activities to keep kids busy


15 activities for kids that work from home moms can use to keep kids busy while they work.

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How to keep your kids busy so you can answer emails

How many times have you said to your kids, “ok give me five minutes to reply to this email” or something along those lines?

Probably more than you would like.

In a perfect world, we would have time blocked out a time to answer emails and would have stuck to our schedule.  But the world is not perfect and shit happens that needs your attention ASAP.

Note:  This isn’t a guide on how to ignore your kids.  But I wouldn’t blame ya if you just wanted a coffee break and some time to scroll on Instagram

When I start a task I will often get frustrated and snappy if I get interrupted in the middle of a thought.  This doesn’t make me a bad mom, it just means I am a focused worker.  To avoid snapping at my kids, I have come up with a list of activities that will keep kids busy for a few minutes.  Which allows me to get done what I need to get done.

I can’t guarantee anything though.  Every kid is different and what worked to keep my kids busy might not be the same for yours.  But give a few a try and let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions for some more.

But first here are a few tips for all you work from home mom bosses out there.

1. Get up early or stay up late.  I know I hate this one too.  But here I am writing this blog post at 6 am.  It truly is the only way to get shit done without being interrupted.  Try to get all your important tasks that need your full attention done before the kids get up or after they go to bed.

2. Save tasks that need normal working hours for naptimes or during preschool.  You’re not going to schedule a client call at 5 am or 11 pm, therefore utilize this time for those types of tasks.

3.  Time block your time.  Basically, you take your to-do list and schedule when you’re going to do what.  Be realistic of what you can get done.  Underestimate what you can get done in a period of time,  rather than overestimate.  You will feel like you’ve accomplished more.  Try to stay on task.  Turn off notification on your phone and computer.

4.  Avoid letting your kids play with the flashy/noisy toys.  I bet you are thinking “ya right that’s going to happen.”   It does when you hide them.  For an hour or so.  We have this Paw Patrol Paw Pad that the kids like to play with in French.  It drives me nuts.  Let’s just say it goes “missing” ever so often.

5.  Don’t start tasks too close to meal times, snack times, or nap time.  You will never get anything done, so don’t try.  Give yourself a margin of error.  Don’t time block within 15 mins of these times to ensure you’re not fielding demands for snacks.

6.  Use a voice recorder app on your phone or write down ideas that pop in your head.  Revisit these ideas in your spare time.  I keep an ongoing note on my phone of blog ideas.  Also, I have used a talk-to-type app to help write a blog post when I was folding laundry.

List of activities to keep kids busy so you can answer emails.

( Tailor activities to what is appropriate for your kids)

1.  Unguided crafts.  I have a box of random craft supplies that I keep handy.  I set it out with some glue and let the kids go nuts.  It’s going to get messy but its fun to see what they come up with.

2.  Independent creative play.  Bring out the dress up clothes, dolls, hand puppets, legos, cars or dinosaurs. Let them use their imaginations. 

3.   Free printable activity sheets.  Get them to color the activity sheet and when you’re done your task, sit down and do the activity.  I like to get mine from The Mailbox.  Their website saves me hours of searching on Pinterest for activities and worksheets.  You don’t have to sign up for their membership to get free activity sheet.  

4.  Sticker, sticker &  stickers.  I am not too sure why kids love stickers, but they do.  You might find stickers everywhere if you aren’t careful.  We have a rule in our house that sticker can only go on paper.  Try to find an activity sheet that works with stickers to help with sticker migration.

5.  Have a special box of toys that only come out when “mommy needs to work.”  This makes these toys special. And should keep their attention for longer than five minutes.  When I ran a home daycare I used to do this with the daycare kids.  I would rotate boxes of toys every week so that no one got bored, less clean up and easier to sanitize toys.

6.  Set up a race track with removable road tape.  I find that the Hot Wheel tracks super noisy. Often they break and end up requiring help from me.  So, I found this road tape on Amazon.

DIY Solution:  You can also make it out of painters tape if you don’t care if it’s blue. Trust me the kids don’t.

7.  Play dough.  I hated play dough until if found a recipe to make my own.  The store-bought stuff crumbles too much and causes a huge mess.  But, the homemade stuff sticks together better.  Keep an eye out for play dough accessories at thrift shops.  I always find a ton.  

8.  Change your environment.  Head to a local kid friendly coffee shop, library or kids play place.  Check for free wifi before you go.  While you can’t completely ignore your kids, you will get a few minutes to work in and a fancy coffee.

9. Educational apps.  I am a big fan of educational apps.  Try out a few until you find one your kids love.  

10.  Swap playdate with another mom.  Find another mom that would like a few hours by herself and swap playdates.  You take her kids for a few hours and then on another day she takes yours.  While you don’t have to track hours, make sure you keep it fair.

If you get wifi outside, set out a lawn chair and give these activities a try. 

1.  Bubble machine.  I think bubble machines are the best invention.  Kids love bubbles and you don’t have to do any of the work or get sticky from the solution.        

2.  Water play.  Whether its a bucket of water or a water table, water play is a fun activity on a hot day.  Yes, you need to keep an eye on your kids around water but you don’t need to hover.  

3.  Play in the dirt.  This is a messy one, especially if they want to add water to make mud.  Bring out the shovels and a bucket and let the kids dig for treasure.   No dirt, a sand table works too.

4.  Sidewalk chalk.  Bring your kids creativity outdoors.  Simply hand them some chalk and see what they come up with.  Or pick up some stencils or a spiral chalk kit to have the coolest sidewalk on the block. 

5.  Bring out the balls.  You can set up the soccer net and let them practice their skills.  No soccer net, you can use a laundry basket.  I sometimes bring out my exercise ball and let the kids go nuts kicking it around the yard.

Or better yet.  Make your own ball pit.  You can use a kiddy pool and fill it with balls.  Look on local buy and sell sites for extra balls.  When the weather gets chilly move it inside. 

Whether you just need a breather or you have some urgent emails to answer these activities hopefully will help. 

Finally, remember working from home and looking after kids is super hard.  Sure we could all turn out amazing content if we sat in an office all day with no distractions but that’s simply isn’t the case. 

I love been home with my kids and I am grateful for the opportunity.  But that doesn’t diminish my biz goals. 

It’s all about creating balance.

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