Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
Its school holidays, and already I’m seeing posts of people crying out about the pain of juggling their small business and the school holidays. So here are some tips I garnered from one my networking groups, and my own suggestions.
Remember you’re working
When you work in a job, you tend to manage school holidays and plan well in advance. What days you’ll take off, what days are covered by activities, family and the like. Too many forget that they need to treat their business like external work, and plan ahead the same way. The only difference is often that your small business still needs to tick over when you’re not there, whereas in big business all the urgent tasks are attended to while you’re away by your manager or other staff.
Special interest camps and activities
If the stars align – your child is interested, and you can afford it, send them for a few days to a camp (tennis, basketball, music, whatever suits). Even shorter activities like ‘Apple Camp’ may give you a few hours a day where you take your laptop and do some work while your child has fun.
Swap playdates and family
If you know other working parents, maybe arrange to have the children stay at one house one day (maybe even with a sleepover), and the next day switch them over. Do that two or three times in the holidays to help keep the kids entertained but also give you whole day breaks to do your work. Family visits also fit in here. Grandparents often enjoy the kids’ visits, just don’t take advantage of them!
Manage their expectations
If they’re old enough, explain you have to work in the morning but in the afternoon you will play a game or do an activity with them. Maybe if they’re little angels at least one of those activities becomes a special one.
Take your laptop or phone with you
Take the kids to the park (enclosed if needed) and let them run around and burn off energy. While they do that, take your laptop or phone and get some work done. As a bonus you get some Vitamin D and a change of scene, so a win win situation (as long as you keep an eye on the terrors!).
Get them to work for you
My stepson often complains he’s bored but likes spreadsheets and computer work. I’ve found it good to pay him to do some small jobs for me. He’s doing something he enjoys (more so when he’s getting paid), it helps me a little bit, and I get a break from the ‘I’m booorrreeedddd’.
Take a holiday yourself
If you can, take at least some days off completely. It’s healthy and is good bonding time for you as a family. Also many businesses slow down during the holidays and some networking groups take a break too. Use that time to recharge your own batteries too.
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