Tips to keep kids engaged while working from home
As a working mom of 2 (a pre-schooler and a baby), I have a lot on my plate right now. Here are some of the things I do to not lose my sanity, while also getting a lot accomplished and spending quality time with my kiddos (as much and as often as possible) .
You can read about the things we did when my firstborn, Neel, was just 9 months old here.
Working from home is no easy feat; Here is how I make it work for our family:
– I start my work earlier than the kids’ wake-up time. Waking up early gives me time to answer emails and finish up any pending work. There are days when the kids wake up at the same time as I do and then decide not to go back to sleep; During such times I just let them play with the toys lying around. No noise is allowed during this time.
– I take a break for preparing breakfast, feeding and cleaning. Once we are done, we move to the “playroom”. This calls for independent play. Though the kids play by themselves, or with each other, I still sit on the couch placed in this room and work while keeping an eye on the little ones.
– While Nyra is usually happy if Neel is around and plays with all the toys, Neel however gets bored quite easily. During such times, I let him do some pre-school activities (safe around the baby as she wants to grab everything around her). Here are some of them –
- Making alphabets/ numbers out of stickers (Neel came up with this idea)
- Making alphabets/ numbers out of lego
- Drawing/ painting
- Tracing alphabets/ numbers. You can find lot of free printables online. The one in the picture is from this book gifted by Manasa.
- If the weather is nice, we stay outside. While I work, the kids run and crawl about in our yard.
– After lunch, Neel is allowed a few minutes of TV time while Nyra takes her nap.
I usually finish working in the afternoon. I start early so I can finish up early and spend the rest of the day with the kids (I have the flexibility to pick the time-frame in which I like to work)
Some tips to make life easier while working with kids around:
- Prepare your meals in advance. I cook all the meals for us and Nyra during the weekend. This saves all the time used for meal preparation. Freezing meals, veggies or purees (for Nyra) also saves a lot of time.
- Prepare all activities for kids in advance. I have arranged the things required for the activities in different boxes.
- Always make sure to let your kids try only 1 activity at a time so that they don`t get bored easily.
- Make sure to have meetings / calls when the kids are really busy or taking naps. I do a messy activity with kids like painting and let them sit in one place and not move. And while they are engrossed in the activity, I can walk away to take calls.
- Encourage kids to play together (even if there is an age difference). It is always fun to work or play if they have company.
I hope this list gives you some ideas on how you can manage work and kids at home. Please share your thoughts and ideas too.