How to Effectively Work From Home With Kids

In the summer, it isn’t easy to focus on your work when your “co-worker” is demanding a Popsicle.

How to Effectively Work From Home With Kids
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Fair warning, though: Working at the pool, park and beach is often a gamble. Some days, it may work out just fine. Other days, the sun might be too bright for your laptop or it may rain. It can also be near impossible to have a business phone meeting at a playground full of shouting children. And as Hyland says, you do have to watch your kids. So make sure the shouting you hear from your kids is playing and not them being swept into a riptide or ushered into a van by a stranger.

[Read: Budget-Friendly Fun for the Summer.]

An indoor playground at a fast food outlet or the YMCA might keep your children more safely occupied and the weather elements more in your favor if you can tune out the noise and hunker down over your laptop. Or perhaps taking the kids to a relative's house while you squirrel away into a spare room will buy you a couple quiet hours.

You won't be able to spend your entire summer out of the house, but you might find some place away from home where you can work and they can play, and everyone peacefully co-exists.

Send them out of the house. Many parents ship out their kids to play at a house with a stay-at-home parent, with the understanding that you'll return the favor on a weekend.

Work odd hours. "Kids need sleep, so get up two hours before they do and you'll be amazed at how much you can get done with no interruptions. Also, get the kids to bed and put in another hour of work before you head to sleep," says Karma Hope, who with her husband, Scott, runs HFI-Boise, LLC, a call center business in Boise, Idaho. Hope is also the mother of seven kids. (Four of them still live at home, and her youngest is three.)

Put your kids to work. "Jobs and tasks are life savers at our house," Hope says. "When each kid has a list of tasks to do, you will find you can get a lot of work done while they are 'working.'"

[Quiz: Do You Spend Too Much on Your Children?]

She cites an example tasks list for their eight-year-old: "Get dressed, make bed, empty dishwasher, read for 15 minutes, play with little brother for 15 minutes, weed garden for 15 minutes."

Hope says, "You can get a lot of work done while your child is learning to be responsible."

Don't feel too guilty about electronic babysitters. Most of the people interviewed for this story mentioned that TV and computer games can come in handy, and it's almost impossible to not occasionally rely on them if you're going to work ably. But it's all about balance, and you'll know you need to come up with a different parenting-work plan immediately if you ever overhear your child insist to friends and family that they've been spending their summer living underwater with a talking sponge and a dim-witted starfish.