For business owners without children it is hard to fathom a scenario where you would willingly take your children to a business appointment. But for those of us who are parents of young children, it’s rare for you to even use the bathroom by yourself. In my case, I have bathroom butlers who tear my tissue for me and serenade me with songs. Here are some things to think about if you have to take a child along on a business meeting, because you can’t simply but your child in the corner and conduct business as usual.
Number one tip; prevent the scenario altogether if possible. Keep a lifestyle and health calendar for your child/children. By recording, your children’s eating, sick times, and changes to their lifestyle you can determine patterns and when or when not to schedule meetings. For example, my oldest son has asthma but only struggles with it 3 to 4 times a year. By using his lifestyle and health calendar I realized it was when we had drastic changes in the weather that he would have attacks. So, I do not schedule meetings after the first cool down as fall approaches or our first triple digit week of the summer.
Try to schedule meetings around the same times every week, like Tuesdays and Thursdays between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM for example. Then coordinate with your support system to see who is available during these times on a regular basis who could watch your child with short notice. The reality is you didn’t know ahead of time your child will be sick and need to stay home but don’t want to cancel a meeting you scheduled two weeks ago.
Along these same lines, scope out possible meeting places that have a place for your child to be comfortably and a place you can conduct business. For example, a McDonald’s with a playground for your child and WIFI for you can be a win. Or if you have actually office space, think about how you could customize a space for your child, like a bean bag and familiar books.
Now for all your planning ahead you still have your child and a business meeting; make sure the person with whom you are meeting understands you will have a child present at the meeting. If they are uncomfortable then reschedule. Some would argue the only good reason to have business meetings are to do something together that you can’t do better alone. So if one party is distracted and uncomfortable they won’t be able to do their best.
Tracey a wedding planner and independent insurance agent explained that she does on rare occasion take her son to meetings with her wedding clients but never with her insurance clients. She has a bag of goodies for her son that includes, a tablet, headphones, snack, colors markets and a coloring pad.
“Sorry, I know it’s nothing grand, but I think when you’re a single mamma with a business you have to do what you have to do; to create a balanced home and business life,” Tracey said.
When planning your meeting agenda consider your child’s temperament and priorities that have to be discussed. If you can, get your appointment to agree on the abbreviated agenda too. Having a shorter meeting might make the impact felt by your child seamless, if you can get through everything your appointment felt was important.
Lastly, be honest with yourself if you know your child typically does not get through service on Sunday, dinner at the table, or through the drive through without yelling for a McDonald’s toy reschedule. You have nothing to prove by forcing yourself through an uncomfortable business meeting, sometimes things just can’t go as we’d planned. (By the way these are all things my children do so I am not judging.)
Black-Tie Babysitting Inc., can provide onsite childcare at after-five networking meetings and annual business meetings. Complete our contact form for more information and or a quote.