7 cheap ways to keep the kids busy while you work
SCHOOL’S out for summer ‒ well, almost.
Most schools finish up for the year around December 16.
And while the kids might be cheering, many parents are panicking, wondering how the hell they’re going to juggle work and parenting.
Many people will be working right up until Christmas Eve.
So that’s seven whole days (excluding weekends) that you have to keep the kids entertained while you try to get some work done.
While the COVID era has meant a lot more flexibility for employees to work from home, it’s not easy with children around.
If you are trying to do the juggle, here are seven tried and tested ways to save your sanity. Mix them up throughout the day and you might just survive.
The most important part of this juggle is to be prepared ‒ get snacks sorted the night before, know what you’ll be having for lunch and make sure the things you need for any activities are on hand.
1. Puzzles and games
Hot tip ‒ grab some puzzles and games from an op shop (or ask friends if they have any you can borrow) so they’re new to your kids. It should keep them busy for hours and it doesn’t cost much for you.
2. Art and craft
You’ve probably got plenty of supplies at home already ‒ think pencils, crayons, paints, textas, chalk and paper. But also try buying some paper cups or plates that your kids can decorate and then use. Toilet rolls can be turned into telescopes or binoculars. There are heaps of fun and easy ideas here.
3. Play dates
This is an absolute winner. Team up with some other families to share the responsibilities. Kids get to play with their friends and you get some work done. If the kids are younger, they will need closer supervision, but this is why taking turns with other parents is great.
Even if your kid is not reading on their own just yet, books with great illustrations can be a great way to pass the time. Head to the library and stock up on some favourites. Audiobooks are also a good option, and with headphones, it’s still a lovely, quiet activity.
5. Lego/Duplo challenge
Write a list of things they have to build and tick them off as each task is completed. It gives kids a sense of achievement and lets them use their imagination. The final item could be a Mystery Thing ‒ see if you can guess what it is!
6. Scavenger hunt
For older kids, it can work a treat. You can make this as easy or as hard as you like, and the difficulty level will determine how long they spend on this activity (make it hard, very hard). For younger children, or those who are still learning to read, you could draw pictures of the things they have to find, or keep the list next to you and check it off as your child finds the items.
I know, I know. This may not be a popular option, and it can be a last resort for many parents, but keep your eye on the prize ‒ Christmas holidays. If you have to chuck on ABC Kids, do it. Maybe a National Geographic documentary? There are plenty of educational choices out there to help ease the mum (or dad) guilt. But also remember, the kids are on holidays and a bit of telly or a favourite movie is totally fine.
Have you got any other cracker ideas? Please, please, PLEASE share them with us. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.