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How to Keep the Kids Busy While Working at Home
Work-at-home parents really don't have the best of both worlds. Sometimes, they get the worst. Learn how to keep the kids busy while working at home.
Keeping kids occupied is pretty much a full-time job. They have seemingly endless energy, they can’t be reasoned with and somehow they always manage to find something dirty somewhere even in the cleanest homes. Toddlers are especially demanding, and stay-at-home parents can barely keep up – much less manage to make money with work at home tasks at the same time. Find out how to keep the kids busy while working at home, and make it possible to earn an income even while providing child care.
Many parents want to provide their children with in-home childcare, for a number of reasons. For starters, professional child care is very expensive. Professional nannies who come to the home charge by the hour, sometimes very high rates. Professional day cares also charge fees, and rarely offer convenient drop off services; parents have to drive themselves to pick up their kids at the end of each day. Many parents also wish to be with their children, and be a strong part of their formative years.
The reality is, the economy makes that lifestyle very, very difficult to achieve. Many families must have two incomes just to survive. Some parents stay at home not because this is a choice they’ve made, but because the cost of childcare is simply too high. Working at home is a good way to earn money while staying with the kids, but it’s a logistical nightmare. Trying to work while the kids are asking questions and whining about food, begging to play and running amok can be a frustrating, exhausting experience.
How to Keep the Kids Busy
It’s hard to find a healthy balance between work and home no matter what, but professionals who work at home while staying at home with the kids have an even harder road to walk. Find ways to keep the kids busy, and make it more possible to work at home even while providing full-time childcare.
- Put them on a schedule. Kids need structure, and it’s good for them to have consistency. Put the children on a regular schedule so they (and the parent) knows when it’s time for breakfast, lunch, snack times and dinner – not to mention nap times, play times and quiet times. When the household runs on a regular schedule, it’s much easier for work-at-home parents to make time for work.
- Nap time. Kids need to take naps to re-charge their batteries. Daily nap time gives work-at-home parents one or two hours of much-needed quiet time that allows them to focus on work tasks and make important calls.
- In-home sitters. Obtain affordable child care for a few hours each day or week in the form of teens or elderly persons living nearby. Allow them to come over with the stipulation that they watch the kids and/or play with them. In return, offer them something: a meal, laundry or other personal services, or even cash. An in-home sitter will monitor the kids while a work-at-home parents focuses on job tasks, makes calls and completes work.
- Movie time. Allow the kids to enjoy movie time once a day within sight. They get to have a snack and watch a favorite flick of their choosing, perhaps as a reward after chore time or nap time. While the kids are engaged in the film, it’s possible to keep one eye on them and on work-at-home tasks as well.
- Childproof the office. Stay-at-home parents have to be accessible and they have to keep an eye on their kids, but kids and office environments don’t mix. Childproof the home office by adding a secure storage system for files and documents, by wrapping up excess electrical cords and tucking them behind furniture or otherwise out of reach, covering electrical outlets with safety snaps, and keeping all drawers and trays closed or locked in place.
- Play dates. Schedule a weekly play date with another stay-at-home parent, or find several stay-at-home parents and alternate weeks. You will have to return the favor by hosting their children at your home, so you may wish to base your work-at-home workweek on a three-day or four-day schedule.
Stay-at-home parents already have a full-time job in raising their children, but it is possible to squeeze work-at-home tasks in around the fringes. With a good game plan and some good ideas, stay-at-home parents can find ways to do it all.