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Keeping Children Occupied and Out of Trouble - Getting Things Done With Kids

Updated on February 22, 2015


It's very important to keep our little ones occupied and out of trouble. They are at very crucial development ages and need their mind to be entertained. It's not easy keeping them out of mommy's make up or from drawing with crayon all over the wall, but there are ways to prevent that from happening with some tips below.

Every child is different so it is always a good idea to tailor parenting tips you read to your child and their specific needs.


Keeping them in Eyesight

As a parent it is always good to have eyes on your child. As a parent it is also important to get things done throughout the day that need to be done. You can successfully do both with proper planning, things might just take a little longer.

Keep those kiddos in the room with you. From older infants to older children, if they are still in that danger age of doing crazy things when you aren't looking and if it is even a thought in your mind that they may act out, they should be in the room with you.

Help when cooking.
Help when cooking. | Source
Cleaning toys are a must.
Cleaning toys are a must. | Source

Putting them to Work

Cooking - Throw on some play clothes that you don't mind your little one getting dirty and grab a chair. Let them stand with you while you are preparing a meal(keeping in mind to keep those little hands away from hot surfaces.). It may make the cooking process longer but if they are interested in stirring or even getting into the food and using their hands, let them help. If you have a younger child who isn't quite old enough to help or understand what's going on, put them in their high chair and let them play with some plastic dishes and flatware. Your child will remember it years to come of you cooking in the kitchen together.

It's great for bonding and teaching them how kitchen tools are properly used.

Cleaning - With little dirty feet running around, it may be hard to clean and keep it clean but there are ways to make it better. Put some socks on them and they're ready to go. Letting the kiddos help you clean will not only help you out but will teach them fun aspects of cleaning and make them more likely to despise it as they grow. Put on some of their favorite most upbeat music and get them dancing. Sometimes, if they can't help the ways that you are cleaning it's good to invest in those cute little toy cleaning objects and give them a job. If you're cleaning the counters, let them sweep the floor next to you with their pretend broom. If they get bored while cleaning, change their task, maybe give them a job that isn't so much helpful as it is fun. Try finding some cleaning oriented coloring pages and let them color them and you can have some new kitchen décor.

Yard Work - Yard work will be a lot like the cleaning. Give them as task. Are you planting flowers? Let them be they ones to water them, giving them a small watering bucket will prevent over watering (and under watering can be fixed later when they aren't looking). Are you picking up sticks around the yard? Be sure those kiddos are wearing shoes and gloves, but make this chore into a game by racing to see who can gather the most sticks.

Grocery Shopping - Keeping your child confined to a cart is like putting them in a prison If they must stay in the cart give them things they can hold on to or things they can pick out. Other than that it is good to let them walk around with you. Of course keeping their hands held or have them hold onto the cart, do not let them run freely in the store to prevent them from disrupting others and getting hurt. It's a good rule to have a list of what you're going to get before you go to the store so make a list for your kiddo too. Tell them they need to hold on to it and pick up everything on the list, with you helping out of course. Even ask for a designated bag just for you child to carry. It is important to give them something they can call theirs and be proud of to carry. Be patient and know the shopping trip may take longer but they'll appreciate the freedom you gave them

Keeping their Interest With Toys

Now, if you aren't doing any particular task that they can help with, you have to give them something to do.

Imagination is key, you need to have plenty of items around to keep their imagination flowing. So if that means your living room is littered with toys all day, let that be it. It doesn't make them bratty to give them options and provide them with fun, while also letting them know where their toys do and do not go by nicely showing and telling them.

For example: "Your toys cannot stay in front of the door because daddy will trip on them when he comes home." "Please keep your toys in this area so they do not get broken or lost"

If they give you trouble remind them that they need to have things they way you asked of they will have to have the punishment you deem necessary (throwing toys away is not an acceptable way to deal with the situation.)

Don't be afraid to get down on the floor and play with them, you can play with them while watching your favorite tv show. Most of the times it isn't even you playing with them that you want, it's your time and acknowledgement that you are there. So help them change their dolls one hundred times or just listen to them tell you where everything goes. It's just about taking that time.

If they want to switch toys over and over again, it's okay. This problems can be handled by letting them have all the toys out they want, but if you - like many people - have an excess amount of toys, sometimes that isn't even fathomable. This can be conquered by allowing them to keep trading toys out for the other toys they want. It's also good to have a designated play area that works for you to be in for long periods of time as well. A family room would be perfect because they can keep most of their toys there (no worrying about switching out toys) and you have a couch and TV to keep entertained.

Technology is Great

TV is great to have as an everyday thing but toys and other activities get their brain and imagination going. Movies and shows are fun for children and if they ask for it you can let them watch it. But the point is don't resort to that as a way to occupy them. You will learn quickly that they aren't going to be coaxed with TV all of the time.

Tablets are amazing for learning and okay for occasional games but again shouldn't be the only thing you let your child do. Let your tablet be a reward and a learning tool, not a way to "shut" your children up. There are many things you can reward your child for and if they like the tablet, this can be your reward of choice.

Gaming Consoles are like toys in many ways. Now this is very controversial so we won't be touching the subject deeply in this article. Like tablets, games shouldn't be a way to "shut them up". This can be something they use a little more than a tablet though because games for consoles are more developed with creative aspects and puzzle solving. Minecraft is a great game for younger children because you can set the game to peaceful and creative so they can really create anything they want. Games are slightly better than tablets because they just have that immersion for children that tablets can't always create.

Don't keep those kids waiting all day.
Don't keep those kids waiting all day. | Source

Don't Use the Word "Later"

This is something that goes in with helping them stay occupied and keeping their interest. It is often for children to ask for something and parents just default to "later".

If you do that, you have this little kid following you around all day wondering when "later" is and maybe even pestering you if it is finally "later".

You don't have to give them everything they want it when they want it, but it is crucial to give a time period for that child.

"Can we go outside?" They may ask. If it's too cold, you could say. "It's cold outside right now, we can't play outside till it is warm. Let's try tomorrow." You may think they will forget but when children want something, they'll remember and they'll be sure to ask so try to keep up your end of the bargain.

If they want to play when it's nap time just say "I know you want to play right now, but you need to take a nap. You can play as soon as you wake up".

If they want to eat dinner but it's not done you could say "Dinner isn't done yet, it will be done in *insert time here* but would you like to go see it?" It's important for kids to know you're telling the truth and some of them just need evidence. If they want to see it one hundred times until it's ready, it's okay to walk them back and forth so they can see the progress and know that they're wants are being met. This can be applied to toys being cleaned or any other situation.

Now just remember to be patient, remember your promises and don't say "later".

Wrap Up

It is your choice how you chose to parent your children, but you have a duty as a parent to be sure you are starting them off with things to fuel that mind to help them be whoever they want to be and let them grow up in their own way. What you limit your child to is up to you, but in doing that you must remember that certain limits will deprive your children of things as they grow up.

Just remember, they're kids. Let them have fun and keep them safe.

© 2015 Meagan Rice


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