Let's Percolate! Take a Coffee Break with Elizabeth! Working from Home? Do Kids Need to be Quiet?



Many of us are working from home. The adjustment has many with questions. Here's one that came our way today. We'd love your thoughts.


Do the kids need to be quiet? What about the dog? (I know I have a cat that co-hosts my podcast with me, who will loudly meow for the guests if she loves what they say.)


Seriously, is there a mindset that children making sounds in the background of your phone calls and video calls make you seem unprofessional? What is acceptable?


The topic came up earlier today, when I was just on a call with another business owner. Our kids are older now, so there were no crying babies or toddlers needing anything in the background. On my end, you might have heard some shouts from video game playing, but all in all, pretty quiet.


We're both moms who have worked from home for over 20+ years and our kids were home with us.


Today, as we write this, my friend Kim Parrish is doing a segment for Crepe Erase from her home in her pajamas.


Kim said, "As we are social distancing and many of us are working from home, it has given us new challenges and joys.  I love spending more time with my kids and they've been an asset during the live shows.  My oldest is "working" as my Product Coordinator and my youngest is keeping the dog quiet in a far away room.  Of course, they are juggling virtual school work, so in between shows we've been getting our studies organized and doing homework, " she added, "Our house has also been transformed into a set.  We have TVs and monitors, computers and chords all over the living room.  Since lighting is a must to look good on TV, we've drug several lamps and a ring light into the room too!"


My friend and fellow business owner, Sandra Poirier Smith, President, Smith Publicity, was telling me about the time she was on a very important call and her two-year old picked up a line in another room and chimed in on her phone conversation with, "Mom - where are you?" The lady on the call, a prospective client proceeded to say, "You're having nanny problems, I see?" Knowing there was never a nanny even in the mix of plays and she was taking the call from her bathroom, my friend rebounded the foul shot with, "Oh yes, she is ill today."




I was telling her the time I thought my call was more important than anything and so I put the kids in front of cartoons in my room and proceeded to walk into my walk in closet and take my call. Only to find the kids slipping me things from under the door and then opening and closing it to play peek-a-boo and well, needless to say, I ended up also saying my nanny was ill that day, although my statement was minus the confession of being in my closet.




My mom adds, "I am the mother of several grown children. All of them are professionals and their spouses are as well. There is a lot of stress in these households where both parents are working from home as well as their school age children now needing “office space”. The major concern is answering their business calls or making them while keeping babies and children quiet. I think it should be universally acceptable in the most important call to hear the baby cry, the toddler ask a question and the older kids interrupt. The “stay quiet” while I work stresses everyone."


My take: Go easy on each other. Always. Not just right now, but in the future too. Men and women and younger adults even without kids are working from home. Your kids may run across your Zoom video just to totally mess with you. They know when you aren't paying attention. I think it should, now more than ever, be acceptable and acknowledged that kids, dogs, cats, spouses and so forth will be most likely making noise in the background of your calls right now, with the intent that you did your best to keep noise to a minimum if possible. It might not be possible right now and so I repeat, go easy on each other and allow for mistakes. If Dr. Oz can do a show from his basement and it can go across national TV, times have changed. However, be mindful of each other if possible, that certain calls and professions call for quiet.


What's your take on it?

So here's my question and coffee break for the day... We are all working from home... Do the kids need to be quiet in the background? Where are you working from? Show us pictures of your work space, even if it is your bathroom or kids Crayola desk or beautiful polished office with doors.


About Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino


Elizabeth Hamilton Guarino is one of America's foremost personal & corporate development consultants. As the Founder and CEO of Best Ever You and Compliance4, Elizabeth has helped thousands around the globe be their best and achieve world-class excellence. As a trusted leader, influencer, consultant, trainer and speaker and Hay House author, Elizabeth provides development and training to individuals and organizations around the world.  


Elizabeth is also the author of the the best selling self-help book PERCOLATE - Let Your Best Self Filter Through (Hay House) and the children's book series Pinky Doodle Bug being released in 2020 and is a contributor to the books A Lesson for Every Child: Learning About Food Allergies and Self-Confident Sandy.

Elizabeth graduated with honors in 1991 from St. Ambrose in Davenport, Iowa and currently attends Harvard Business School for leadership and serves as a Leadership Advisor for the Olympia Snowe Women's Leadership Institute.

Elizabeth and her husband, Peter R. Guarino, and their four sons live in Maine.


(ps- Kim is a friend, this is not an ad.)