A Home Office With Children
A home office with children can be a challenge, coupled with the fact young children make it even more of a challenge.
My Son is 3 and my Daughter is 1. They both want to spend all of the time with me they can, they do not always understand that I have to work.
Over the last 3 years I have developed some systems which help. When developing these I kept in mind both setting boundaries, and the fact that young children don’t always understand why boundaries need to exist.
The Hug and Kiss Rule.
This rule is always in effect. If my son or daughter come up to me and want a hug or kiss they always get it. Often they want both at the same time. I let my work clients know about this. I will never tell my children I am too busy for them to get some comfort from me.
There are time when I have to be on the phone with clients. My children know that during the rare times the gate is up it is not ok to come and bother Daddy. Of course I still give them their hugs and kisses if they really need it. Yet they have come to respect that when the gate is up I am busy and it will not remain up forever.
As you can see I have a space set up for my children to come in and watch me work. When possible I will let them sit on my lap and watch how I work. In fact my Son has learned a lot about using a desktop PC this way. However, when I need to get work done quickly them sitting in my lap is not always possible. Hence the little area next to the closet where they can sit, lay down, or even play quietly. This also helps give Mom a break when she needs to get stuff done around the house.
The Play Area.
I showed an image of this area in my article about a clean office. This started out as a play for me to play my Retro Games at. However, both kids love coming in when I am taking breaks and either watching me play, or trying to play some old school Nintendo and Super Nintendo games.
Everyone who freelances agrees that you need your space to work. I do not deny this. I need my office to be relatively quiet and free from distractions when I am in the zone. Luckily my Children are usually very well behaved and quiet when they come in to see me.
I feel that it is important that they realize they are an important part of my life, and as long as they can be respectful of what I am doing, they have nearly constant access to me.