Being a work-at-home mom while my kids were babies was a breeze! They were super easy to entertain during that stage and morning and afternoon nap times for them became my work times. Bouncy chairs and swings were a lifesaver and I was so glad they were on our baby registry. I even rocked at feeding and responding to emails at the same time. Funny how times have changed.
Now that I have a three and five-year old, I’ve needed to change my strategy quite a bit. Naps have become hit and miss, and their energy levels are insane! Despite it all, they do understand when mommy needs to get work done. I mentioned some of my secrets to a couple close friends who are new moms. My kids are not perfect, most days, but I’ve implemented some fun activities to help my kids entertain themselves so I can be productive when I need to be. Here are my six best sources for keeping them occupied while I work.
1. Playing Cards/Flash Cards
Whether it’s a traditional deck of cards, or some old Uno cards, they are perfect for sorting games. My kids have learned their colors and numbers from Uno cards. The traditional cards have helped them learn to count and they love seeing the kings, queens, and jacks, too.
Flash cards are another way to get some learning time in while working. We have a huge box of flash cards that include letters, numbers, shapes, and sight words. Another great source for them to sort and learn, all at once!
2. A Trip to the Park
This is a win-win for all. My kids love going to the park while the weather is nice. I work from my phone, or can work on the blog, while they play. I can also take a notebook and pen for brain dumping and blog ideas. The change of scenery also helps clear my brain and their energy. The bonus feature: Naptimes come easy after a trip to the park.
3. Activity Books
My five-year old is getting ready for kindergarten, next year. We have a nice stack of activity books for him to learn to write, practice shapes, and more. My three-year old is satisfied with crayons and a stack of scrap paper for his “art”. They love using their activity books and paper because they call it their “work”. I can handle that!
4. Craft Time
Technically, this could fall under the activity books section. Arts and crafts are a hit at this creative house. I have an enormous stack of construction paper, along with glue, scissors, markers, and so on, for their creative brains. On occasion, I will find a nifty craft online, that they can make while I work or clean the house.
5. Quiet Boxes
I thank Target for their Dollar Spot (or Spot’s playground is what I think they call it now). They have stickers, small coloring books, toy cars, and other small toys from there for cheap. I found some organizing boxes and I put different activities in each box. I give them a different box each day for them to play with. After each box is heavily used, I swap stuff (for new toys/books), so they don’t get bored. Even if those boxes last ten minutes, that’s ten more minutes of work I gained for the day.
6. Movie Marathon
Of course, I had to add this one to the list. This is my last resort for days where nothing will keep their attention (which is probably more often than I care to admit). I find it okay to have a movie day, especially on those cold, dreary, energy-sucking days. It’s an accomplishment when they can sit still for a movie. I’m highly productive that way.
That’s my list. It helps keep my boys entertained and saves my sanity. Worst case, I just cave for the day and wait for my husband to come home to the madness. Days like that don’t happen too often. Now, if only I could come up with a list like this to entertain my kids while I get my hair colored at Ulta Salon I would be set.
What do you do to balance work while you have kids at home? I’d love for you to comment below.