Most of the time, work-at-home moms are searching for ways to occupy our children so we can get some work done. We set up play dates, hire babysitters, sign up for summer camps and (yes!) resort to allowing strategic screen time. We teach children to use their inside voices when Mommy is on a business call. And we are amazingly productive during naptime. But what if…every once in a while…instead of banishing our children from the home office, we gave them a way to be a part of the business?
I don’t know about you, but part of the reason I chose a career as a home-based business owner is because I wanted to be near my children. I wanted the flexibility to spend time with them and work my schedule around their needs. As they’ve grown up, their needs have changed, but my motivation remains the same. But sometimes I realize I’ve been “near” them but not “with” them for a long period of time. So I’ve found a couple of creative ways to be with them – and still get some work done!
How to Involve Your Children in Your Business at Any Age
Toddlers: Even little ones like to be involved in whatever Mommy is doing. When my oldest was my only, I used to let him sit on the floor in my office and “work” on his computer during my work time. It wasn’t perfect and it was still a distraction, but I scheduled it so that whenever he was in the office I wasn’t doing something that required 100% concentration. While he wasn’t actually involved in the business, he felt like he was part of what takes place in the office. And he also learned – at an early age – that the office is for working (and for quiet time).
Elementary School: At this age, children like to be given responsibilities. And I’m always surprised by how capable they are in handling some of those responsibilities. If you have elementary school aged children, you might ask them to:
- Bring in the mail and sort it
- Set the timer to let you know when it’s break time or lunch time
- Help you make decisions, like choosing between two colors for a new logo or a branded T shirt
- Put stamps and return addresses on a client mailer
- Fold boxes or stuff bags for an event
Middle School: Tweens are quite proficient at all things digital, so if you’ve got something that requires a tech-savvy touch, you might want to ask your child. Here are some suggestions:
- Create quote graphics for social media
- Edit a video you created from an event or a client testimonial (you would be surprised how quickly a 5th grader can add music and captions on an iPhone!)
- Run your Instagram or SnapChat account (if you have a mature tween who is willing to follow guidelines and take the job seriously!)
- Help you decide what to do with some of the extra profits – take a family vacation or put in a pool?
High School Aged: By the time children reach high school the novelty of working with Mom for free might have worn off. But depending on your business, you may be able to hire your child in your business. Here are some roles to consider:
- Social media manager
- IT support
- Research assistant
- Special events manager
- Trade show booth coordinator
- Customer support associate
College Aged and Beyond: Children this age are establishing the foundation for their own careers. If there is a spot in your business that would give them experience and training that matches their career goals, you can create a win-win arrangement. If not, perhaps you’ve made business connections that could be of assistance to your young adult. Get creative and don’t be afraid to reach out to a colleague!
No matter how old your children are, you might enjoy bringing them into your business, even just temporarily. When they feel more involved in your home-based business, they might appreciate it more and be more likely to respect your needs and boundaries.
I’d love to hear your story – how do you involve your children in your business?