How Do You Work At Home When Your Kids Are On Holiday?

I always struggle to work at home or indeed get anything constructive done when the boys are off school.  And paradoxically this isn’t helped by the digital age  we live in.  Although i-technology, smart phones, laptops, gaming consoles etc., not to mention all the kids and sports channels on the TV mean that kids today could spend hours a day looking at screens – and that should help parents trying to work from home, actually it works against us.

All these distractions means that parents have to work really hard to make their children sporty and keep them fit.  My mom used to send me and my sisters into the garden with the mild threat “Find something to do, or I’ll find something for you to do.”  And we’d play out with other children round about.  But these days you can’t do that to the same extent.  Children with phones simply start gaming for hours on end or surf social media.  No exercise.  My two don’t have cell phones yet – but peer pressure from “everyone at  school” means we’ve promised them phones for their 11th birthday – 11!

All this means that parents today have to interact more with their children during the school holidays.  You have to actually take them out and do the activities with them – or watch them do the activity.  All this is fine – if you are actually on holiday yourself but it is a real chore if you have to run a house, walk the dogs and work from home as well.  Parents who go out to work have ring fenced time to actually work.  But children seeing their parents at home all the time often think they are available to them.  Mine certainly do.  And I feel bad explaining that I am not a child entertainer, short order chef, taxi service or bottomless pit of available money for treats and trips out.

But I have made two breakthroughs recently, which seems to be helping me to achieve a bit more during the school holidays:

1) I have carved out a chunk of time every day when I have told the boys that I am working.  My desk and computer are in the lounge where the TV is so I can still supervise them/stop them arguing if necessary during this time, but they are beginning to understand that I am serious.  It’s my time.

2) I use a timer.  You could use an alarm on your cell, get an alarm clock but I use the online version at http://e.ggtimer.com/ .  I just set it and work at whatever until the alarm goes off.  No surfing, no distracting myself, no wandering off topic.

What works for you?