If you're a work at home mom (or just a mom who needs to get some things done!), you're going to love this list of awesome ideas for keeping your kids occupied.
We asked our Stand For Mom community: "how do you get your work done?" Here's what they had to say:
My big kids, ages 4 and 6, thrive on their picture to do lists. Just like the list they see me working through, they can see each task and move through each one independently. It's a mix of fun and work - puzzles, books, snack, outside time, drawing for their pen pal, room pick up, learning activity on the iPad, unloading the dishwasher, etc.
-Gretchen, writer and blogger at thatmamagretchen.com
My kids have very defined spaces. Their "stuff" stays in these spaces. When interacting with siblings becomes more "intervention" than "self-sustained" play. I move them to separate stations (1 kiddo in living room train table, 1 kiddo in room reading nook). They also are on a set schedule so they know it won't be "forever" - this helps me too because I know I have XX more minutes of work time before the next season of the day begins (lunch, outdoor time, nap, etc.)
I have a nanny MWF mornings while I go to my studio the rest of time it's just a circus of trying to answer phones while keeping children alive.
-Lacey, birth photographer at birthbyfincherphotography.com
I find that my kids (ages 3 & 5) play independently together for way longer if they are outside. If you have the ability to create a safe space for them in a fenced yard, your options are endless. Even simple things like giving them spray bottles from the dollar store to "water" the plants will keep them busy for quite a while. As an added bonus, outdoor play seems to tire them out way more so they tend to take better naps and we all know how much we value naptime!
-Bryn, podcaster at thebirthhour.com
My kids are still very young, 1 and 3.5. Recently my oldest has become fascinated with play-doh so they can play together for up to an hour sometimes! My son "supervises" and if the 1 year old loses interest or isn't keeping everything on the craft table he's pretty quick to alert me or try to herd her back. If my daughter is at daycare my 3.5 year old can play with anything independently, cars, trains, blocks, anything art (painting markers, cutting, gluing), and a new favorite his tracing books. Each child has a toddler passion, just keep exploring with different activities until you figure out a few of them and you'll see them captivated by a single activity. If all else fails, hope you have a big back yard where they can run around! Nothing better than sun and fresh air whenever possible. While I love age 1, I'm finding age 3 to be a LOT more productive.
My oldest is in preschool 3 days a week the youngest does daycare two days a week - daycare was cheaper than having a babysitter come for half the amount of time!!! I'm only part time and very flexible clients for now 🙌 so grateful for understanding mom clients!
-Jeana, virtual assistant and blogger at www.peanutadventures.com
My son is two. My fail safe is Goldie Bear on Netflix if I need total silence for a phone call, but a bath (next door to my office), food, and we have an indoor trampoline that he LOVES! I put it in my office next to me and he is happy just being with me and jumping.
My #1 is toy rotation. Getting good at doing it thoroughly and consistently changed a lot for us. I do it once a month, and I can tell when it's time, because she's not playing independently. The day the new stuff comes out, she's content for hours - so I try to do it strategically.
#2 is a stash that she doesn't get very often. A lot of it is dollar store stuff - puff balls, jingle bells, containers, etc. Some is different art and office supplies, puzzles, lacing cards, etc. But I keep it in a room where I work and her stuff doesn't normally go. It's more thrilling because it's "Mommy's stuff."
Two days she goes to 2-year-old preschool. An digital calendar coordinating passing her back and forth with my husband during the other days. Grandma to cover when we can't manage. And often, waiting until she sleeps and I just don't
-Amanda, lawyer/mediator and adjunct law professor
A planter full of dirt, a couple cars and the water hose keeps A entertained for half a day. It would entertain him for a full day if it weren't for his stomach :) I sit (at a safe distance) in an outdoor lounge chair with my laptop and get three to four hours of work done that way.
-Karina, Seven + Seven owner
He goes to preschool 2 days a week and I work while he's there and the baby sleeps. Other than that, I coordinate with my husband during the day and do the bulk of my work after the kids are in bed.
-Maria, Operations Manager for telecommunications companies
Ymca = 2 hours per day for only 35/month (unlimited # of kids). I bring my computer and work (WiFi available).
I know it's only 2 hours, but it's still 2 hours and inexpensive. Otherwise I depend on nap, preschool, (educational) shows ;-), and when my husband is home.
-Holly B., custom apparel designer and blogger at creativelylivingblog.com
I stay up late and sometimes take him to his Abuelas house but she can't really handle the two of them so I try during naptime but lately naptime is not going as scheduled so it's been slow.
-Andrea Moore Cortes, Mary Kay consultant
My 4 yo is in Preschool 2 days a week all day and I take my younger one to daycare on those days. So I get 2 days to work, sadly family isn't very helpful so I have found it easier on me to not even ask or anticipate they are going to do anything for me. So far this is working out pretty well.
-Brenna, Paisely Barn Designs