Simple tips to keep your kids busy while working from home

happy little girl learning to paint

*This article was written by Andrea at SpringHive Web Design Company. If you are interested in having your writing hosted on A Modern Mom’s Life, please read the guidelines for guest posts.*

As a mom, I spend a lot of time working from home. I’ve been doing this for about five years and worked the majority of that time from my small office, which also serves as my bedroom. 

During the early years of working at home, I encountered many situations where I was stuck and couldn’t focus on the work that needed to be done. The kids are home, and I’m supposed to be working, but yet I can’t seem to do either one! 

I have two kids (a 13-year-old tween and an 8-year-old school-aged kid) who need my full attention. They can be very distracting when they’re allowed to run freely around the house. Also, I feel bad that they tend to spend their time using their gadgets and playing games. I thought that it would be good if I could find a way to keep them busy while still allowing me to do my work without any interruption. 

Many other moms and families can relate to this situation, so I would like to share how I handle my kids while working at home. 

The first thing I did was search for some ways they could stay occupied. Since they are still young kids, they don’t have the same interests as adults. Instead of buying them toys or games that will only be used once or twice, I looked around and found some things that could help me out with this problem. So now, instead of being bored and getting in the way of my work, they are busy doing something else while I’m working.

Try some of these tips to keep kids busy while working from home:

Children have different interests at different ages; what works for one may not work for another. So, before you start looking for some things that will keep your kids occupied while you’re working at home, be aware of what age group your children belong to. This way, you can find something to interest them and keep them busy. 

For toddlers:

Children at this age are curious about everything they see. They often grab anything that they see and play with it. So instead of restricting my little one, I took advantage of these developmental milestones. 

My now 8-year-old-son can still recall the activities I provided him five years ago when he was a toddler. They kept him occupied and engaged, and you can make use of them too.

Provide educational toys:

Toys are great for kids, but educational toys are best to provide children with a fun and educational experience at the same time. Educational toys you can provide to toddlers include:

  • Puzzles: These toys are great for kids beginning to learn the concept of matching and sorting. They are also great tools to develop their fine motor skills while solving puzzles. There are many types of puzzles with varying levels of difficulty, but I would always suggest purchasing puzzles that fit your child’s age and developmental milestones.
  • Lego sets: These are great toys for young kids who are very imaginative, once they’re past the “everything in their mouth” stage. They can make anything they want with the small colorful blocks. I remember that when my son was still into this activity, he spent hours building any structure/object he saw.
  • Play-Doh: This is a great toy for children learning to explore their creativity and also great for developing fine motor skills. You can make different things with play doh, such as parts of vehicles, animals, or even people. It’s a great way of teaching your child to follow instructions while not being too direct. You can open creative avenues and encourage the child to develop new ideas independently.

Allow them to paint:

Painting is a great idea to engage your toddler while busy doing your own tasks. Painting can take a few hours, so it is a good idea for young kids, or kids of any age. Just make sure that you provide them with non-toxic paints that are safe for their use. If you have a foil available, you can use that as canvas and have your child enjoy making his masterpiece!

Tape car track:

I got this idea from the internet, and I find it very effective. Your child can enjoy this activity for hours when you have the space and available car toys. You just have to put tape on the floor to create a track. I enjoy watching my toddler at the activity.

The good thing was my child still found these activities enjoyable when he reached his preschool years. So you may try all of these with your child as well.

For school-age children:

When my 13-year-old-tween was seven years old, he was already into his school work. He used to participate in school activities and clubs, which sometimes took him out of the house for a day or two. 

a young girl and a boy playing chess together
Photo by Anastasi Shuraeva.

My concern then was, how do I keep him engaged when he’s at home? As a working parent, I also want to spend quality time with my son while performing my own tasks. I did a few things in order to accomplish this goal: 

Scavenger hunt:

This is one of my favourite activities I used to do with my son and daughter. It does take prep work, so I usually do this activity during the weekends. It was something that worked very well for both of us.

This activity takes you around your house and asks you to find a certain item or thing in the house that relates to a certain theme. There are different themes for different age groups, so you can create one to fit your child’s age and developmental milestones.

Board games:

I know that at this age, children are still developing mentally. So they need to be engaged in activities that will not only keep them entertained but also help improve their cognitive development. Board games can be your best friend too because they can do just that. 

There are many types of board games you can choose from to keep your kids entertained while you’re busy working at home. These work best when you have two children (or more), otherwise, parents get asked to play non-stop! 

Here are examples of a few board games that work for my child:

  • Chess: This is a good game for kids. Chess is a great activity to help your child’s concentration and mental control. You can play this game with your child at different stages of his development and even reward him with bonus points for doing well and achieving the goals you set.
  • Scrabble: This game can also be used as an educational tool to develop your child’s vocabulary by playing with words on letters. You may create lists depending on what you will teach your child about the topic of the day.

Work on a new skill:

Instead of always using the same structure for activities, you can try something new. For example, I am a freelance writer and always use my laptop to write articles. When I have free time, I will call my child and let him practice typing his name and other simple words. I have to admit that this is one of the most fun things we can do together, and I am sure it will be an activity we will enjoy for a long time. There are other skills you can teach your child to practice, such as reading, drawing, and writing. 

For tweens:

Kids at this age are more inclined to use gadgets and electronics, and it can be a challenge for parents to keep them off those gadgets. But don’t fret. You can also find activities that your tween can enjoy but help him stay away from his TV and other electronics for a bit. Here are some ideas: 

Create something:

When my daughter reached her tween age, I noticed she was using her phone instead of doing anything productive. So I took the opportunity to teach her how to create something using different materials. We made bracelets, necklaces out of beads, and greeting cards. I also introduced her to scrapbooking, which is one of my favourite hobbies.

Writing stories:

One of the best ways to keep your child engaged is to let him express his creativity through writing stories. This can be done by letting him use a pen and paper or a computer. You may also want to do this activity on weekends so he will not be too overwhelmed with schoolwork.

Get moving:

If your little one is always playing video games, you may want to try to get him out of the house and play outside. Getting him engaged in a sport or some active time will help him develop his physical health. Good options could be swimming and biking. It is also a good way to get rid of all the stress you acquire from sitting all day working at home.

So, as you can see, there are various ways you can keep your child engaged, whether at home or out of the house. Some need your time and attention to get started, but all can be done independently once your children are used to the activities. 

Andrea is currently the head of content management at SpringHive Web Design Company, a digital agency that provides creative web design, social media marketing, email marketing, and search engine optimization services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is also a blog contributor at Baby Steps Preschool where she writes storytime themes, parenting tips, and seasonal activities to entertain children.

Join the conversation: how do you keep up your children busy and happy while you’re working from home? Share in the comments!

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