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Are you ready for the next installment of the freelancing with kids series? Great! Today’s post focuses on freelancing with elementary school kids, and handling the 5-10 crowd.
If you have children of other ages, check out the first post in this series here, and you’ll find links to all the posts in this series.
Freelancing with Elementary School Kids
I’m a homeschooling mama, so I’ll be approaching this topic from that mindset. If you’re kids are at school all day, then use these tips when you need extra work time in the evening.
#1. Share Your Vision
Children in this age range are able to comprehend much more than their younger counterparts. However, their developing brain and reasoning power still have a self-centered flair. They’re learning to care about others, but they still wonder how things will directly impact them.
Play to this by sharing your vision. Sit down with your children and explain why you’ll be freelancing. Elementary school kids can help own the vision.
Try to tie the effort you put in to a direct benefit for your child. Will you be using the money to go on a vacation? Tell them where.
Are you freelancing so your spouse can get a less stressful job and be home more? Your child will get to spend more time with the other parent.
Is your goal to get out of debt? Then explain to your child what you’ll be able to do with life after the debt is gone.
Be honest with your children, and share your vision for your family. This will help get them on board.
#2 Ask Your Child What She Can Do to Help
Once you have your vision shared, ask your child if she can think of anyway she could help the family reach that goal.
Kids are very bright, and often have insight that we overlook. Here are some ways a young child can help the freelancing efforts:
-Take on additional chores to free up your time
-Prepare simple meals
-Play with younger siblings while you work
What other ideas did your children come up with?
#3 Make a Visual Tracker & Include Rewards
Having a visual tracker helps your children see exactly how the efforts are paying off.
Are you throwing money towards debt? Make a big paper thermometer with the total debt at the top. As you earn additional money freelancing and pay off debt, color in the bottom of the thermometer.
If you’re tracking the number of clients you need, make a big paper pie for the wall and fill in a piece each time you get a new client.
You could even have small prizes available at certain intervals. Maybe you’ll take a picnic to the park when you pay off your first $1000, or have a family movie night when you reach new clients.
Prizes don’t need to cost money! Kids crave attention and time from mom and dad. Make your rewards special time that everyone will enjoy.
Tying your vision and goals together with a visual tracker and prizes will help encourage your children to own the family goal as well. They will work together as a team, instead of fighting against you.
#4. Start Writing as a Family
If you haven’t already established a family writing time, do so now. I go into greater detail in my free ecourse, so if you don’t know where to begin please subscribe!
#5. Work Towards Independent Learning
When you’re freelancing with elementary school kids, and also homeschooling, your goal should be to teach them to learn independently. It’s much harder in the early years of school, but you can still work towards the attitude of independent learning, even with a kindergartner!
To encourage this, sit with your child and teach what you need to teach. Stay and make sure they can handle their task. Then, move a little ways away.
Tell your child if they have question to come and get you. At first, you’ll have to pay close attention to make sure your child stays on task.
Some subjects that work well for this:
-Social studies or science project portions (coloring lapbooks, drawing something)
-Practice math problems (once the concept has been explained)
-Independent reading time
As my children get older, I opt for curriculum that helps them be independent learners. (affiliate links coming…)
#6. Play with Your Kids
Kids need us. Make it a point to play with your kids everyday. We’ve incorporated an hour long Family Play Time, and the child who’s day it is gets to pick what we do.
This is something we do each day. The kids know that they’ll get to pick once a week, and also know that we’ll play together. It’s a time we all enjoy!
#7. Get Outside
When my kids can get outside and run around, our days go way more smoothly! When we’re cooped up inside, it’s a really long day.
Sit outside with your laptop, and let them play. Being outside really helps to ground me, and it seems to my kids as well!
Sometimes, I create a scavenger hunt for them to tackle. I use pictures for my early readers, and words for my better readers. They can either work together, or compete.
It adds a fun twist to our time outside.
#8. Have a Quiet Time Routine
Kids in this age group don’t need naps. But, they definitely benefit from quiet time alone. To keep Quite Time enjoyable, I work with each child to develop a schedule. I’ll share these here with you:
5 Year Old Daughter
Monday: Play in room with toy kitchen and baby dolls
Tuesday: Play in playroom with Legos or Knex
Wednesday: Use miniLUK Brain Challenger Complete Set
and Pattern Blocks
Thursday (Her Day): 1/2 an hour of Wii, Craft table
Friday: Look through cookbooks, play with cookie cutters (as stencils), write on white board
7 Year Old Son:
Monday (His Day): 1/2 hour Wii, craft table, coloring pages
Tuesday: Car rug & Matchbox cars
Wednesday: Reading fort at table
Thursday: Play in Playroom with Legos or K’Nex
Friday: train tracks
My kids who aren’t in this age range have a different, but similar schedule for Quiet Time (except my babies and toddlers–they nap every day!)
Here Are Other Things We’ve Done in the Past
-Play with trucks
-Free play in playroom
-Listen to audiobooks
-Lay in bed with books and toys of choice
-Shaving cream on table
-Extra writing time
-Computer time (more for the older end of this age group)
Your kids will have fun, and you’ll get a break to focus on your business!
#9.Send the Kids to Bed Early
My grade schoolers all are tucked in by 7:30 pm. They need a lot of sleep still, and I’ve found that they still get up at the same time, even when we let them stay up later.
7:30 is the perfect bedtime for our kids. They almost always fall right to sleep.
If life has been crazy, and they aren’t sleeping enough, everyone is grumpy. It’s harder to freelance with grumpy kids!
Putting the younger kids to bed early gives me a chance to really write for an hour in the evening if I need to. I try to keep this time free to spend with my husband and oldest daughter, but it doesn’t always happen.
If you find your kids constantly grumpy and argumentative, check out the signs of sleep deprivation here and see if you need to readjust the schedule.
#10. Cook with Your Kids, Let Them Handle Snacks
I’ve found that 99% of the time my kids are grumpy and hard to be around they are either:
Growing kids need to eat a lot.
I encourage you to have your kids cook with you, starting from a young age. By the time they’re 5, they should be able to make themselves a simple meal and prepare a snack for the family.
They’re capable of doing more than the younger age groups, and if you’ve taught them kitchen safety, you will likely be able to trust them.
Here’s some of the things my elementary kids handle in the kitchen:
-Peeling & slicing fruit for a fruit salad
-Creating cute plates of food (my 5 year old daughter loves to plate things!)
-Making sandwiches and wraps
-Microwave cooking (quesadillas and easy grilled cheese)
-Picking out a recipe
-Seasoning food to taste
-Cutting food for younger siblings (we use kitchen shears for this–so much easier!)
-Making smoothies in the blender
My two elementary aged kids are still fairly young (5 & 7), so this list will continue to grow. Once they start reading independently well, their kitchen skills skyrocket because they can read the recipes.
Just think–once your kids are tweens, they’ll be able to handle even more in the kitchen if you let them start now.
Hungry kids=grumpy kids, so teach them how to get their own snacks (within reason of course!)
What tips do you have for freelancing with elementary school kids? I’d love for you to share with us!
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.