How can you accomplish anything work-related when you have kids at home? Most WAHMs know all the inside tips: hire a sitter, work during nap or TV time, or try to get it all done after everyone is in bed. But, with a little creativity, you can get work accomplished when you have kids at home. Here are 10 tips to keep your children occupied:
1. Crafts for Kids
There are hundreds of craft ideas out there for every age group, whether they involve coloring, creating something, painting, etc. Kits are available online or in your local craft store (or simply do an online search for simple projects you can make). While you answer emails, your little artist can be creating gifts for grandparents and friends.
2. Coloring and Workbooks
All it takes is some crayons and blank paper, or you can get fancy and break out the coloring books and workbooks. This activity keeps your little ones busy and helps them develop their creativity.
3. Activity Stations
Set up an area near your workspace--close enough to supervise, but far enough so you have a little breathing room--with a dress-up box, play kitchen, dollhouse or puppets. Make the activity station "special", and try to keep it off-limits the rest of the day so that it is fresh and new when you need to do a little work.
4. Find Kid-Friendly Websites
If your kids are old enough to use a computer, have them look at kid-friendly websites while you work. There are many sites out there geared just for kids: pbskids.org, noggin.com and nickjr.com, to mention just a few.
5. Library Time
Take a trip to your local library, and let the kids browse through the books in the kids' section, attend story time or play puzzles and games while you work peacefully at a nearby table.
6. Desk Time
Have your child set up a desk near your workspace. For toddlers, have a play phone, pens, scrap paper, old calculators, etc., so they can "work" just like Mommy. For older children, have an area set up where they can do homework as you work. You will be close by to answer questions, and can still get your job done.
7. Baby Slings and Swings
For WAHMs with infants, baby slings, swings or carriers keep your precious bundle close by while you work.
8. Rotate Toys
Rotate your stock of toys and games, pulling out "new" stuff when you need to work. This keeps your children perennially interested in their own toys and keeps your costs down too!
9. Paper Mache
Few kids can resist making something out of sticky, globby goo. There are many recipes and project suggestions online, in magazines or craft books. This is a particularly good rainy day activity.
Play-Doh can be easily made at home, and it is one activity that never seems to lose its appeal for kids of all ages. This is another good rainy day activity that can keep kids absorbed while you work.
These are just a few tips that every WAHM should have in her bag of tricks. Using these suggestions, you should be able to maximize your time at work, even when you have kids at home.
Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.