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Is Your Family Really Benefiting When You Work at Home?

By Stephanie Foster

You"ve beaten the obstacles and found a way to work at home, whether by finding a job or starting a home business. But is your work getting in the way of time with your family? It may be time to make sure you are finding balance between working at home and your family.

Let's take a look at some easy things you can do to ensure that you are spending time with your family.

1. Make time for play. Family activities are a great way to relax away from work. It can be as simple as taking a walk or going to the park, or it could be a full day excursion to a museum, amusement part or beach. You don't have to leave the house, of course. You could play games, make cookies or do other fun activities around the house. The point is to simply have fun as a family and have time to talk to each other.

One way to start is to plan a family night. Tell everyone they have to be home on a particular evening each week and do things as a family. Even if you just rent a movie to watch together, it's something you're doing together.

If you're married, make sure you plan a regular date night with your spouse. Frequency may depend on how old your children are and how often you can get babysitting, but it is important for your marriage to have time as a couple.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun with your family. Just make time for fun.

2. Be there for your children's activities. If your children are involved in sports, acting, singing or other activities, make sure you are there for all the games, performances or other important events. It will help your children to know that they are very important to you.

3. Set rules and enforce them. If your children understand when they can interrupt your work you will be able to get more done in less time, giving you more time for your family.

Of course, you need to be consistent. If kids get away with breaking the rules some of the time, they will test the rules often. Consistency will save you time in the long run, even if you aren't sure you want to spare the time at a particular moment.

4. Pay attention to what kind of attention each child needs. Every child is different. Some demand attention while others are so quiet it's easy to forget that they need you too. Make sure you spend time with each child as an individual.

5. When the kids come home from school, take some time to talk about their day. They will appreciate your interest. You should also make sure they understand their homework and start it at whatever time they do best at finishing it. Some do best starting homework immediately on getting home, while others do better if they can play for a while first. Be aware of your child's needs.

6. If your work is something the children can help with, let them be involved. If not, you can still at least talk to them about what you do. This sets a good example for your children by helping them to know what working is really about.

It's easy to get buried in the needs of your work when you work at home. A little bit of planning can go a long way toward making working at home a wonderful experience for all. Your family is why you decided to work at home, so don't let your time with them get put aside.

About The Author is a resource for work at home moms and dads. It is run by Stephanie Foster, a mom who has worked at home since early 2002. For more advice on working at home, visit


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