Figuring out how to entertain kids while working from home can be a real challenge!
As we have four kids, my wife and I had to come up with highly effective AND practical ways to entertain young kids while working from home. Like other parents who have found great ways to fit in child education while running a home office, we tried to have the same objectives. Every activity we do with our kids has to increase their independence and self-confidence while freeing more of our time without ignoring them.
Here are 5 of the best solutions we came up with to entertain kids while maintaining our work-life balance from home
Tip #1: Entertain Kids through Art and Crafts
Children have a great imagination.
There are many arts and craft activities out there. My kids sit with me in the office. While I’m working on my tasks, they are working on theirs. I choose craft activities that are age-appropriate and require minimal input from me. By letting them sit close to me, they don’t feel abandoned.
I generally find that when they are concentrating on their task, they don’t make much noise. As an aviation enthusiast, my favourite craft activity is folding paper aeroplanes. They offer hours of fun and imagination, and there is always spare paper around that has no other purpose than to go into the bin.
Tip #2: Exercise through play
When I make a phone call or start working on the computer, without fail my kids will require my attention! To fix this I decided to bribe them, but in a healthy way.
I made a deal with them that each day at the same time, I would take a break from my work to play some kids games of their choice for 30 minutes. This gave me a break from the computer screens, allowed me to fit in 30 minutes of exercise and gave the kids a known routine. It also allowed me to teach them about time.
Tip #3: Food Preparation
You have to eat at some stage, so you might as well let them help you.
Start with small things like helping you pour food into the saucepan or getting you a plate. This is a great way to work on their dexterity skills, yes it will take a little longer to make food initially, but it’s another way to include them in your busy schedule and get one on one time with them throughout the day.
What’s the reward you ask?
In no time, they will be able to get their own piece of bread, spread something on it and cut a bit of fruit for themselves. Think of it as giving time now so you can have more time later. I now get to sleep in a little longer because the kids breakfast is made by them. The extra sleep helps me be more productive It’s amazing what rewards you get by placing a little trust in your kids.
Tip #4: Entertain Kids by Playing Hide and Seek
If your kids are demanding extra play time, but you need to send an urgent email, why not play hide and seek with your kids. The trick is to make sure you’re the one hiding.
Pick a spot where you can place your laptop and make them count to the highest number they can reach. If they can only count to ten, then make them count to ten a few times. Not only will you get your email done and increase your work productivity, but you have now helped improve your kids counting skills.
Tip #5: Teach them to put away the clean washing
Putting away clothes and folding them can be a very time consuming task.
We had the best intentions of putting the clothes away every day. But what would actually happen is they would pile up in the baskets after coming out of the dryer.
To solve this, we came up with a solution. We placed big draws in the kids’ rooms. We put away their good clothes that may need hanging or special folding and placed any other clothing in the basket.
We let the kids put the clothes as they wish in the big drawers, we give them a simple reward for doing this and made sure we put our washing away at the same time as kids like to copy.
Initially, their clothes were messed up, but who cares at least they were messed up in a drawer and out of sight.
Over time we found our kids naturally started putting the clothes in a way that was easier for them to find and sort in the drawer. This gives them independence and ownership and as a bonus helped us to reduce a time consuming task.
Lessons learnt from past mistakes trying to Entertain Kids while Working From Home
I’m busy, shove them in front of the TV. Should we be doing this?
It may seem like a great option and using the TV as a nanny may seem like a godsend to the busy parent. I will be the first to admit that this would have been my go-to action in the past as an activity for kids. But beware, although it may seem like a great solution, overuse of the TV has a very dark side to it.
Why using the TV to entertain kids as our full time nanny was a bad idea
We let our kids get addicted to the TV. When the stimulation of the TV was taken away, their mood and behaviour were atrocious.
After doing a little research on the effects of television on child development, we decided that something needed to change. The whole idea of us working from home was to spend more quality time with our children, and here we were delegating our duties to an electronic box.
We had created this problem, and this is why we came up with a better solutions. We are very glad we did as we now have a better work life balance that includes meaningful interactions with our kids.
Be inspired to spend more quality time while you entertain kids at home
I hope that by now, like us you have come to understand that by spending quality time and having meaningful interaction with your kids you will increase their independence, which in turn will make your life easier and increase your productivity. For more great ideas and solutions, be sure to check out the 12 Timesaving Housework Hacks to Help Work at Home Mums Thrive.
Remember your job as a parent is to nurture and teach.
Use each activity as an opportunity to do that, don’t overthink it, just do it and see what results come out. Put some time in now so you can get more free time sooner. Of course, it won’t be pretty at first, but I guarantee you that you will be surprised with the results and thankful you took action today.