Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Since the end of our school semester is this week, and my daughter has four “adjusted dismissal days” (read: half-days), I decided now would be a good time to share how I work from home while my daughter is there.
Note: I normally do my job from my office, but on days when my daughter is off, my boss is flexible enough to let me work from home.
The Key: Planned Activities
The easiest way to make sure your child is occupied without parking them in front of the television, is to have planned activities. My daughter likes to be in my office with me, so she has her own desk, where she can do activities I have planned for her.
The internet is packed full of coloring pages. Sometimes I will print (double-sided, of course) pages of her favorite cartoon characters. Other times I will print an educational book, like the ones found at Enchanted Learning. These allow her to do some coloring on “new” books, which always gets her interest.
I also have a bunch of crafts on hand. These can often be found cheaply at department stores, or on clearance at the local craft stores. These crafts have to be simple so that they can be done without my help, but still satisfying. I usually provide a tube of white glue as well. My daughter’s current favorites are origami and stringing beads together.
Small puzzles are also a good way to capture attention. The puzzles have to be challenging enough to get the attention, but not too challenging, which will lead to the child losing interest. We are currently working in the 100 piece puzzle range.
For older kids, there are also puzzle books. Word searches, sudoku and simple crosswords are great for absorbing attention.
There are a lot of kid-friendly and kid-safe websites out there. My daughter currently loves Webkinz, Build-a-Bear land, and Handicats. She is not allowed to browse at random, but these three sites are ones I feel comfortable letting her play as she will.
One surprising activity that my daughter can stay involved in is Wii games. She favors Wii Fit Plus over sedentary games, so I feel good letting her play. She can easily kill an hour biking around the island or dodging snowballs.
One thing that makes working from home with my daughter present is the expectation that I won’t be working in large chunks without being distracted. I try to break my work into chunks and take a quick break every 20 minutes or so. If she is home for lunch, I make sure I take my full lunch break and spend time with her.
I also make it clear that I shouldn’t be interrupted unless there is an emergency (and I define what emergency is). If my daughter wants something from me, I will say, “I can take a break in 10 minutes. Come back then.”
When All Else Fails, Phone A Friend
There are days when I can’t get her to settle into anything. At that point, I will phone one of our neighbors who isn’t working and set up a playdate…at their house. I have two neighbors who understand the situation and will help me out. (They claim that having my daughter over relieves them from the task of entertaining their own child, so it works out well.)
It is possible to occasionally work from home with a child around and still be productive. Provide some activities, connect with your child frequently, and set expectations, and you can manage this as well.
Photo by tinkerbrad