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Old 24th June 2004, 09:49 PM   #1
Robert
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Default Kids and Working from Home

Six kids (all under six). Two big dogs. One not nearly big enough house. And, to top it off, it was raining. In fact, it's been raining all week, so the kids were all stir-crazy.

Fortunately my sister was here working with me so I had backup. (By the way, two are mine, two are my sister's, and two were a friend's) At times there was so much noise and mayhem that it just became funny. Obviously the topic of balancing kids and working from home is a hot topic around here.

Working from home with kids is like driving in rush hour traffic. Just when you get going, you have to slam on your brakes. Go. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Stop. (Am I going or stopping??)

So how do you get anything done?

The first thing I did was move the computers and desks into the living room. This way we are right in the center of action all the time. The kids always have us near and we can keep an eye on them.

Another thing I learned is that it is pointless to get frustrated by the interruptions in your work. Little kids need time, stuff, and attention. I've found that my work day happens in spurts. 10 minutes here, 20 there - you take what you can get.

Another big help is planned outings. For example, my sister makes sure we go to McDonald's each week to eat and let the kids play for an hour or so. The kids have "events" to look forward to and it does the adults good to get out of the house.

That's just a few examples. I'd love to hear from other parents how they deal with the special challenges presented by working at home with kids.

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Old 29th June 2004, 09:26 AM   #2
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"I'd love to hear from other parents how they deal with the special challenges presented by working at home with kids."

As would I, since I'm going to be doing it here in a few more months. One of the things I'm thinking will be handy is to either get a wireless network up and running, or to run LAN lines to most of the rooms in the house. That way, I can always take my laptop and go work someplace else. (With the wireless network I could even work from the backyard.) A little more portability and freedom since my office is upstairs and tiny...

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Old 29th June 2004, 10:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thejenn
...get a wireless network up and running...
Yep, I'm starting to think that would really be helpful. If the kids are playing in the backyard, it's not a problem. But, if they want to go out front and ride bikes or whatever, then I need to be out there to keep an eye on them. A wireless network would come in handy.

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Old 29th June 2004, 05:26 PM   #4
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"Six kids (all under six). Two big dogs."

wow - that's inspiration for me since I only have one of each!

I'm doing the wireless thing as well - the convenience is a necessity around the home/office. The biggest step I can think of has to do with 'separation' of the computers. I highly recommend having a 'separate' family computer for everyone else, and your work computer is just that.

A step that I will be taking soon is to get my laptop/internet/cellphone connection all working together before our next summer trip in august. That way, when we are away from the castle - i'm free to do what is needed as all i really need is my phone and laptop with net access. Getting things setup so that you can take advantage of the situation and make the most out of the opportunity is the most important thing in my opinion - otherwise it can turn into a negative for all. It depends a lot how you handle it, but it needs tio be understood by all.

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Old 29th June 2004, 09:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan
"Six kids (all under six). Two big dogs."

wow - that's inspiration for me since I only have one of each!
Fortunately, only two of the kids and the two big dogs are mine. I always get to send the rest home - eventually anyway.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan
I'm doing the wireless thing as well - the convenience is a necessity around the home/office.
Is there a noticable slowdown when you are on wireless in the house or outside?

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Old 29th June 2004, 09:19 PM   #6
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the wireless is an acceptable speed - but one consideration ... setup your cable connection with a router and have your main machine on that so you have that on cable - then have the wireless off the router also for other computers net access. That way my main computer speed/connection isn't deminished.

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Old 30th June 2004, 04:29 AM   #7
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I'm also wireless throughout the house - on 4 computers. Absolutely no speed diminishing whatsoever, although I am on 2mb ADSL. Try to set your main router away from the corner of the room. This is usually the most obvious and easiest place to put it, but having it away from the corner of a room will help with the connection to the other computers.

Totally gives you freedom to work where you want, when you want. Although working on a laptop in the garden sounds like a great idea, I've tried it and found that if it's sunny it's almost impossible to see the screen not that the sun is ever a huge problem here in the UK, hehehe


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Old 30th June 2004, 09:15 AM   #8
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The other nice thing is to check www.wififreespot.com and see if there are any free hotspots near you. Every Panera Bread in Columbus has free WiFi and quite a few other places do as well. (Makes it handy for biz meetings, just hit a Panera and you can be online, they even have outlets clearly marked by tables so that you can snag one.)

Also, we have one of those outdoor malls setup like an old village with a town square in it. Big fountain area where the water shoots out of the sidewalk, kids love to go and play in it and there are tables and benches all around. Found out last month that the mall set that area up as a free Wifi hotspot, so, when the kiddies are of age, I can head over there for a few hours and work while they play in the water.

Only thing I suggest with wireless is really good virus software and some type of personal firewall system. Logging in and out of all those free wifi connections can open you up to some hacking, as can not having your home wireless network properly secured. First day I had my new laptop I sat in my living room, searched for connections and picked up five wireless networks from my neighbors, I was able to connect to three of them. Not good at all...

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Old 30th June 2004, 09:28 AM   #9
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True ... if you get your own router make sure you enable the WEP encryption to at least 64bit ... otherwise you'll find strangers sucking your bandwidth.


Unless you're feeling generous, of course ...

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Old 30th June 2004, 12:50 PM   #10
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Two kids here also...one who is hitting terrible two's early and one who wants to go do things all the time...

Luckily, my husband is a Network engineer and I go to him for all my computer questions. I have a desk set up between the family room and dining room (which are all connected, so I can keep an eye on things). I am on wireless all through the house, but most of my work is done here at my desk. (No slow down on the wireless) Like Robert, I work in spurts...you have to with kids. Nap time for my youngest is when I get the most work done in one sitting. That's the time for the "full concentration" work.

The biggest problem I have is my daughter always wants to play "working Mommy" and gets into all my paperwork and there it is all around the house!

My son, who is 11, helps me quite a bit. He helps keep inventory, files, and helps package up orders. My daughter helps by picking up styrofoam peanuts and putting them in the box. I always tell her that she is a big help!

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