Dad’s work and kids

Here’s a guest post on dads, kids and working at home…

I recently left the firm I was with for the last 10 years. I had a defined job with an office that kept me away from home most of the waking hours of my kids’ lives.  Now, I’m working from home without defined hours.

The positive:
I’m much more hands-on and involved in the day-to-day of my children’s lives.
I experience their ups and downs first hand. I’m there when they learn something new. I’m part of each failure and success.

The negative:
My children are much more hands-on and involved in the day-to-day of my work life. They experience my ups and downs first hand. They are there when I learn something new. They are part of each failure and success.

The other day my 4-year old daughter was ecstatic to show me some toy she was playing with. She’s still used to the boundaries of my home “office” and has no concept of the work day.  Even fully aware of this, I put her off quickly and abruptly, saying, “Bella, please! Be quiet! I have a very important phone call.”

A day or two later, my 1-year old son crawled over to his sister, wanting to play with her. She grabbed her plastic toy phone and said to him, “Oliver, please! Be quiet! I have a very important phone call!”

This highlighted a very simple fact: kids want to be part of everything you do, and because of this, they will learn from whatever you are doing.

Maybe you work at home and maybe you don’t. Either way I’m guessing your kids have seen you work: the stress you bring home (even though you try not to),  phone calls from your family room, or answering emails while walking through the house.

I’m not advocating you leave all work at the front door— I know that’s impossible for most.  I’m urging you to involve your kids in your work, even in very simple ways.

Take the time to explain to them what you are doing and why it is important.  If they are young like mine they won’t get it.  But that’s okay. They will know you talked to them about something important in your life.  They will know that you included them, and that’s something that excites every kid whether they show it
or not.

I hear my daughter running around above me. I need to go get her and a couple of toy phones so that she and I can have a very important phone call.

                                                                                                                                  –Chicago Dad

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