How to Entertain My Children While I Work at Home
In today’s world, it’s practically become the norm to work at home. Not so long ago, the opposite was true, with most parents going out to work outside the home.
While this new modality has its benefits, it also has its detriments: It causes anxiety, stress, and guilt for many parents of young children because even though they now see more of their children, this doesn’t mean they have more time to dedicate to them.
Finding the boundary between work and personal life is extremely difficult. Especially when children demand constant attention and a good organization hasn’t been achieved.
It’s not appropriate for children to watch TV during the whole working day, but it’s not possible for working parents to be distracted all the time to entertain and take care of them. So, the mental load can become paralyzing, and it’s important to find a solution that benefits everyone.
9 ways to entertain my children while I work at home
People who’ve never worked from home with their children inside may think that it’s not that complicated to achieve. But the reality is different because entertaining them during a full workday isn’t that simple.
Young children can spend hours playing, as long as you’re there for them physically and emotionally. Because when working from home, you’re close physically, but your head is somewhere else. Your children notice this and consequently demand more attention.
When children are older, their behavior is likely to get worse if they’re bored or don’t know what to do. In these situations, nervousness surfaces and arguments ensue. But it’s important to avoid this scenario.
It’s key to find a way for children to entertain themselves and, at the same time, learn to respect their parents’ working hours. Especially if only one of them is left to take care of the children all day.
Read more: 7 Tips for Mothers Who Work From Home
Here are some tips to help you reconcile your work activities with your family life when you work at home.
1. Establish weekday routines
Routines are essential tools for family organization. They allow children to understand the dynamics of the household and anticipate events without overreacting to change.
Before you start your workday, take a moment to talk to your children and organize your family’s day. Only by understanding what’s going on will they be able to cooperate with you.
You can draw up a visual schedule that makes it clear when activities will be carried out and which of these they’ll have to do alone.
Remind them that although you’ll be by their side, at some point during the day, you’ll have to pay attention to work.
2. Ask them to collaborate so that you can dedicate all your time to them
If they’re a little older, you can give them some household chores. For example, fold their clothes or tidy up their room. This way, the house will be in better condition and they’ll have collaborated with you to give you more free time later.
If they do things well and respect your work schedule, at the end of the week, you can reward them. Not necessarily with material objects, but with something that they find rewarding. It could be their favorite dinner, a family outing, or something you’ve set aside for a special occasion.
3. Avoid overloading yourself with activities that require your attention
If one day you have an important event at work, avoid committing to other plans with your children. On that day, limit activities that demand your supervision.
A good idea is to suggest that they draw or paint while you’re working or offer them some age-appropriate puzzles. It’s also a good idea to mark on the clock the time they’ll have to spend on that activity so that later you can enjoy a moment together free of responsibilities.
Construction games are also a good way to entertain your children while you’re working at home. Plus, they’ll enjoy creating with their imagination and the time will fly by.
4. Doing homework together
How do I entertain my children while I work at home? An alternative: Do your homework together (in the same space, side by side).
Homework is their responsibility. Having them take advantage of the time when you’re also busy to do their homework will result in quality time during and after.
Also, if you’re nearby and they have a question, don’t assume it’s a distraction to help them out of a jam. Consider it a form of respite. Explaining something to them will give them security and confidence and, above all, encouragement; the time you invest in helping them will give you more time to occupy and concentrate.
5. Try the ‘pomodoro’ method
Work in a concentrated manner for 25 minutes and stop for 5. After resting and clearing your mind, return to concentration. After four blocks of work, rest for a longer period of time.
This is a technique for organizing work time that pays off well and would allow you to spend your breaks talking, guiding your children, accompanying them in some of their assignments.
In fact, the best thing would be to share the same patterns and intervals of work and rest, which would make you get along much better and gain mutual understanding.
6. Organize gatherings with their friends or cousins
Boredom and loneliness aren’t a good combination. If possible, from time to time, arrange for cousins or a friend or classmate to visit them to do homework together or simply play.
Planning the gatherings will ensure that the options for play, study, or recreational leisure respond to a plan and an educational strategy.
For example, rehearse musical instruments together, undertake the construction of a laborious puzzle, or study of complex subjects such as biology or mathematics.
Leaving these gatherings to chance can sometimes be interesting, but sometimes counterproductive.
7. Manage what’s necessary to make crafts
Following the previous idea, preparing the children’s hours of growth and emotional development involves organizing and planning.
Scheduling painting days, making crafts, or carrying out tasks that require construction should respond to previously conceived projects.
The idea is for your children to understand that managing time resources in an intelligent and consensual way will be beneficial for everyone.
8. Invite them to prepare a play
In the programming of the familiar activities, they can prepare an invitation to relatives and friends for the premiere of a familiar play. This artistic commitment will motivate them to take care of the details, from the conception of the play to the elaboration of the costumes and the stage.
In your free time, inspect the progress, give your opinion, stimulate, and help them to follow the work plan adjusted to the times of the presentation. Let the commitment be shared and above all, taken very seriously.
9. Organize a good movie session
We’ve already said above that television isn’t the best option, but that doesn’t mean your kids can’t have any screen time at all. How about selecting lists of movies? They can be thematic, classic, historical… There are many possibilities and approaching auteur cinema will yield exquisite aesthetic fruits.
It’s very likely that your children will want to be entertained with these sessions and will wait for your work hours to start quality cinema at home. Prepare everything, popcorn included.
We invite you to read: Mental Workload: The Invisible Task of Mothers
Congeniality between work at home and your family
Remember that by educating calmly and avoiding fights and tensions, you’ll obtain better results. Children adapt to routines much faster than adults.
Take advantage of this condition and teach them to collaborate with you during the working day. From their efforts will come great rewards, such as enjoying your exclusive time with them.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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- Reyes, L. (2021) Trabajar desde casa: La ultima guía. Editorial: Independiente
- Tobón Osorio, A. M., & Moreno Botero, P. (2021). El teletrabajo y el trabajo en casa en la nueva realidad (Bachelor’s thesis, Universidad EAFIT). https://repository.eafit.edu.co/bitstream/handle/10784/31488/MONOGRAF%c3%8dA_ATob%c3%b3n_PMoreno.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y