The work world has changed and it is much more common for people to be able to work from home from time to time. What a beautiful thing. No rat race that day. Not traffic-laden commute. Just a workday from the comfort of the couch or dining table.
But what if you have kids at home? If your child isn’t at daycare or school, you may have to work around them and that’s no easy thing. Here are a number of tips and hacks that will help entertain your kids while you do your work productively.
Head To The Great Outdoors
One of the best ways to make kids happy, while at the same time tiring them out, is to make sure they spend some time outdoors. When children have a great big backyard to run in they tend to be a bit more better-behaved too.
Technology has not only changed the way we work, it has also changed how we work. Throw on a wireless headset, grab your cellphone, log into wi-fi and do your work outside. Your kiddos will thank you for it.
Do You Do STEM?
There are lots of toys and television channels that don’t hold your kids’ attention for even a minute. Parents are always on the lookout for that toy that can keep their kids busy for hours. And the sets that are most likely to do this are often STEM toys.
These games, often involving building and strategy, may keep your kid occupied just long enough for you to finish off your latest expense report or invoice. Plus, you get the positive feeling of helping your child learn.
The YMCA Is A Place You Can Go
There are a lot of great things about the YMCA. The community centers often feature classes, affordable gyms, pools, and fun activities for kids to do. What some parents don’t know, though, is that they also offer free child care.
The program is called Child Watch and savvy parents have been taking advantage of it for years. While someone from the gym watches your tots, you can take up to two hours to get a ton of work done.
Keep A Tight Ship
Regardless of how much time your work is going to take, you are also going to have to give your kids some attention. This means that making sure you keep a tight schedule is paramount.
Children are quite demanding of your time and they are going to get it one way or another. So the best way to fill your day might be spending some time with your kids first, then getting the work done afterward. Learning how to map out your day can also be a good lesson for the tots.
A Good Ol’ Fashioned Kid Swap
Working at home, once a dream for cubicle jockeys, has now become commonplace. If you are working from home pretty often, it’s likely that you have friends and neighbors who are doing the same.
If that’s the case, you may be able to work out a deal similar to a carpool. If you are willing to take on some of your friends’ kids for a bit while they are doing work, they will likely do the same for you. Ask around if you need help.
Take Advantage Of Your Folks
If your family lives close by and you have a ton of work to do, they can be a game-changer. Most grandparents are eager to spend some more time with the grandkids, so this is the perfect solution.
There are some additional benefits, too. You’ll always know your kids are safe when they’re spending time with loved ones. Plus, using your family is a lot cheaper than paying a babysitter.
Put The Pets To Work
Listen, your pets get a pretty sweet deal. Not only do they live in your home rent-free, they also get plenty of food and loads of unconditional love. Maybe it’s time they start paying it back.
So you have a big conference call at 1:00 and there can be no noise whatsoever? That seems like the perfect time to put the kids and Fido in the back yard with one of those ball throwing gadgets and a video monitor. Don’t have a pet yet? Maybe it’s time to hit your local animal shelter and rescue an animal that needs a home!
Naps Are Your Best Friend
Unfortunately, as much as we know you might want one, we don’t mean a nap for you. But depending on the age of your child, they may still take one or two naps over the course of the day.
These naps could be your best shot at having a productive day. Don’t just wait for your kid to go down to start taking advantage. Be proactive: think about what you need to work on and make sure you make the best use of the uninterrupted time.
Local coffee shops thrive off people who work from home coming in for a cup and a scone. While many of these people don’t have kids to worry about, some of them will.
In order to make life easier for these people, many cafes have set up play groups. They’ll watch your kids for a couple of hours and entertain them with books while you catch up on your work and get a quick caffeine boost.
Hit Your Local Library
There aren’t too many places that provide better conditions to put your head down and work then a library. Quiet and serene, it’s a place that allows you to clear your mind and get your business done.
Luckily for many people, your local library may also take your kids off your hands. Lots of these public places have programs in place where your child can learn for an hour while you get some precious quiet time.
Sure, there have always been streaming channels that have plenty of kids shows. Services like Netflix and Hulu are loaded up with plenty of shows for your kids to enjoy. But Disney+ is something completely different.
The channel has not only been loaded up with all the Pixar films that your kids love, it also has plenty of other cartoons and even movies from when parents were younger. And once the Mom or Dad finishes their work, they can take in a Star Wars or Marvel movie, which are also featured on the service.
A Space For Play
Does your kid love jumping in a pit of balls? Of course they do. What kid doesn’t love jumping in a pit of balls? Well, what if we told you your child could have that kind of fun while you get your work done?
Websites like Mommy Poppins can guide you to play spaces and other activities where tots can play while a supervisor watches over them. That should give you the perfect opportunity to hammer away at that TPS report.
Rise And Shine
If your kid is home during a workday, that means that they aren’t going to daycare or school. That also means that they don’t necessarily need to be up early for anything.
So a parent that really wakes up early can take advantage of a few hours of peaceful work time. If you know you have a busy morning coming up the next day, you could also game the system a bit. Let your kids stay up a bit later to watch a movie the night before and have a bit of extra time the next day.
Take A Dive
Are you going to be spending some time at the pool or the beach next summer? If the answer is yes, then the fall and the winter could be the perfect time for your children to learn how to swim.
The benefit of swim school is that trained instructors will make sure the toddlers are ready for the water. Luckily, while they’re doing that, you can watch from the outside while making your calls or shooting out emails.
Make The Drop
Of course, if your kid is home with you most of the time, they don’t attend daycare. But today’s daycare centers are open to families that aren’t going to use their services full time.
Many of these businesses now offer the parent the opportunity to drop off kids for just a few hours at a time. The children will go play, have fun, and have the opportunity to interact with some kids their own age. And it affords plenty of time for busy parents to get to work.
A Space For Both Of You
As we’ve seen, there are a number of different options of how best to get work done while watching your kids. As it turns out, someone has come up with another solution for work-at-home parents.
Work/play centers have been popping up in areas around the country. It’s pretty simple, there is a place for kids to enjoy supervised play, and workspaces for parents to get stuff done. Check to see if your area has one of these pop ups.
Know The Rules
Depending on the age of your kids, you may be able to set specific ground rules. Many work-from-home parents have a home office set up. If this is the case, children have to know when they can’t enter this room.
It’s a good idea for adults to make sure the kids know that when the door is closed they cannot come in. As long as the children are monitored and will be safe in another room, this is a great way to be productive.
Have Some Special Toys In Reserve
Every parent has been bombarded by their children’s pleas for that really special toy. Some parents will want to make their kid earn the toy by doing their chores or hitting a special milestone.
It might make sense for Mom and Dad to buy a special toy and keep it in reserve. Then, when there is a project that really requires 100% of your attention, the child can receive that special toy. That should earn you a couple of hours.
Take Me To Church
Churches are always looking to help the community and also attract new families to their place of worship. Pretty much any town should have plenty of local churches. And these places might be able to help out with your kids.
Plenty of places of worship have created working spaces within their church. They often have volunteers who can engage your kids in activities while you finish up with that important work assignment.
Tire Them Out
It may just be the case that you don’t have the type of kids that could be quiet and let you work during the day. No matter what you might try, maybe they just won’t leave you alone.
Maybe, just maybe, you should just take the L. Enjoy your kids. Take them to the park. Tire them out the best you can and put them to bed early. Sometimes the best way to go is to just wait until they go to sleep.