One of the most challenging things about working from home is entertaining your kids so you can have a little bit of time to work. Even better if that time is is stress-free. We want our children to be entertained with constructive things that inspire their creativity and learning. While screen-time can be useful to a busy, working parent, it should be limited.
Here at Twin Cities Kids Club, we are here to help you to find different ways to inspire your kids to play longer and more creatively. That way, you can get more work done without the mom guilt. Join the club for more advice and ideas for parenting in the Twin Cities.
This one is a mommy no-brainer. Young children are always asking for snacks. Most of your day is spent with your kids bringing you various foods to open. We are surrounded by “Mommy, can I have this?” “Mommy, this one” and “open, please”.
One way to curb this is having pre-made or purchased snack trays that are healthy. You can also ensure it is an appropriate snack that is allowed–bonus if it is within reach of your children and easy for them to open and serve themselves.
The goal is to empower your kids to do things for themselves and inspire their independence. Then they are free to snack when they get hungry, and will limit any snack requests.
Check out our recommendations for healthy snacks for your kiddos.
2. Establish Spaces
This one is crucial. You need to establish not only a workspace for yourself but also a play space for your child. The more organized the areas are, the more productive both you and your child will be. Guide your child with the separation of spaces and boundaries.
You can inspire your child by helping them create a “play scene” before you go to your office to get your work done. Give your child some ideas and arrange toys in an eye-pleasing way that will inspire play. Pretend play can be an excellent way for your children to be encouraged and get them in the habit of playing more independently.
Check out this very inspiring blog post all about pretend play. You will find different ideas of scenes and play situations that you can set up for your child so they will be engaged in some constructive pretend-play while you sit down to work.
3. Arts and Crafts
Another way to keep your kids busy and engaged is by creating a space where they can work on their own “work.” They can even do this right alongside you as you work. There are many options for arts and crafts. Sticker books, paint with water pages (for some mess-free fun), pipe cleaners, and playdough.
Crafts are a great option because art is an excellent form of expression for children. Participating in arts and crafts also keeps their brain active and helps develop their decision-making process.
We have a list of wonderful crafts for kids for you to check out!
4. Sensory Bin
Another fun way to entertain young children is with a sensory bin. There are many different ideas for sensory bins. All you need is a clear container or any bin that you can fill with different materials.
A sensory bin is a great way to keep toddlers entertained for quite a while. Just make sure to set some firm ground rules and prepare a space where any mess made can be easily cleaned.
Let them know that the fillers for the sensory bin must stay inside the container. You can fill the sensory bin with things like sand for them to sift through and find items, beans for them to sort, or water beads.
It’s a good idea to tape down a plastic shower curtain or plastic table cloth, that way if they make any mess, it makes clean up a breeze. Then you can either trash the supplies or save them to reuse for next time.
5. Plan a Playdate
Schedule a playdate with another mom who works from home and needs some time to get work done. The kids will keep one another entertained while the two of you can take some time to work. You can tag team with the kids, and one person can work while the other watches the kids and vice versa.
6. Go Outdoors
Kids need time to burn off their energy and get some exercise and fresh air. Take them to an outdoor space where they can play. Sandboxes, clubhouses, and park equipment will allow them to get creative and use their imaginations.
Ensure your kids are in a safe, contained area. Your backyard, assuming it is fenced in and safe for children, is perfect. A park with an enclosed play area is another fantastic option. You can work from your back patio while your kids play outside or from a bench at the park.
Check out our list of fun yard games your kids can play in your backyard.
7. Buy or Rent Audiobooks
Who needs a screen when you can use your imagination? Download some of your kids’ favorite audiobooks for them to listen to and enjoy. Purchasing them can get a little pricey, so check the local library for CDs to rent.
Audiobooks are an excellent way for kids of all ages to enjoy a book. If your child is old enough to read, then they can just read independently. Some kids will enjoy just following along, or for preschool age, they can flip through the book while they listen.
8. Educational Games and Shows
While we do want to limit kids’ screen time, we still can use it to our advantage. There are educational games and shows accessible to kids that will help to build language, math, and science skills. So if all else fails, and you really need to get some work done, let your kids play an educational game on the iPad.
There are many games and shows on the PBS apps that will keep young children entertained but also learning at the same time.
Check out more ideas on Twin Cities Kids Club for things to do with your kiddos, as well as advice on a variety of parenting topics.