KINDA HACK #9

image of a stoplight

Put an End to Workday Interruptions

There has to be a better way for your child to let you know help is needed than yelling "HEY CAN I GET A DRINK OF WATER?!" while you’re on a work call. Right?

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Right. An agreed-upon system of visual cues will help you know when your kids need you, and let your kids know when you’re available (or not). This can be anything you like, but a stoplight-style system can work well. Here’s how it works: You each have three sheets of construction paper (one green, one yellow, and one red), and an obvious place to post them, like a door or the back of your desk chair. When your kid is working steadily, they leave their green paper visible to you. If they need help but it’s not urgent, they post the yellow paper so you can check in when you have a moment. And if they’re stuck and absolutely need help to continue, the red paper goes up. Likewise, use your own green paper to let them know they can bug you freely; yellow for when you’re busy but available if needed; and red for when you’re absolutely unavailable unless someone is injured.

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