By Elaine K. Stephen
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Can you really be a work at home Mom with a toddler in the home? Yes, you can! Here are my hints and tips for making it happen.
1. Work Schedule Set a schedule and stick to it. Your toddler will learn your schedule, grow to appreciate it and keep you to it! I always get up at least 2 hours before my son to work in quiet. I devote 1 hour to my son when he wakes up for bathroom duties, breakfast and quality time and 1 full hour for lunch and quality time which he needs and appreciates. Working while he naps in the afternoon is more great quiet time. Set a quitting time and stick to it. My son is so used to the schedule, if I am running a little late, he lets me know. No he can’t tell time, it’s the old biological clock kicking in.
2. Talking To Your Toddler About Work Your toddler does not want you to work. He wants you to play and give him 100% of your attention all day, every day. Unfortunately that is not possible when you work at home. Talk to your toddler like he is an adult. I’m not saying you should try to teach your toddler algebra. What I mean is speak calmly, clearly, firmly, to the point and with respect to your child. The same way you would speak to any adult or expect to be spoken to. Children understand approximately 1500 words more than they verbalize. They will listen and learn more if you don’t sound irritated or speak “baby talk” to them. For example: When lunch hour is up and my son doesn’t want me to go back to work, I explain, “If Mommy doesn’t work at home we wouldn’t get to spend lunch hour together at all because Mommy would have to go to an office building everyday and you would have to go to a babysitter‘s everyday. Please allow Mommy to go back to work now so I can continue to have lunch hour with you every day. Thank you for being such a good boy for Mommy.” Say please and thank you!
3. Teach Your Toddler To Respect Your Work Area You must have a designated work area that is mostly but not completely off limits to your child. You must have a designated play area that is child safe, within hearing and if possible seeing distance of one another. Through out the day, one ear and if possible one eye must be on your child while you work. Communicate with your child while you work and instill the off limit rules at the same time. For example: When my child sings a song, I sign along with him. If he comes over to my work area he can stand close but not touch my papers or computer. If he does touch, I calmly and firmly say, “I love singing with you but please do not touch Mommy’s work papers.” When he removes his hand say thank you!
4. Entertaining Your Toddler While You Work Your toddler’s designated play area must have plenty of age appropriate books and toys. However, do not to allow him to access all of them at once. Your child will become bored of all of them quickly and come to you for entertainment. Rotate the toys and books from a place he can not access to his designated play area every month or so. Have a selection of inexpensive children’s DVDs or Video tapes and teach your toddler how to work the machine. It only took 2 1/2 days for my 3 year old to learn how to put in, play and change a DVD by himself. I didn’t teach him how to work the TV controls so he couldn’t watch shows that are not suitable. If you are interacting with your child while he watches his shows don‘t worry the TV is not being a babysitter!
5. Playing Work With Mommy Sometimes your toddler will just have to be involved with Mommy and her work, Create a toddler work area that is very similar to yours. An inexpensive child table and chairs, an old or toy telephone, calculator, inexpensive children’s learning PC, the unused back side of discarded work papers, color pens and pencils. When he just will not play on his own, Give him tasks to complete. For example I say, “Call Grandma on the phone and tell her how many orders we had this morning.” The phone isn’t really hooked up but he has to use his imagination to keep the conversation going and he is entertained for a while.
6.When Your Toddler is a Little Sick or Cranky Every child wants extra time and attention when they feel a little sick or cranky. Unfortunately, most work at home Moms just can‘t take the day off if it is not an emergency. I found a little trick that works the best for me and my son. I comfort him on my lap while I work. Sounds impossible to do but it’s not. Yes, the work goes a little slower but my son gets the extra love and attention he needs and the best part is he gets bored within 20 minutes and goes off on his own to find something more interesting to do while I finish the work that has to be done!
7. End The Work Day Right! Select something that your toddler can do that symbolizes the end of your work day and the start of your evening with him! I allow my son to turn off the computer monitor. This is the only time he is allowed to touch my computer. It is special task that makes him feel grown up, important and in charge for a few seconds. It has become a fun and meaningful ritual for both of us!
All it takes to work successfully at home with a toddler is a little preparation, a lot of patience and an abundance of love!
Keywords: home based business,work at home mom,wahm,work from home mom
About the Author
Elaine K. Stephen, Henryville, PA
More Details about work at home mom here. Elaine K. Stephen is a Christian work at home Mom with two web sites. Angel Cloud Gifts and the Inspirational Gift Gallery