Working from home is a huge blessing for many busy moms.
It gives you the flexibility to spend time with your kids while bringing in a paycheck. However, any work-at-home mom knows that maintaining productivity with kids around isn’t always easy. They often demand a lot of attention, and you don’t want them watching hours of television, just so you can get your work done.
This situation calls for some creative solutions.
1. Stock up on Workbooks and Coloring Pages
Most kids between the ages of three and 12 enjoy workbooks and coloring pages. Have a variety available, so kids can choose different ones each day. The variety will keep them interested longer and provide a creative outlet.
2. Create an Outdoor Play Area
When it comes to kids, exercise is great for health and burning energy. Consider creating a special outdoor playground where your kids can run around for an hour or two each day.
“Things like sand boxes, clubhouse spaces, steering wheels, and telescopes all provide great avenues for kids to let their imaginations take charge, while features like rock walls, rope ladders, monkey bars, and climbing ramps provide a challenge for kids to overcome, keeping them engaged as they play,” according to The Backyard Guys.
Also, it’s important to keep an eye on your kids at all times. You can easily sit outside on the patio and work while they play.
3. Create a Craft and Activity Station
As mentioned previously, allowing kids to express creativity is a great way to keep them mentally healthy. Fill a desk with puzzles, pipe cleaners, playdough, crayons, foam cutouts, construction paper, and other kid-friendly art supplies so they can create and “work” right alongside you.
4. Set Up Play Dates with Other Working Moms
If you need a couple hours of totally uninterrupted work outside of naptime, consider creating a sort of babysitting co-op with other working moms. You can schedule play dates to give you a weekly break, and you’ll do the same for other moms in the group.
5. Make or Buy Snack Packs
One of the most common interruptions you probably experience is your child saying “I’m hungry” several times in a day. Create or purchase healthy snack packs to be kept in the pantry or refrigerator. When your child asks for a snack, you can easily grab a snack pack without wasting much time.
6. Don’t Feel Bad About a Little TV Time
Television in small doses is just fine for your kids, even when they’re little. Turning on a movie or letting them watch a couple episodes of their favorite cartoon doesn’t make you a neglectful parent, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. They’ll be entertained and you’ll be able to get things done.
7. Give Surprises to Reward Quiet Play
If your kids are older, create a system that rewards quiet play. If they want constant attention or participate in loud activities, offer a gift for playing quietly. Fill gift bags with dollar store toys or a healthy treat to be rewarded after 30 minutes of quiet time. It will help your child remember the importance of quiet play.
This rewards system shouldn’t be used too often to avoid spoiling your child, but it can be used occasionally to reinforce good habits.
8. Let Kids “Help” You
A lot of the time, when your child is seeking attention, they simply want to be with you. You can spend this quality time with them by letting them “help” you.
For example, explain that you’re working on a blog post for a client and need a beautiful picture to go with it. Your child can draw the picture feeling like they’re spending quality time with you and contributing to your important work.
9. Take Breaks to Play with Kids
It also doesn’t hurt to take a 15- minute break every couple hours to play with your kids. You won’t sacrifice your productivity, and your kids will love the attention. When they get a good dose of “mommy and me time,” it encourages them to learn independence without feeling ignored, and you’ll benefit from the re-energizing break from work.
Written by Natalie Bracco for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image provided by Markus Spiske