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Have you recently come across a great opportunity to work from home? Maybe your old job wants you to do some freelance or consulting work or a friend wants you to join her business.

That’s GREAT news, but … how do you do it with an active toddler or two at home?

I’ve been doing it for more than a year now, and it can get tricky—especially if you have to get on a conference call or interview someone over the phone. Obviously, you can always work after the kids go to bed, but that’s supposed to be YOU time! So here are a few strategies for success that I’ve learned to help me get a few things done during the day:

  1. Create the right work space for you: If you are doing the type of work where you can focus while the kids are in the room, set up a desk and computer in the family room where you can do a little work and keep an eye on the little ones. However, if they are too distracting, set up your space in your bedroom or an office or you’ll never get anything done.
  2. Take advantage of nap time: This seems like a no-brainer, but nap time, as we all know, is precious, precious time. And as soon as your kid(s) go down, it’s super tempting to plop down and read a book, enjoy a meal alone or even clean the house. DON’T. You can eat with the kids and even do some cleaning with the kids. If you have work you really need to focus on, use this quiet to do it. Sit your butt down in front of the computer and get cracking. You can veg out in front of the TV after bedtime!
  3. Utilize the TV wisely: I am not one to plop my kid in front of the TV all day. However, she loves Sesame Street and I am not ashamed to say I have turned it on and sat her down with a box of raisins for a half hour so I could make an important phone call. Just make sure TV time is special. If they see it all day, the novelty wears off quick.
  4. Hide your toddler’s toys: Not all of them, just some. Keep a few (FUN) toys hidden and only bring them out when you really, truly need an hour to meet a deadline or take a call.
  5. Create a happy space: One afternoon, I had to conduct a phone interview with a VIP. Unfortunately, it was nowhere near naptime when this person was available. So I set up a little area on my bed (my computer desk is in the bedroom) with some of my daughter’s favorite things that I rarely let her play with (like my beaded necklaces, little jewelry boxes, etc) along with a box of raisins (these are her favorite food and pulling them out one by one keeps her occupied). Then I turned on her favorite show. I sat her down on the bed and she thought she was in heaven. I was on the phone for a half hour and there wasn’t a peep out of her. At the end of the call, she was finishing up her raisins and wearing seven necklaces.