EDITOR’S NOTE: City Dads Group is working with longtime partner Dove Men+Care to create “how to” videos for the grooming products company’s “Dads Care” campaign. We will be featuring the videos and scripts our members appear in. This one features Marlon Gutierrez of our Orlando Dads Group, with a little help from his daughter, Isabella, in photo above, talking about how to keep kids occupied while you are working from home.
I’m not an expert, but both my wife and I have been working remote for the last five years: three-and-half of those years where we had this little munchkin around with us.
How have we survived? How do we keep her entertained all day?
Before we get to that, the first thing you’ve got to tackle is your mindset. Remember, you’re no longer in the office. You’ll never be able to replicate that structure, so: be flexible, be kind to yourself and remember that every change is hard at first. Also good to know that every kid is different, but you’ll eventually find what works for you.
For us, these five things really work to help keep kids occupied while you work from home:
- Rotate toys. If you give your kids access to all their toys, they’ll tire of them quickly. We put away some of her toys and bring out older ones so she has something fresh to play with. That way, it keeps her more engaged.
- Give them their own work station. At this age, they want to be just like us. That’ll eventually change, but for now take advantage of that and let them feel like they have to go to work, too. We have a little desk setup for her where she does educational activities like books, arts and crafts, and her education apps.
- Be strategic on screen time. We limit it so that it doesn’t lose it’s magic. We do educational apps on a tablet, or pop in a movie only when we need some time for either a call or some work. Keep it strategic and it’ll be like a treat for her.
- Give them more complex projects. Not ones that are too hard because they’ll give up. Instead you want something that’ll take some time for them to complete. You can pull out the watercolors, an empty box that they can convert into a house, or pull out the Legos if your kids are into those.
- Have them work with you. As you already know, kids crave your attention the most when they feel you just can’t give it. So when you have a slow day, or just need to work on something light, Pop ’em on your lap and have them color or watch you work. This way, they don’t associate work with you being away from them. And many times they’ll get bored and leave anyway.