Diary of a (Sudden) Work-from-Home Parent (Part 3)
I hope everyone is feeling good and staying strong out there. Now that we’re in week three and the days are starting to blend together (anyone else – just me??) I’m thinking about concrete things I can do to really help our kids work independently and grow more self-sufficient. So I am channeling my inner 1980’s parent and compiling a few tips for any age child to help us Sudden-Work-From-Home-Parents get through the day with a little more work done and little more peaceful parenting.
Food and Water: My kids are always so hungry. It’s as if I had two football players hiding in my closet. So I’ve set up our kitchen so that they can help themselves to water and a few healthy snacks without my help and it mostly works great. (We sweep a lot).
–Put out a water pitcher that they can actually lift each morning and a few cups, down low where they can reach. They keep one cup all day – little kids love the independence and bigger kids take pride in being asked to clean up and look out for the younger ones.
–Snacks. Make up some snack packs and toss them in the fridge or again, down low where they can reach them. We have a snack drawer with (mostly) healthy stuff that they can go to town on without me having to monitor it.
Activity Stations: This takes a few minutes to establish but you’ll buy yourself a little time in the long run. Set up a few Kidspace-style stations that are low mess and engaging.
–Less is more, let them draw – a few crayons and markers with paper and a 20 minute session of Lunch Doodles with Mo! or Weasel Wednesdays will get you nearly 30 minutes of engagement. Not totally screen-free but creative and engaging! Pro-Tip – Hide the Sharpies.
–Tape! KIDS LOVE TAPE. A piece of paper and a roll of tape.
–Lego Challenge Cards are another big time Kidspace favorite from Imagination Workshop. We have two kids and one of our favorites in setting out a selection of Legos and asking the kids to build a structure that can house a butterfly or a snail or some other creatures – fairies and gnomes? They have to use every single piece and then we take a picture of their creation.
–Evaporation Painting is a mess-free Kidspace favorite. Water, paintbrushes and a sidewalk, cement wall, or inside, construction paper, and you are good to go.
Rotate Toys: Put some favorite toys away for a week or two so that they can be fresh again. Hide the Magnatiles for a couple days and rotate in the Duplos. Pull out some fort building materials and tuck the stuffies in the closet. Keep it fresh and curated. Trust me – this is everything with kids 5 and under. It’s like when you find a $10 bill in your jeans pocket.
Connection: In my house, things start to go south when someone needs something – the most common un-met needs are food, sleep or connection. So I try to remember to head off the squabbles by starting the day with cuddles and book reading and breakfast together before we drift off to our own work.
Let it Play Out: These are different times. Our kids are likely feeling a lot of stress that they can’t name. They miss their friends. They want to go the toy store and the playground. There will be behavior. Let it be. Let them work out a sibling conflict themselves. Be there to help, but give them a little more time to get the feels out.
Hope this helps in offering ideas for getting a couple more minutes of work done. Tell us your tips and tricks for getting through the day with some harmony! Tag Kidspace with your stories and pictures @KidspaceMuseum or @KidspaceChildrensMuseum and #KidspaceAtHome.