If you work in an environment that allows you to have your kids on-site, you are a very lucky individual. Most are relegated to seeking out child care for daily care. Those days that your childcare situation falls apart – sick kids, car issues, provider issues – you are faced with a choice. Either miss work or, if it is a safe environment, see if you can bring the kids with you. Now, kids are, on their best days, distracting. On their worst days, kids can be an explosive and highly demoralizing addition to the workplace. How can you make having your kids at work a winning situation for all?
From the moment you realize that this is the situation you’re in, you have to be the communicator. Establishing communication with your boss about why you have to do this, and how you intend to make it work is vital. Listening well, hearing what their reservations are and responding with appropriate actions to their concerns will ease fears. Not that they fear your children, they have a responsibility to the operation of the business. So anything that disrupts the environment should be a cause for concern. How you alleviate those concerns may well set a paradigm that others may be able to participate.
Control the environment
Think through the environment of your business. Will you be able to contain the chaos? Will the kids be a distraction to others? Unfortunately, as cute as you think your kids are, some feel they shouldn’t be seen or heard in the workplace. Men, women, old, young, there are many who will feel this is inappropriate even if it is not. So make plans to stay in as small an area as possible. If your coworkers warm up to the kids and pitch in, fantastic, you’ve done well!
Pack like you are summiting Everest. Try to think through every snack or distraction you need and be redundant. Bring enough food for an army, in good variety too. Bring the easiest, most occupying toys you have. Game up your devices and throw on a movie or three. You know your kids; you know what they need daily and what keeps them busy. If you think it through, though, you realize just how involved you are in their occupation. You’ve got work to do and are there for a purpose.
When someone complains, and they will remember you are the one who has to do all the forgiving. It is not a part of your coworker’s job to participate in the raising of your children. Your coworkers are there to focus on their jobs so that they may feed their families and pay their bills. What they have to do each day falls on their shoulders, so if your children are seen as interruptions, be understanding. Parenting
Know when to call it quits
Sometimes the best-laid plans of mice and men go awry. Knowing when to hang it up will save you from becoming an expert at damage control. If your children have decided this is the day to make a personal statement about your leadership by melting down on a continuous basis, go home. If projectiles of any sort are a part of any description – vomit, pencils, books – go back to the ranch. Whatever the disturbance is, if it is a distraction from the work you hope to do, let it go, you are not doing anybody any favors by being there. You’ve tried more than most would. Communicate your feelings to your boss, load up the expedition, and head for home.