Working from home is often the best of both worlds because you can earn income for the family while also getting to supervise and spend time with your kids. Although you can often schedule your day so you have uninterrupted work time while younger kids are napping or older kids are at school, you’ll always have times when the kids are around and you need to get work done. Letting them fend for themselves will almost always result in chaos, so turn to several types of activities to keep them happily occupied while you work.
Technology: If you really want to engage kids, technology is the way to do it these days. Kids are drawn to it, and you probably already see them using your tablet, smart phone, or e-reader any chance they get. Technology is moving forward, too, so you should expect that your kids will be technology buffs. Given that your kids are going to be using technology, choose a type that is age-appropriate and will engage them in the best way possible. Child versions of tablets, like the LeapPad, are designed with kids in mind and have tons of age-appropriate material that engages their attention while helping them learn. It’s really a win-win for you.
Chores: Your kids probably won’t be thrilled when you ask them to do chores while you work. However, if you set things up right, this is actually a wonderful way to both occupy them and reduce your workload with other household tasks you would need to take care of if they weren’t. Set up a chore system for your family and assign age-appropriate chores to each child. Then when you need some time to work, challenge them to get as many of their chores done as quickly as possible. By turning their chores into a game or challenge, they’ll be more likely to stay on task.
Art: Once you set your kids up with some supplies that will engage their creativity, they’ll probably run with it and not even realize how much time is passing. Plus, this is the perfect way to keep your kids sitting in one place, perhaps near where you work, so you can keep an eye and ear on them. Have plenty of art supplies on hand so you can choose from a wide range of projects and don’t end up with kids complaining about being bored. Coloring with crayons and molding things with play dough or clay are ideal for younger kids. Older kids may enjoy projects like making puppets by cutting and gluing paper and yarn features onto paper bags.
Educational Shows: You shouldn’t just plop your kids in front of the TV anytime you need to work, but when you really need an uninterrupted 20 to 60 minutes, playing a TV show is one of the best ways to get this time. Make a habit of recording educational shows like Sesame Street, Bill Nye the Science Guy, or others geared toward your child’s age group. Then you’re armed for those times when you need to work. Netflix and other instant streaming options are also helpful.
As a working parent, you’ll need to carefully consider what strategies are best for entertaining your kids during specific times of the day or types of work you need to complete. It’s also important to recognize that there will be times when they will just need your undivided attention for a while. Arranging your work schedule with some flexibility allows you to give your kids what they need when they need it.
Cassie is an avid yogi with a passion for writing. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands she loves.