more time with your kids may have been one of the reasons you decided
to start a business from home. But keeping a business running and
children occupied so you can work can be a challenge.
For Amy Levitt,
owner of Amydoodles, a personalized gift business in Needham,
Massachusetts, the best solution is to involve her children in the
business. Her son, now 8, was tapped as a helper when Levitt started
the business four years ago. Her daughter, now 5, joined in as a
"If I have a
big order, they can take things out of boxes and put labels on the
back," says Levitt. "When I do a mailing, they attach labels
and stamps. When a delivery arrives, they love to unpack cartons and
put inventory away."
If your business
isn't one in which children can participate, Liz Folger, author of The
Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide to Making Money (Prima Publishing, $12,
800-632-8676), offers some suggestions to keep kids busy:
· Keep grown-up "business"
objects for kids to play with: old check registers and wallets, play
money, Post-it notes, a nonworking phone or even a used typewriter. Set
up a miniature desk in or near your office. Give the child junk mail to
· Check out crafts books from the
library, buy supplies and let the children go at it.
· Put up a tent in the house or
backyard for the children to play in--but only while you're working.
· Hold a writing or reading contest to
keep children quiet while you work. The reward? Lunch out with you or
some other fun family activity.
· Ask your children's teachers for
other activities kids might enjoy.
owner of Desktop Publishing Plus, a graphic-design and resume service
in Coram, New York, offers these ideas:
· Every 45 minutes to an hour, take a
break to spend 15 minutes with the kids and start them on a new
· Spend part of your lunch break taking
the kids on a short walk or playing in the yard. They'll have fun, and
you'll feel refreshed.
Lynn H. Colwell
is a business writer in Post Falls, Idaho.