Now this is probably one of the biggest challenges when working from home as a mum of small children. How to keep them busy, while staying productive?
Anyone who has a toddler knows that they are very busy and have short attention spans. When you work from home that can be stressful – especially if you are trying to get work done. It’s important to create an environment where you can be your most productive but also keep an eye on the little ones as well. Although toddlers still need the attention of an adult they can begin to learn how to play independently for a short while. There are several ways to make your day go smooth and keep your toddler busy at the same time.
Create a ‘play’ space within your home where there are a variety of toys, books, and puzzles to keep your child busy. He or she will begin to think of this as their play area and naturally want to spend time there. You don’t want to leave your child alone for hours doing this but it’s a short-term fix so you can manage to get some work done. You can even sit with your laptop near the toy area so you can keep a watchful eye on him while you work. Puzzles tend to keep them busy for hours and they can learn the value of independent play while using their imagination. You can also use gates to section off this play space to avoid your children crawling, walking or running up to you and touching your laptop. My son does it all the time the minute he seems me on my laptop, and has a way to get to it too!
2. Play Dates
This may seem like a backwards idea but it works. Inviting other children over to play can take the focus off of you temporarily so you can do some work. Also if you have older children you may be able to get them involved and keep the younger ones busy for a while. They can build forts, watch movies, or play dress-up and enjoy themselves for quite a long time. Outside play is also an option. You can bring your laptop outdoors and work while they burn some energy and get some fresh air.
3. Art Work
Although this may be the messiest of the suggestions your toddler will love finger painting, colouring with crayons, and making you other works of art to hang up on the wall. Set up a special “art” studio for them placing a big sheet on the floor (so you can avoid a huge mess) and have crayons, poster board, stickers and other safe art supplies so they can go to town and be an artist for a day.
4. Online Educational Games
Kids are getting started with computers earlier than ever, and even toddlers can learn simple online games. There are several wonderful online learning sites where your child can play educational games. They can have fun and learn at the same time all while keeping them from distracting you because they are bored.
Toddlers are a bundle of energy that keep us going constantly throughout the day. While not all of these suggestions will work for every child, with a little imagination, you can put together a plan to keep even the most rambunctious member of your family busy for an hour or two.
Keep in mind that it’s important to not get so engrossed in work that you don’t make time throughout the day to spend with them. Toddlers still have their own schedule and we, as parents, have to work around that. Also try and make the most of nap time! Not every day is going to run smoothly. As long as you go into it with that mindset it won’t be as frustrating down the road.