It’s time to take stock: is your family really benefitting from you working from home?

It’s easy to get buried in the needs of your work when you work at home. A little bit of planning, however, can go a long way towards making working at home a wonderful experience for all. Your family is why you decided to work at home, so don’t let the stresses and demands of work put a dampener on that.

You’ve beaten the obstacles and found a way to work at home, whether by finding a job or starting a home business – sounds idyllic to everyone else around you. But is your work getting in the way of spending time with your family?

Maybe it’s time to make sure you are getting the right balance between working from home and your family. Here are some easy steps you can take to make sure you’re spending the time you intended with your family:

1. Make time for play
Family activities are a great way to relax and take a break from work – something as simple as taking a walk around the block or going to the park can do wonders. You could can play games, bake and cook together or do other fun activities around the house. The point is to simply have fun as a family and have time to talk to and enjoy being around each other.

You can also plan bigger trips (treats) for some family bonding by going to the museum, an amusement park or anything else that your family will enjoy together.

Some families have a family night on Fridays or Saturday evenings where they watch a film together with some snacks prepared or even play a favourite board game – the ideas are only limited to your imagination. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun with your family. Just make time for fun.

If you’re married, make sure you plan a regular date night with your spouse – celebs do it, but normal couples can do it, too. Frequency may depend on how old your children are and how often you can get babysitting, but it is important for your marriage to have time together as a couple where you just enjoy being around each other and not talk about the kids.

2. Be there for your children’s activities
Working from home usually means you have more flexibility to do the important things for your family. If your children are involved in sports, acting, singing or other activities, make sure you are there for their games, performances or other important events. It will let your children know that they are very important to you and it also gives you a chance to get to know other parents, too, and let your hair down.

3. Set rules and boundaries that everyone understands
If your children understand when they can interrupt your work you will be able to get more done in less time, giving you more time for your family. Even young children can understand that interrupting your phone calls is a no-go if you train them. The only way to do this is to be consistent – if you set a rule, you need to make sure you are firm with it, otherwise you’ll give out mixed signals.

4. Spend quality time
Every child is different – some are more vocal about their wanting your time, and others are quiet, but need your time just as much. Even though time can be sparse, it’s important to spend time with each child. Maybe you can dedicate a particular time on a specific day where you and that child go for a walk together, or have some alone time, where there are no interruptions from others. Make sure you’re not checking emails and taking calls, too, as this is their ores ICUs time with you.

5. When the kids come home from school, take some time to talk about their day
They will appreciate your interest. You should also make sure they understand their homework and start it at whatever time they do best at finishing it. Some do best starting homework immediately on getting home, while others do better if they can play for a while first. Be aware of your child’s needs.

6. Get the kids involved
If your work is something the children can help with, let them be involved. If not, you can still talk to them about what you do – if they have a better understanding if what you do, it will make it a little easier to explain why you need to have some quiet time to do a particular piece of work, or why that piece of work is important.

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