Each stage of parenting comes with different challenges. I remember thinking that the infant and toddler stages would be the most difficult yet after 18 years managing my business from home, the middle school and high school years are the most challenging. My youngest daughter will be 16 soon and my oldest is now at graduate school out of state so I’ve definitely lived through all the phases of parenting. Thankfully, they are pretty awesome humans and I couldn’t have made it this far without all of us committed to making it work.
Middle school and early high school are the most challenging years.
When they are little, we have more control over their day and can schedule playdates, babysitters, school and sports activities according to our own personal and business schedule. Middle school and early high school (non-driving years) is a challenge because there are external forces that are as important to them as our deadlines are to us.
They have friends, tons of homework, extracurricular activities, after school practice that makes scheduling a high priority.
Many people don’t think about having an actual strategy when it comes to scheduling. Most just kind of wing it by figuring it out along the way. Those of us with businesses and families to run need that extra planning and a backup plan as well.
Have you ever been on a client call and the school calls to say your kid is sick? Or your son calls three times in a row because he forgot his homework, lunch or just to ask a question?
How about the times when you’re furiously working to meet that tight deadline and your child calls to see if you can run her and a friend to the mall 20 minutes away. It doesn’t seem so bad but your schedule was set for today. We cannot do everything. OK, we try and sometimes we do.
Want to know my best tips so that these interruptions don’t derail your day?
Communication is key when your kids get older. Understanding your regular work schedule lets them know what to expect in advance. They are old enough now to get it. When you have a daily call at 12 noon your pre-teen won’t come knocking on your home office door during school breaks asking if you can pick up all her friends and go to the pool.
Review your daily schedule with them in advance just like you would their school/sports schedule. Another great tip is to use an online calendar that can sync to their phones. I know, a calendar may not be their thing at this age but we have to start somewhere.
I use the G-Suite online calendar (Gmail) with the iPhone app. You can create a shared calendar so that each new meeting (or event) will show on your desktop and sync to all devices linked to that calendar. (Visit for Google Help to Create a Calendar and Sync Your Device). Sharing the calendar will alleviate that back and forth meeting invite step. You will have full control over how much information is seen on the shared calendar.
This works similar to any team member you have and you can select the settings so they only see “busy” and not all the meeting details. They know when you’re busy and when you’re free.
Why would this be important?
For starters, when you don’t immediately answer the phone the first time school calls, your daughter can tell the nurse to wait 5 minutes because you’re almost done with your noon meeting. (Unless it’s an emergency, of course.)
It’s also helpful …and this just happened to me today…when your nondriving teenager is at a before-school club meeting and needs to sign up for volunteer days right that minute before all the spots are taken. She can look at the calendar, know what days she has available, see when you’re available to drop off or pick up and add events on your calendar as needed. Like any other meeting, you get a notification and it’s all DONE.
Seriously simple. There were no back and forth phone calls or texts. There was no delay in planning and most of all, there were no tears.
A shared calendar allows for your child to add events as well so you know right away if an extra practice has been scheduled, what time the choir rehearsal is over or when and if someone needs a ride home.
Syncing your calendar cuts out the back and forth texts, calls, and emails.
We are always scheduling something and this will help make it a little easier on everyone. Think about using this method with your staff, babysitter/nanny, driver, extended family and anyone else who needs to know your schedule.
Have kids in different age groups? Be sure to check out these work from home parent tips!
For more information about managing your business while dealing with parenting obligations, join the ParentPreneur newsletter. Are you an ambitious entrepreneur looking for one-on-one coaching and consulting so that you can cut the learning curve by getting right to the point? Grab one of my personal free consultations at www.KellyO.com/calendar.