How to keep your toddler busy while you have to work from home.
(applicable for social distancing and quarantine).
Make a schedule
First things first, you need to make a schedule to know how much time you have, and when. This will keep you from being frustrated cause you are trying to get some work done with your toddler climbing on your had.
There are active block of work and passive ones. Passive ones usually mean they are active blocks of play.
Our current (social isolation) schedule is:
6:00a mama wakes up (me time+ Work block 1.)
7:30a toddler wakes up
8:00a social breakfast (Skyping with family while we eat)
10:15a snack time
10:30a outdoor time
1:00p quiet time (work block 2.)
3:00p snack time
4:30p outdoor time
6:00p dinner time
6:45p family time
8:00p Work block 3.
My number one advice is to form your schedule following your kids mood. What does that mean? You can see that there is a 30 min block between wake up and breakfast, that is cause my kid wakes up and slides into pretend play (independent play) and I don’t want to interrupt that.
I have created blocks of time in my calendar when I know I can work at home.
Morning block – before she wakes up
Mid-day block – during nap/quiet time
Evening block – after she is in bed.
Make sure you allocate tasks for each block. Turn off all the distractions, so you know exactly what needs to be done in each time period.
Keep your notepad close.
As a small business owner I am sure your brain is in working mode the entire time. If you are like me, with social distancing, you actually have less free time to work, undistracted. So I keep a notepad and pen always close by, to write down when an idea comes. I know it might sound a bit old school, but picking up a phone each time you want to record an idea, might not send the right message to your little one. Therefor once you are back at your desk, take the notepad and log the ideas in whatever system you got going on.
Fun activities that work for us
We are going for a walk
It is a simple one, but try to think of it through the eyes of your kiddo, and help them observe. I went on a walk with my 2 yo, the other day. We just went around a couple of blocks and it took us an hour. We were not in a hurry, explored the yellow flowers that were blooming along the walkway. And climbed on a few stone walls. Looked into the fountain. We even explored the city wildlife aka an ant-hill and their highway. We took a few photos. And recorded a song on my phone. And we listened to birds sing. Nothing fancy, but we made an adventure out of the everyday walk.
Another fun way to enjoy a walk is a Scavenger hunt. I’ve created a FREE printable.
Kids can be great helpers in the kitchen. However it might take some time to establish a few rules, and help them follow those, so you can minimize mess. My little one loves to stir, measure flower, or any ingredient actually. I turn on the oven light, and she loves to watch whats happening inside. (Be cautious to teach them how not to get burned).
This is new to our little gang, but how excited am I that we are starting to play board games as a family. This is such a great way for kids to learn. From counting, to sharing, to taking turns as well as winning and loosing.
Our favorite right now is Hi Ho Cherrio.
Home Spa day
Do a little pamper spa day together. If it is painting your nails, or putting on lotion, they will love it. Maybe you are making hair-dos for each other, or putting on make up on daddy.
Slap on a hair or face mask while you play with them. Make sure you let them only use age appropriate products.
Pen pal the grandparents
Your household might be overwhelmed with all the art projects that are emerging on a daily basis. But maybe other family members aren’t. Turn the latest one into a greeting card, and mail it to the grandparents, with a lovely note inside.
There are certain chores that I like doing during my me-time (like going to Target 😉 but then there are some I’ll rather include my kids in. Like grocery shopping, and exercise. My daughter loves trying to keep up with all the different moves and stretches when I turn on an exercise video.
What is important to know is when you play you play, when you work you work. Simple enough right? But still I have spent hours and hours being half present and fully frustrated, trying to finish a project or send an email, while playing with my toddler. Therefor I have learned that I actually get more things done when I establish clear expectations for myself and my little one.