I had a massive ‘Mummy Guilt’ moment the day my son told me he couldn’t put his toys away because he was ‘busy’. I didn’t even realise I had been saying this to him and now here he was regurgitating it back to me. It was like a big slap in the face… It didn’t sit well for a while. And then I had a big ‘ah ha’ moment. I was teaching my son what it was like to run a business.
Fair enough, he is only two… but he knows that Mummy works, both at home and at my day job. I love that he is learning that work is something we actually do. As he gets older I hope to teach him more about responsibilities and how working hard can bring a lot of joy when you’re creating something you love.
I also hope to teach him that you can create anything you want. That if you don’t like your job, you can create your own business. That passion, determination and hard work will get you everywhere.
So rather than trying to ‘hide’ the fact that I am working from him, or feel guilty for working when he is around, I’ve started to include him in my business work. And he loves it. There are a lot of things he is too little for but he is proud as punch when he sits down to his ‘laptop’ and says to me ‘Mummy, I’m working, lots of work to do’.
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Here are a few ways you can include your children in your business as well –
1 – Make a ‘laptop’ they can work from too.
There’s no way I’m giving my two year old a real computer, or even a tablet (he is way too clumsy for that – he takes after his Mum…) so we have made him a ‘laptop’ out of boxes. It’s so adorable. It has a little keyboard and ‘pictures’ on the ‘screen’ cut out from magazines.
He also has a toy laptop that his Aunt gave him with alphabet and number games on it. He carries it around too but somedays he tells me it’s too noisy. Toddlers come up with the funniest things.
2 – Ask them to draw pictures for you so you can hang them in your office.
I’m one of those Mum’s that still has every drawing their child has ever made… and I love displaying it! While you’re working away, why not ask your child to draw a particular type of picture? or set them up with an art station. You can then purchase a clipboard that you can hang in your office space and display your child’s latest drawings.
If you have a business that incorporates children’s products in some way, you could also use their drawings as part of your branding design. Have notepads made from their artwork or even have it printed on a coffee mug.
Including personalised items from your child in your business allows them to see that they are part of it too and lets them feel more involved. Kids are always so proud of their own artwork, let them take the spotlight!
3 – Listen to podcasts while doing puzzles.
I’m a bit of a podcast junkie. Okay… a huge podcast junkie. But I always feel like I should be doing something while I’m listening to them. A great way to do this and include your children is to play your podcasts over a speaker (or just out loud on your phone) and do puzzles or colouring with them.
There’s two main benefits to this. You are able to interact more with your children, which is always a bonus. And, you’ll absorb more of the information you’re listening to.
If you’re trying to take on new information, doing so while keeping your hands busy with a creative task like colouring, can help you absorb the new information better. This may not be the case for some people and may also be hindered by a child vying for your attention, but it’s worth a shot.
4 – Allow them to help with tasks like putting orders together or filing paperwork.
If you have a business that ships orders or deliveries to clients, look for tasks that your child can do to help you out. For the large part, children love to help because they want to be involved. Even if it is simply putting stamps on envelopes or stacking orders in a pile. If you show them how you’d like it to be done, this can be a regular task for them.
5 – Give them a ‘special’ task only they can do.
On a similar note as above, you could pick a task for your child that is their ‘special’ task. If you get them excited about it and this is what they do regularly it will make them feel like they are very much part of your business.
This works best if it is a task only they do, and that they can only do while you’re working on your business.
The task doesn’t necessarily have to directly correlate to your business, this can be difficult depending on the age of your child. Even having a special colouring in book or toy they can use only while you’re working on your business can mean they are more excited about that time.
6 – Allow them to be ‘ambassadors’.
Encourage your children to be excited about your business. Explain what you do to them and let them tell other people about it. Especially when they can tell other’s about what they do to help. Kids love helping – they really do. And they love praise and recognition. Being able to tell someone else that they helped and that they did a good job will mean they are excited about your business too.
Another way your children can be ‘ambassadors’ is to include them in the marketing side of your business. This is particularly relevant if you run a business that is related to kids products or parenting. Taking photo’s of them modelling your items or sharing photo’s on social media of them helping can also mean they are more excited to be part of your business too.
7 – Ask them what they would like to do to help.
Seems a little obvious doesn’t it? But it’s so easily overlooked. Let your child know what tasks you have to complete and ask them what they would like to do to help. Allowing your child to decide let’s them feel even more involved – they aren’t just being told what to do, they have a hand in the decision making process.
One of the best things about running a business as a mum is that we get to show our children, in our own homes, what it is like to work hard and the rewards we can have for doing so. We can involve them in the process, allow them to feel like they too are part of this business. Pique their interests, get them involved and teach them, first hand.
What do you do to involve your children in your business? What has (or hasn’t) worked for you?