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When EPs Have
to Get to Work
doorbell has rung, the babysitter is here, and it's time to get
down to business. But how do you get to work when your toddler
knows you're just in the other room?
by Lisa M. Roberts
Parents don't have to leave the house
for their children to experience separation anxiety. For most
families, this occurs most often at bedtime -- but when parents
work at home it can happen at "work time" too. How
do you handle the transition when you switch your hat from Dad
or Mom to Professional without even walking out the door?
In a word, creatively! Here's
a few suggestions:
1. Have your
child design a sign for your office door. When it's turned one way, she can come in; when
it's turned the other, she knows you can't be interrupted. Then
once the babysitter is over, let your child "tuck you in"
your office, close the door behind her and turn the sign. Let
her walk away from you instead of you walking
away from her.
2. Try to
find a babysitter who enjoys arts and crafts projects. Then save these hands-on activities
(finger painting, sand art, clay molding, etc.) only for when
your sitter comes. "Talk up" the activity beforehand,
so your son just can't wait for the babysitter to walk through
3. Ask your
child to make you something special for your office while you're
Say, "Mommy has to work
now, and I'm going to miss you -- will you make me something
pretty so I can put it on my desk while I work?" Then put
his creation -- with great fanfare -- in a special spot on your
desk. Decorate your office walls with your children's drawings
and paintings so they know you're thinking about them even when
you close your office door.
4. Take a
few moments to transition the babysitter in before heading to
Treat her like you would
a relative or member of the family...sit down with her and your
child for coffee and milk to discuss what's happening that day.
During this time your child will be mentally preparing for you
to "leave." Then slip away when moods are intact and
the babysitter is distracting your child with a fun toy or activity.
5. If your
baby/toddler/pre-schooler CRIES anyway, non-stop, remember the
lessons learned during bedtime separation anxiety:
- Develop a set, up to 30-minute
routine (15 minutes before babysitter arrives & 15 minutes
after) surrounding this transition time.
- For the first few days with
a new babysitter, let your child cry (if you are confident
your babysitter is competent!). If you have to, come out in 15-minute
intervals for reassurance, stretching to half-hour intervals
until the crying stops. Remember, it may take a few days before
your child knows what is expected of him, and what to expect
of you. But if you stay consistent, he'll settle down into the
6. If your
pre-schooler/school-age children ask, "Why do you have to
work?" take the opportunity to teach them a lesson in economics. Say, "If I work today, I'll get paid tomorrow."
Then the next day take your child on errands: first to the bank
to deposit a check a client gave you, then to the store to purchase
some household product your child can relate to. Once they understand
the importance of your work, they will respect the time you put
towards it more. And don't forget to share the rewards of your
work with them -- through small but special treats and celebrations!
- © 1997 Lisa M. Roberts, all rights reserved. The above article
is an excerpt from How
to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide
to Home Business, a title highly recommended by La Leche
League, Home Office Computing and the Family Christian
your own copy today!