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Top 5 Ways to Work at Home with Young Kids

If you are a parent with children between 3 and 6, you can relate to the difficulty of balancing working at home while taking care of young kids. Both activities require your attention yet it’s your smiling little angels which usually win out at the expense of your work productivity. Having a strategy in place to strike the right balance will reap huge rewards for both parents and kids. The following tips can be used as a template to help level the work-at-home playing field.

1) Give them their own jobs. Kids love tackling tasks around the house. Especially if you empower them by providing them with work that they can complete independently. For example, you could ask them to fold and put away laundry or putting books away on the shelf by size order. It could be a “clean up” contest with a family prize. Maybe a special lunch with Mom or Dad?

2) Get Creative. With young children, participating in craft work often requires adult supervision. An alternative would be to provide crayons and blank sheets of paper to draw and color. Coloring books work well also, but having kids draw and color their own art work requires them to use their imagination. It also has the added benefit of taking up more time. In addition, you could suggest that they create their own story.

3)Schedule parent and child play time each hour. Even if it’s just 10 minutes of focused attention that will help reassure kids that they’re not forgotten. Most of the time children are perfectly content playing independently. They just need a reminder that you’re aware of their presence.

4) Educational Games. If you’re a parent that owns an iPad, you’ll have access to countless quality educational games via their App store tailored for the little ones. A great example would be Spot The Dot. It has enough variety and replay value to maintain a child’s interest. Also of value are good old fashioned floor puzzles which work well to occupy time. Giant floor puzzles add additional fun due to the size of the pieces as well as the larger sense of satisfaction a child feels upon its completion.

5) Watch Educational Television Shows. Am I actually recommending that kids watch television? Yes, but with the precondition that the viewing time is limited and that the shows are quality children’s programs. My short list of shows include Super Why, Blues Clues, Little Bill, Dinosaur Train, Sesame Street, Ni Hao Ka- Lan and Oswald.

All of the above suggestions can be utilized in conjunction with one another depending upon the time frame required. Children’s interests vary so what ends up being effective will be a subjective endeavor attributed to trial and error. Parents more so than kids will need an open-minded approach. Remembering to breathe helps too.

How do you handle working at home with kids? Please comment below to add some ideas.

  • I have a store Open/Closed sign…it sorta works…but my boys are now older. With younger ones, I don’t know what I’d do. What my boys were younger, I wasn’t working so it wasn’t an issue!

    • cutemonster

      Thanks for sharing Bruce.  Visual cues make sense.  I like your idea of a sign.  Maybe have the kids help create it so they can feel like they’re part of the process and therefore in agreement with the rules.  

  • Angela Santomero

    It’s an incredibly challenging juggling act, but if done thoughtfully and strategically, it truly benefits all involved! I LOVE how you view this from the children’s perspective as well, with a concern for empowering, acknowledging, etc. And yeah, I love your program recommendations as well 😉

    • cutemonster

      Thanks for commenting Angela.  “Juggling” certainly is the operative word in the work life balance.  Love goes a long way towards facilitating perseverance and patience.  Now if there was only a way to reverse the inevitable gray hairs. 🙂   As always, a heartfelt thank you to you for creating shows that give parents a much needed assist. 🙂  

  • Duct tape and velcro on the walls, floor and ceiling makes for great fun.  What kid doesn’t want to be hung on the wall, we call it living art. 😉

    Ok, never have done it and haven’t really thought about it, ok maybe once.

    • cutemonster

      You’re a man ahead of your time sir.  I’ve always thought a built in on/off button as well as a mute feature would have been nice but the hospital never gave us an instruction manual for our kids so we’ve had to wing it ever since with the whole parenting thing. 🙂

  • It is difficult, but I try to take a “six hour” workday and spread it over 12.  It sucks because I feel like I’m working all day, but I need to stay flexible and pay attention to my son. I try to do tasks that require my full attention when he’s eating, napping, or relaxing (that rare 20 minutes).  Also, I try to get my son outside during the day  if it is nice out so he gets a change of scenery and tired.  This way, I can work later in the evening.

    • cutemonster

      Thanks for sharing Virginia.  The balancing act really can be a test of one’s endurance.  

  • It’s such a juggling act.  I work from home and in the office.  My best practice for working from home is to get them out of the house when I’m on conference calls – usually I find friends that can take them for a short time if it’s after school.  It’s definitely tricky when they are home, as my son is not very independent.  I have to find him things to do and it’s not always easy.  The best tactic is to be organized and make sure they have things to do, either outside or inside while you’re working. 

    • cutemonster

      Thanks for sharing Holly.  I agree wholeheartedly with your approach “The best tactic is to be organized and make sure they have things to do…” 

      If you don’t have a plan, then plan to have a mess. 🙂  

  • sellingspirits

    I have a 20 month old and a baby on the way, and I’m the breadwinner for my family. From home. Any tips for me? You know, aside from “OMG I feel so bad for u…” like I hear so often. LOL

    • cutemonster

      Hmm.  This could be tricky Sellingspirits.  The 20 month old will be the bigger point of contention both figuratively and literally.  Have you considered enrolling your oldest in a half day toddler program?  Your new baby will be on a more regimented routine which should help you plan your schedule accordingly.  And yes, I feel for you. 🙂  Good luck!