get those things done that might be impossible to do with a young one strapped to you.
2. When your little ones can walk, have them help you with some simple tasks. . . filling up the dog food, folding washcloths, snapping beans. Always talk about how much help they are to you and how much you'll love it when they're ready to do this job all by themselves. Before you know it they'll be saying, “I can do it mom!"
3. Praise them often for their efforts. They may not put the fork on the right side of the plate but it's there and it helped. Let them know it! Make simple jobs easy for them. Put items in drawers that they can reach. For instance, a two or three year old can easily set the table with silverware, but it would really help them if they had a placemat to tell them where each piece goes and if the flatware was in a drawer at their level. You can easily make a vinyl placemat a silverware map with a sharpie. Just draw each piece on there and use the placemats at every meal letting your child set the table.
4. Let them work the business with you. In the beginning that might just be having them sit in the high chair or booster seat at the table while you work the computer and they put paperclips in Dixie cups. Or buy some tape and construction paper and have them tape away . . . it's cheap and you're using items that they'll be using in the future to really help you with your business. As soon as they're ready, have them put the stickers and postage stamps on your mailings, strap the packing tape on your boxes (it doesn't have to be perfect!) sort and/or file your papers, etc. Again, the key when they're young is working with them and encouraging them.
5. Let them work independently when they're ready. Kids are often ready to take on bigger responsibilities before you think they are. A 10 year old can easily handle the checkbook and just imagine how great it will be for his math skills too - plus the bank checks his work!
Involve your young kids in your business from the beginning. You'll be amazed at how the investment of time (and maybe some frustration) in the early days will pay off greatly down the road when your children can handle huge parts of your business without you because they've been well trained.
Annette Yen and her daughters have worked together in their home-based business from the beginning. You can learn more about them at their website http://www.kidspartybusiness.com Find out more tips for raising your kids to be entrepreneurs at http://www.showkidsthemoney.com