This past week, both our kids were home sick with fevers. It was very challenging for our six-year-old. He couldn’t go outside because it was cold and gray, so there was a lot of TV time and time spent in the room with his little sister and me. After a while and once boredom set in, it was time for me to find something for him to do.
If you work from home and homeschool or if your child is out of school (summer, winter/spring vacations), or sick, here are a few tips that you can incorporate into your day that may help things run a little bit smoother. These tips are even good for your weekends as well!
1- Create a list of things for your child to do:
It might be helpful for you to make this list with your child. Children are more willing to do things they had a part in creating.
2- Let your child work beside you:
Gather crayons, markers, scissors and other art supplies and place your little one right next to you as you work. If you are a writer, it will only take you few seconds to look over to make sure that your child are not trying to cut their hair. You’d be surprised how much work you can get done with them sitting near you.
3- Create an agreement about when you will do what you will do and make sure your child is clear:
When children know what is about to happen and when it will happen, it is easier to get a few hours of work in without answering the same question a hundred times. I find that if I keep telling my son ” We’ll do it later,” rather than give him a specific time, he will continue asking me about it. Being about what’s happening and when it’s happening will save you lots of time and energy.
4- If you have older children, let them help out:
Do you have packages that need to be stamped or labeled? If you are a chef or baker, children love measuring and pouring. Involving your children in your work will make them feel good knowing that they are helping. I find our son LOVES being able to contribute. If age is a concern, find age-appropriate things for them to do. Our six-year-old helped feed our 15-month old when she refused to let me feed her!
5- Incorporate quiet time into the day:
This is easier said than done when you have a resistant child and when you’d rather get some other work done around the house. Try to resist the urge to work and take a nap. If not, try a 15 minute power nap–it can make a huge difference in your how you feel.
6- Prep the night before:
I find that if I have meals and activities planned the night before, my day runs a lot more smoothly with Omer. It also gives me an idea about what works and what doesn’t. This is harder to do when you have sick children at home.
7- Work/play in 15 minute intervals:
If your child is not being posted in front of the TV (as Omer sometimes is) it may make sense to work for 15 minutes and play with them for 5-15 minutes. Most times, if you spend about five minutes playing with or cuddling with your child, they usually want to go off and do something else anyway. Who doesn’t love a cuddle break?
8- Take your work away from home:
Sometimes getting out the house is a way to freshen up your perspective. I love the library. It is an endless resource for me and I can work easily while Omer browses and reads books in the children’s section.
9- Create a schedule that includes time to step away from work for a while:
When you create your “to-do” list or your routine for the day, make sure to include some uninterrupted time with the little ones. That undivided attention will make their day and they will always look back at this time as a happy one. The worst things in the world is for kids to look back and see that you were home, but always on your computer or not with “them.”
10-If all else fails, seek support from your family (or hire a babysitter if you live far away from them):
Sometimes nothing works and the best thing you can do is have someone to be with your child(ren) while you work. Three hours of time to do ONLY your work is a gold mine for mamas (or any parent working from home)Don’t feel bad about this. Be realistic about what you can handle and move forward with love and care. You and your children will benefit from you making healthy choices.