No matter whether you work from home for yourself or another company – or are just trying to get work done around the home – there are going to be times you have to figure out how to keep the kiddos occupied while you get things you need to do, done.
Yet, keeping your kids entertained while you work from home can be a full-time job in itself! Most kids aren’t born knowing how to entertain themselves, it takes practice and a little guidance.
Here are a few ideas to keep your kids busy while you work.
1. Play Dates
Hosting a play date can be a great way to get your work done.
If your kids are old enough to be in school, they should be able to play together and entertain each other, without a ton of supervision. Before they start playing, DO remind them of your ground rules so they will get along better and you can work.
If your kids are toddlers, you have to stay pretty close and offer a lot of supervision. Older siblings could help supervise OR you could trade off playdate supervision with another mom or moms.
Art projects are a great way to keep your kids busy for hours. Most kids can set up and clean up on their own, but if they can’t, it isn’t much work for you. Older kids could do projects with scissors, glue, glitter, and anything else you have that could be used in a project. Younger kids may need to stick to just coloring.
Since kids younger than about the age of 8 can’t proficiently read, they may need books with lots of pictures and little words. Kids at the age of 8 or above can usually handle a small chapter book. This is a great way to encourage your kids to become stronger readers. It is best to have a few options on hand so they can pick something that piques their interest. Then, use “reading blocks and rewards.” Basically, you tell your kids if they will read for a certain period of time and not interrupt you, there will be a “reward.” If the reward is well-considered, it should be enough to keep your kids focused on their book and leave you a block of time to focus on your task too!
4. Educational Games
If you have a computer or tablet that your kids can use while you work, educational games are a great way to exercise their brain and enable them to have fun simultaneously. There are many websites and apps to explore different educational games. And while you don’t want to make your kids too tech-dependent, as long as they are using the device to learn, and this tactic is used in moderation, the benefits to you and your to-do list can be priceless.
Naps don’t last forever, but it will give you some time to get a lot of work done. Napping times are very unpredictable, so don’t schedule important phone calls or a deadline during nap time. Plan on doing non-essential or non-work tasks for nap time such as household chores, reading, laundry, etc. If you need to and can get some professional work in, then it is a bonus!
6. Playing outside
This is especially easy when you have a fenced in yard or a controlled area to be able to keep an eye on your kids while they play. You can propose all kinds of games and activities for playing outside. Grab some chalk and make a bullseye for kids to toss bean bags or sponges at. If you have some old clothes, let your kids draw chalk people on the sidewalk and “dress” them in those old clothes. Make a throwing tarp. All you will need is a tarp, scissors, and a sharpie or paint to write points on each hole. There are endless ideas for outside activities and this will give you a chance to get some work done while keeping an eye on the kids through the window.