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Ready for the next installment of our A-Z Guide to Working at Home with Kids series?
This is a tip I learned back when I only had one child. While my husband was at his Navy A school in Pensacola, Florida, I was attending college here in Washington.
Our little Jayme was there with me, and I had to find time to study. I tried a few different things, and then I began to notice a pattern. My actions at the beginning of the day, when Jayme first woke up, had tremendous impact on the whole rest of the day.
When I started the day by greeting her, spending time with her, and playing with her early, I filled her love cup. She was happy to sit with some toys and play quietly a little bit later.
On the other hand, if I was engrossed in my books and just gave her a quick hug and turned on the TV when she woke, the day was rough.
I observed more behaviors. Whining increased. And I spent way more time trying to recover than I would have spent just by changing my morning priorities.
So my B tip for my A-Z Guide to Working at Home with Kids is:
Begin By Filling Their Cups
As our family grew and our schedules changed, I sort of forgot about this concept. But, since launching my freelance business, I’ve come back to it.
My kids do much better if I’m there for them in the morning.
So, I get off the computer, and we spend some time together. We chat while we’re making breakfast and play some silly games. I typically read a short book or two, or have my early readers read to me.
After breakfast, we move into our Plan of the Day. My kids love knowing what the day holds, and helping to plan it.
Then, we break into our chores routine. I encourage the kids, work with them, and play a bit. My toddlers think it’s hilarious to become “lumps” on my bed as I’m trying to make it. I try to smooth the blanket over them and pretend I don’t know why my bed is so lumpy. Then I grab them and throw them off onto the big pile of blankets and they laugh and laugh.
Activities like these only add a couple of minutes to my day. But, they pay off greatly.
I’m happier, and so are the kids.
Cups Filled, Ready to Work
After the chores are done, we typically move into our family “times.” We enjoy Bible Time, Reading Time, and Family Writing Time.
By this time, I’ve spent time connecting with my kids. We’ve had some fun together. And everyone is now ready to work.
Behaviors are decreased. Attitudes are better.
I love it!
Now, let’s talk about what happens when I decide to be glued to my computer or cell phone when the kids wake up.
I typically give them a half-hug, not usually even stopping to make eye contact.
They sit and try to tell me about a dream they had, or ask a question, and I get short with them. “I’m trying to work, just a second!” I state.
That second lasts a really long time, as I’m interrupted many times. There’s really no point in even trying to work at this point, but I’m stubborn and keep trying.
By the time I finally pull myself away from the computer, the kids are frustrated. They needed me and I wasn’t there for them. And they’re antsy.
They stay that way most of the day, even if I make it a point to spend time with them later in the day.
It’s really hard to recover.
Change How You Begin
If you’re noticing your children are having a hard time self-entertaining, or are really clingy, try changing how you begin your day. Make sure you’re filling their cups first.
C is For…
I’ll be back tomorrow with An A-Z Guide to Working at Home with Kids: C.
Until then, I’d love for you to share this post with your friends who are working from home with kids. Also, are there any areas you’re struggling with? Drop a line in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you out during this series.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.