Social media this week is full of mumpreneurs commenting on the difficulties of keeping their businesses going whilst the kids are on half term. I sympathise. I’ve been there, but as my youngest child completes his last week in school I have a different perspective. Children need us for so little time that I think it’s really important to make the most of their childhood whilst we can. So how can we, as working parents, balance the needs of our businesses with time for our children? I’m not an expert but here are some of the things that have worked for me.
Getting the work done
Unless we have a team, or even one other person, to help we are still going to have to get work done in the school holidays, how we create time will, to an extent, depend on the age and nature of our children. Things that have worked for me:
- be ready to hit the ‘to do’ list as soon as the children have a nap or go to bed
- swap play dates with other working parents
- pay for a day or two at nursery or out of school clubs
- use activity camps for an intensive few days work whilst the kids have a ‘treat’
- turn the TV and computer games into a positive to buy an hour or two for work
- involve the children
Involving the children
I’ve always found that children love to be involved and to help Mummy and I don’t think that their expectations of something in return are a bad thing. That something might be time to do an activity of their choosing, it might be a game or a financial reward. My then 11 year old daughter loved getting her first ‘payslip’ with the £5 I paid her for help with stuffing envelopes. My son used to be willing to help in return for a video or computer game, now he expects paying! However his help now adds value to my business. So let’s think how children can help, obviously these will vary with the age of the child and their abilities:
- looking for things: play i-Spy when you’re out and about to do some customer or competitor research (How many people are walking dogs in the park? How many people are eating when they stop for a drink in the coffee shop? How many coffee shops and restaurants can you see? How many people are out running?)
- inputting data from all those business cards you’ve collected networking
- taking messages (train them how to deal with calls first)
- researching information
- collating material
- stuffing envelopes
- give them some number work e.g. making graphs to show social media engagement
- ideas for headlines or marketing copy
- taking photos for use in social media or marketing
- posting on social media (within clear guidelines)
- writing blog posts (no I haven’t delegated this one but my daughter has written for me before)
- updating websites etc.
Make it fun and rewarding and you may be helping them academically too. How many kids moan about subjects at school because they don’t see the purpose? If they can see how they are using the skills they’ve acquired to help your business they might approach lessons with a new enthusiasm but do make sure that you’ve explained how their work is helping you and your business.
Get a fresh perspective
Many of the tasks I’ve described are more suitable for older children but even very young children can shake up our thinking. They usually have a very straightforward way of looking at the world and asking them for their opinions can be enlightening for us and confidence building for them. I’ve written more about that in an earlier post
Make the most of this lovely innocent time. Children grow up all too fast and you’ll soon find yourself wondering where the time went. Believe me I speak from experience!
What works for you?
How do you juggle work and school holidays? Can you add some tips to this article? I would love to hear your views, please share in the comments box here.
Just as I was about to hit the publish button a local business shared a great idea for something to do with the children. Mind you it will help their business more than yours but it might be an idea to inspire you. Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/rolfe.east