Whether you usually work from home or not, if you have kids then there’s going to be a time that they’re with you while trying to get those important tasks done. At the moment, a lot of us have found ourselves home working during this unprecedented time. And it’s tough.
I have four kids in my household and two step daughters who stay with us in the holidays. My son Max (6) has Mosaic Downs Syndrome and requires an altered kind of attention, but I think I may have just found the key to giving myself time to get things done while keeping kids busy. Here’s my tips to all you working parents out there:-
1. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, get out there! I am currently writing this from the comfort of a bean bag outside. The kids are doing some gardening and loving it. Although, one of them has stolen my shoes, I’m happy where I am. I’m feeling productive and getting loads done. We’ve got music playing in the background and we’re all feeling pretty chilled.
2. Disney+ are offering a free trial at the moment. Another hit with my kids, although we do try to limit screen time. The kids can create a home cinema, get comfy with some snacks and watch one of their favourite Disney movies. That’ll give you an hour or so of peace. Just try not to let your inner child get sucked in and start singing along to those all time favourite
tunes instead of getting your work done.
3. As the kids are off school, there are plenty of options to help with their home learning. And I like to make use of these while I get the laptop out. Twinkl is great – there’s lots of worksheets you can print out to give the kids. Let them feel they’re joining in with work time. It’s not just you knuckling down.
4. Arts and crafts is another great option if you don’t mind the mess. Set the kids up at the table with whatever you have. Paper, pens, paints, glue… you could even give them your recycling rubbish to make models from. It could even be a great idea to send some of their work to thank our key workers, or even to care homes where residents are missing their families. You get your moments peace while the kids get stuck in, and you get to put a smile on someone’s face during this difficult time.
5. My kids love to bake, but obviously this requires my help and attention. Instead, give the kids some ready baked biscuits and give them some icing and sweets to decorate them. They’ll enjoy showing you their creations (that’s if they don’t eat them during the design and make process).
6. My iPad had recently been taken over by the little monsters. I’ve decided to use this to my advantage and installed some educational apps. They think they’re just playing when secretly they’re learning at the same time. CBeebies is a great one – my favourite being the Alphablocks game where the kids learn phonetic sounds and spelling.
7. Role play! Always a favourite in our household. Little Max is currently dressed as Spider-Man and believes he has those all important super powers. Spider-sense is a great tool to have when you’re sweeping the garden after all. My youngest two have fun for hours switching from one outfit to the next while they plan and pretend play. So cute!
8. Have you ever purchased those giant chalks? They’ve given my kids hours of play while they draw on the path (and sometimes the house) in the back garden. They even draw out their own games to play, such as hopscotch.
9. Build a fort! This can be indoors or outside. My bigger kids have used playing with the little ones as an excuse to get involved.
10. Write a list of things for the kids to find. Scavenger hunts can be really useful in keeping the kids occupied for longer periods of time.
11. Get the kids to create and rehearse a play to show you once the working day is done. They can even make posters and tickets. Perhaps get the family on FaceTime to share the experience.
12. Make playdough. You may need to put a little time in to helping make the dough, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. Keep the dough in an airtight container to use again another day.
13. Reading time is perfect. This will exercise your kids minds as they read. The books can be fictional or educational. They can even write a review of the book once they’ve finished, or even write a tale of their own and illustrate to finish.
14. Have a dance party! My little girl has been begging for an Amazon Echo for her room, and I’ve finally given in (I grabbed the Echo Dot on offer for £25 on Amazon Prime, and it’s in pink!). She now hosts dancing parties in her room – costume optional.
15. Get the kids involved with dinner. They can create menus, recipes and cooking instructions, or even help write the shopping list for ingredients you’ll need. They can then help lend a hand with the cooking and washing up.
16. Daily exercise! I’m sure you’ve all heard of Joe Wicks. He’s hit the internet like a storm and become a huge success with his YouTube videos. He’s live every weekday at 9am – get the kids physically fit while they have fun burning off some energy.
17. Get creative with playtime – task the kids with making their own game. They could take inspiration from their favourite games, or create something completely new and fresh.
18. Write letters or make cards to send to family. This is a great way to keep spirits high whilst keeping in touch during isolation. The kids will love receiving their replies too.
19. Show your support and decorate your windows with rainbows, and share the pictures online. The kids will love getting creative, whether it’s painting/colouring pictures to stick up or painting the actual window which a few people have done. You can show your children the responses from the online post to show them just how well they’ve done.
20. Tidy up time! When the day is done, don’t forget to ask the kids to tidy up from all the fun they’ve had. They’ll appreciate it when tomorrow comes and they won’t have a messy house to play in. Plus, it’ll help you to relax in the evening. The last thing you want to be doing after a tough day of multitasking, is clearing up after the kids.
I hope you find use in some of these suggestions. Please feel free to share your ideas with us. It’s times like these us working parents need to stick together.
Stay safe everyone.