Guest post by our friends at Work It, Mom!, a wonderful community site for working moms.
School vacation is fast approaching and daycares are getting ready for their holiday break — which means that if you have to get some work done during the holidays you’ll be doing it at home with your little ones nearby. We asked a few moms who regularly work from home to share some of their favorite tips for keeping the kids occupied while they get work done:
- Have on hand a special bag of toys that comes out only when you need to get some work done. Keep it simple — puzzles, stuffed animals, stickers, a few books — and rotate your stash; the novelty won’t wear off so quickly if the kids only see these toys at certain times.
- If you need peace but can get by without quiet, break out the noisy toys when you need to work. Kids will be thrilled to bang pot lids together instead of being asked to shush.
- Set up a workstation for your child, so he or she can "work" while you do. A small desk placed next to yours, with a set of markers and a special, work-only notebook, can keep them busy while letting them feel important and included. [I’d add a few attractive office supplies such as a hole punch, paper clips, and some highlighters — Ed.]
- Try keeping a stash of special DVDs on hand for when you really need quiet time in which to work. Buy a few inexpensive compilations of your kids’ favorite shows, and you can stretch the DVD out episode by episode. [Or TiVo! — Ed.]
- Got older kids? This might be the perfect time for a marathon — a game marathon, that is. Dance, Dance Revolution is great for this (plus, it gives them some exercise and keeps cabin fever at bay during a long snow day) but any easy, two-player videogame can work. If you have more than two kids, make the others the referees, and have them take turns going up against the winner of each round.
The strategy I fall back on time and again is to get up a couple hours earlier than my kids. I manage to get more done during those hours than in twice as much interrupted time.
What are your best tips for getting work done while the kids are home from school?