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Do you have to work in noise? Listen for a minute, and see what you hear.
Right now, my three year old is banging a marker on the coffee table. The eight- and five-year-olds are having a discussion about what color a certain character really is. A movie is playing on my eleven year old’s iPad. The seven-year-old is tapping a dry erase marker over the board, trying to figure out what to draw. And my little two year old is coloring Paw Patrol pictures next to me, saying the name of each character. Over and over and over again. 😀
There’s a lot of noise. Well, actually I must admit this is pretty quiet for my house. It’s Family Writing Time, and the kids have really worked hard on the quiet part this summer.
But, often I need to do work during free time. Or other times of day when it’s just not quiet.
It’s not just noise from the kids. I live on a farm, and there are cows mooing, roosters cock-a-doodle-doing, and the occasional baa from our sheep. I don’t really have the option of only working when it’s quiet. Well, unless I want to work in the middle of the night!
Tips for Working in Noise
I’ve learned how to embrace the noise. Over time, I’ve found helpful tricks for working in the noise, and being productive even with eight playing kids and a farm full of animals.
Establish the Noise Baseline
I know what normal noise sounds like. When the kids are working and playing, there’s a certain baseline of sound activity. I know I can typically tune out the sounds. Well, as long as I ensure the kids are engaged first!
But, if the noise level drops or raises from the baseline, it gets my attention. Quiet typically needs investigating! 😀 Loud typically needs some intervention from Mama.
If you aren’t used to working in noise, don’t expect that you’ll suddenly knock out full blog posts in a single, noisy session. Instead, start small.
Knock out an outline. Brainstorm ten post ideas. Edit a picture or two. Do tasks that are easier to stop and start.
When you’re working at home with kids, some noises are going to need your immediate attention. While you’re working, leave yourself directions to help you get back on track when you come back.
Always write with an outline, so you know where you were going. Otherwise, you risk losing not only your train of thought, but also any remembrance of where that train was going.
Play Music Quietly
If you turn on some music in the house, it’s a good measurement for kids. Teach them to play so they can still hear the music. Start with it a bit louder if necessary, and slowly step down the starting volume. They’ll adjust, and you may find you work better with some music going.
Teach Children to Play Quietly
Children are capable of playing quietly! There will be some noise, because they’re kids and not ninjas, but they can definitely learn the difference between “indoor voices” and “outdoor voices.”
Quickly redirect any loud activities, taking time to help them make a quieter choice.
Take Breaks to Get Outside and Be Loud
At least once a day, head outside with your kids so they can run around and get out their loudness. Have them sing loudly, make goofy noises, or shout directions for an obstacle course.
Also, take smaller indoor breaks throughout the day, so your kids can talk to you and tell you all about their projects. They want to connect with you, so give them time to do so.
Do You Work in the Noise?
I’d love for you to share your tips for working in noise in the comments. It is possible to focus and get work done, even when kids are playing in the same room!
O is for…
I’ll be back on Monday with my next tip for working at home with kids.
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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.