Keeping your kids busy at the same time you work from home can be challenging.
At the moment, the world has literally become standstill due to the pandemic. In many countries schools are closed and working parents have to work from home at the same time they have to look after their children.
For some, it may not be easy to work from home when you have young children to care for and entertain.
However, it is doable. With a little bit of planning.
My husband has been working from home in the last decade since he took early retirement and became involved in various voluntary work. And I have been doing the same in the last few years. At school holidays, we both have to juggle our work routine so that we can keep our kids ‘positively’ busy at the same time.
Keep reading to see how we normally do.
Know your objectives
It’s important to know what we want our kids to achieve before we ask them to do something.
Is it fun entertainment that we want them to have? Or, do we want them to study something as a part of their learning? And perhaps we want them to acquire both, i.e. education and entertainment?
Children are very clever and fast learners. But most of them — if not all —are also fun-loving humans.
So, as parents, we should seek things that not only do they keep our offsprings busy but also encourage them to keep learning new things in a fun and enjoyable way.
Set a plan
Even though you don’t need to make a detailed plan, it’ll be helpful if you make a simple schedule for your children.
As an example, we have two boys, 13 and 9 years old. While the elder one is more independent — in doing what he needs to do in terms of his work — our younger son still needs supervision from time to time.
So what we normally do is we set a weekly schedule for what the boys need to study and accomplish daily. This will involve reading books and materials, doing paperwork, research on the internet, online learning, and doing work projects such as making things, simple experiments, etc.
And then, my husband and I will set a plan of how many hours our sons can have entertainment, and how many hours they need to ‘work’. Consequently, we also decide between us who’s gonna mind our boys in doing what.
Normally, we use morning time to work and my husband gets the first round to do his work while I mind the kids to do their work.
And in the afternoon, I get my turn to work while my husband minds the kids.
However, now our sons are old enough to work more independently, often the four of us will do ‘our work’ at the same time.
Typically, my elder son will do his at his own bedroom, my husband will do his work at the study, and my youngest son and I will sit together at the dining table to get on with our own work.
We also make sure the boys only work for a couple of hours each time at the most. In fact, my little one will only work for an hour each and he gets a break for at least half an hour in between.
Things to keep your kids busy
School/ education work
If your children have school homework, then it should be easier to find work ideas for them to do.
But even when they don’t have any, you can always encourage them to learn new things by making them read new non-fiction books, or find good educational resources on the internet.
When you need more challenges for them, you can find endless choices of learning sites on the net.
Many of them are free sites too. Our favorites are IXL, BBC Bitesize, and e-Learning for kids. The first two have been the ones we always go to since my elder one at Reception class which was more than 9 years ago. And my kids have been happy with it and enjoying it.
And if you want your kids to take a break from studying but you want to encourage them to keep learning while they have fun, you can always do science experiments with them.
Choose the easy ones with simple equipment and materials you already have at home.
I promise your kids will have a whale of a time with you 😉.
Needless to say, exercise is important for all of us. Young and old.
And just because we’re stuck at home, it doesn’t mean we can’t do exercise and be physically active.
So make sure you include exercise in your kids’ schedule. Otherwise, your children will drive you crazy as they never run out of energy anyway. Even if they do lots of physical activities.
The easiest one is to go out for a walk with your kids. Or cycling. But if you can’t go outside, don’t despair. There are tons of options we can do.
It can be as simple as dancing to your kids’ favorite songs, or you can choose one of the fun exercises for a family on YouTube.
If your kids learn some martial arts like mine – they do karate – you can encourage them to practice as a part of the exercise.
And if you have an exercise game console such as Nintendo Wii, you can have fun with your kids at the same time you exercise. Our family favorites are tennis and bowling. The competition can get heated up at times.
As much as we may worry about whatever is going on in our lives and around us, let’s try to enjoy our moments. Instead of getting stressed up about how we entertain our kids, why don’t we just spend the time with our kids and get involved with their activities?
Because children appreciate the time and effort we spend with them more than anything.
Like if I ask my kids what they remember most about the past school holiday. Often than not they will answer that certain activities we did with them are what they remember most. Not the fact that we did that activity whilst we were holidaying abroad or somewhere in a nice rented holiday home.
So every time you and your kids are due to have a break between the work, reward yourself with doing some fun stuff with them.
You can do a cooking session together, watching Netflix as a family, doing puzzles, playing quiz, etc. Take a look at my list of fun kids’ activities that you can do at home or in your back garden/ backyard.
And create a memorable time with your little ones.
Now, I’m not sure what your views about kids watching TV is. But in my household, we don’t mind our children watching TV.
With conditions that we limit the time and control what program they watch.
Since they were little, our sons always ask for permission to watch TV. They don’t just switch the telly on and slouch themselves on the sofa to watch the screen however long they want.
And when they’re allowed to watch TV, we have to agree about the program/ movies they want to watch. Most of the time they get to watch for about one hour. But if they’ve been brilliant with their work and other responsibilities, they can watch a little bit longer as an extra reward.
As for the programs, I think we’re lucky because there are endless lists of educational programs for kids.
When our kids were younger, they used to watch CBeebies and CBBC channels a lot. We love those channels as they have loads of educational programs, if not all.
And now they’re a bit older, they love watching documentary programs. My elder one is keen on history documentaries, and my little one prefers anything to do with building and engineering. So really, I don’t see why I should stop them watching TV every now and then. Especially, if the screen actually gives my boys more knowledge 😉.
Also, when I know that I’m going to let the children watch TV, I will make the most of their screen time to do my work or the house chores.
I just have to make sure I put the timer on so that the kids won’t pass way over the time limit 😆.
Final thoughts on how to keep our kids busy
We don’t need to worry if our circumstances need us to keep our children at home whilst doing our work from home.
We just need a few ideas and a plan to make things work.
Most importantly, we should know what we want to achieve when we give our children something to do. We should know whether we just want to entertain them, or we want them to learn and study something.
The next thing is, we should be willing to spend our time with them and get ourselves involved in their activities.
This way, not only will you achieve to keep your kids busy in a positive way, but also the kids will love you even more. Because you create a memorable time with them. You’re bonding with them.
So last but not least, let’s pray that this Coronavirus will die down and everyone who is affected will recover and be better.
Stay safe. Stay well.
If you enjoy the post, will you let me know how you think of it in the comments below? Or perhaps you have more ideas about how to keep your kids busy?
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