Many people are drawn to freelancing because they feel the flexible lifestyle will give them more time to spend with their kids. With summer just around the corner, many schools are about to end their school year and freelancers with school age kids will once again find their kids at home.
While it’s true that freelancing work can be flexible, it can also be challenging to get work done while the kids are home. Just how challenging depends on the kids and the freelancer… But there are ways to make freelancing with kids easier.
In this post, I’ll provide some easy tips for freelancers who juggle freelancing with parenting.
If you have children at home while you freelance, please add your own tips in the comments so that we can learn from each other.
The Childcare Question
Many freelancers turned to freelancing specifically so that they could spend more time with their kids. For many that works well. Parenting is an important life phase.
However, it’s important to remember that freelancing takes time too. So, a parent who freelances needs to make sure that they allow themselves enough time (and the proper conditions) to get their work done and done well.
While some freelancers thrive in a noisy environment (arguing kids in the background, babies crying, frequent interruptions), other freelancing work requires more concentration and quiet. If you find that you are a freelancer who can’t focus when your kids are noisy, you may want to consider paid childcare for at least a few hours a day. Of course, childcare can be costly, so make sure that you are charging enough for your freelancing services to cover the cost of childcare and still earn a profit.
Remember, that childcare does not necessarily mean dropping your kid off at the local daycare center (although that’s an option). Here are some other childcare options you may want to consider:
- Swap babysitting tasks with another local freelancer. Alternate the days that each of you watches both sets of kids.
- Hire a teen to watch kids and keep them quiet in your own home for the summer.
- Hire a trusted relative to watch kids for a few days a week.
Some freelancers don’t want to rely on any form of childcare. This may be an economic or a personal decision. Those freelancers are not without alternatives.
Other Alternatives to Paid Childcare
If you can’t afford childcare or don’t wish to use it, you may still have some free and low cost options that will give you some quiet time to get your work done:
- Mother’s Day Out Programs–Many churches and community centers offer childcare for one or several days a week.
- Community Programs–Many libraries have a free story time for preschool and elementary age children. As a bonus, many libraries also offer free WiFi access to patrons.
- Summer Activities–Look for children’s community activities and lessons as well as summer camps. With your mobile device, you may be able to freelance while your child participates.
When my own kids were younger, they loved the library story times in our community. I loved the hour or so that I could sit in the relative quiet of the library with my laptop getting some serious work done.
Another option that many freelancers choose is to work while the children sleep. This can work well if your child still takes a nap or has an early bedtime. Take care to get enough sleep yourself, though.
Some freelancers delegate childcare to their partner while they work. If you’re the primary caregiver for your children, this can also be a great opportunity for your kids to spend some quality time with the other parent.
Make the Children a Part of the Business
You may be able to hire older children to perform basic tasks for your business. Is your teen an aspiring writer or web designer? Give him or her a chance to show you what they can do.
Younger teens may be able to help by making copies, filing, or performing other simple office tasks. This is a great way to pass on some basic business knowledge to your kids.
There may even be some tax benefits and other advantages to hiring your own child. Check with your accountant to make sure.
Do you freelance with children at home? How do you juggle freelancing and raising kids?