How Young Kids Can Help Their Work-at-Home Parents
Working at Home With Your Young Child's Help
Help from children won't always be a time saver in the short-term (usually you can do it faster yourself). In the long run, involving children will help them understand your work-at-home ground rules and generally feel more positive toward your work, especially if you reward them in some way for their help.
Not everything you might have the kids do will be truly useful to you, but these jobs can teach a skill, make kids feel needed and keep them busy.
Filing, Sorting and Organizing
From preschool on up, kids can sort. These are tasks that can be scaled to an age-appropriate level. Young kids can sort office supplies. Older children can take inventory. Depending on their ages, they could count stuff or even enter it into a spreadsheet.
Even if you don't want your office reorganized, letting your children reorganize a corner of your office. It will keep them busy and engaged. And sometimes kids have good organizing ideas too. But kids old enough to read can help you work through some of those piles of paper. Put them to work shredding old documents too. Kids can also organize your computer files and emails.
Little ones will think this is fun more than bigger kids. Dusting, sweeping, wiping down surfaces and other small cleaning jobs will keep kids busy and your office clean. It’s more a way of having the kids with you in your office and busy while you work, but it probably won’t last long at any given time. However, you can make it part of your routine. Every Monday, the kids give the office a little sprucing up.
Have your older children watch the younger ones. If you're home, then a "babysitter" can be a fairly young child. They will gain valuable skills and confidence from the experience. Even kids just a little bit older than their siblings can help out.
Reading books to younger kids or playing games can be fun as well. Be sure to talk to the older child about how to be nurturing and helpful to the little ones. It should be a positive, bond-building experience and not an opportunity to be bossy. Also, reward them or at least acknowledge how helpful older kids have been to you. Otherwise, this could have a negative effect.
Working in Your Home Business
Of course, this depends on your business. Get creative! Think about what you do and what skills your kids have. Could they take photographs for you? Could they write or edit for you? Is repetitive data entering or coding they could do with a little training?
Think about what things are worthwhile for improving your productivity in the long run but not good for it in the short run. For instance, you would like to have a spreadsheet detailing all your client's contact information that is currently on little scraps of paper. An older child could do this for you. If you are asking them to do real work, then you should pay them in real money. It's only fair, and it will ensure you have enthusiastic workers in the future.