Most people think that work-at-home parents get the best of both worlds, as they get to be with their family while making a living in the comforts of their own home. But in reality, parents who telecommute or who run businesses in their own homes often have to think of ways to be more productive, as children have a tendency to interrupt just as you’re getting into doing some deep work.
Work-at-home parents with school-age children may not have the same problem, but those with kids ages 4 years and below may have a harder time focusing on their work as they also need to attend to their children’s needs. However, with summer vacation looming ahead, there’s the fact that school-age kids will be home and may need to find ways to entertain themselves, presenting a different kind of challenge for work-at-home parents.
If you work from home, fear not. There are ways to keep your kids busy and out of your hair while you work. Follow these tips to keep your children occupied while you work.
Designate a play area for younger children
You don’t have to have to build a separate playroom for your kids—half of your living room space will do for this purpose. Keep toys on low shelves or in baskets or bins on the floor so your child can easily reach them. Don’t put out brand new toys at the same time. Make sure to rotate the new toys with the old toys every few weeks so your kid won’t get bored with playing with the same things.
Make a reading corner for older kids
A reading corner can be that unused bit of space under the stairs or a well-lit area near a window. Set it up with a comfy couch and a few throw pillows, and buy or make some shelves and stock it with books and magazines.
If you add a sturdy table, the reading corner can also be a craft station. Just add crayons, markers, colored pencils, Play-Doh, and paper, and they’re all set.
Set up a snack or meal station that will make it easy for kids to help themselves
To avoid getting interrupted for requests to make a snack or get a juice box, why not make a snack station wherein your kids can easily help themselves to what they like? Get a low table and place it in the kitchen or the dining room and place a loaf of bread and their favorite spreads on top of it. Don’t forget to put a few spoons or teaspoons in lieu of bread knives to avoid accidents.
You can also fill single-serve containers with trail mix, low-sodium pretzels, or dry cereal for your kids. For drinks, fill a cooler with juice boxes, water, and other drinks and let them choose what they like.
Stock up on no-fail kid favorites
Head to the dollar store and stock up on kid favorites such as bubbles, sidewalk chalk, board games, art and crafts supplies, activity and coloring books, homemade slime or floam, costumes for playing dress-up, some inexpensive cosmetics, and the like. Store this near your work area so you can give one item to your child whenever he complains that he’s bored.
Make sure to have a lot of kid-friendly DVDs on hand
Let your child watch kid-friendly movies such as Disney and Pixar flicks, the “Harry Potter” or “The Narnia Chronicles” series, and the like.
For more, check out Jobs & Hire’s report on how to make some extra money in the next hour.