Whether you work from home, or just need to get something done at home with preschoolers around, you need a plan. These busy little people are often on the go, moving and exploring the environment. There can be much more to keeping them engaged than plopping them down in front of the television though. Give them a little direction with the following ideas and common household items
Grab a roll of painter’s tape
When you absolutely have to focus on the task at hand, pull out a roll of painter’s tape. This nifty tool can be used to create hop scotch grids, four-square board or race tracks for toy cars. Use milk jug lids instead of rocks for hop scotch and balloons or dollar store beach balls instead of a playground ball for four-square. A straight line of tape can also become a balance beam for tip toeing across.
My daughter loves indoor hopscotch, but her favorite game with painter’s tape is making little “cages” on the floor for her stuffed animals. She sets it all up and than takes her baby dolls on a zoo trip.
Sheets and clothespins
Extra sheets and a handful of clothespins can transform a room into just about anything. Keeping a box full of fort supplies can be handy when you need time to finish a project and do not mind a little creative redecorating. In addition to the sheets and clothespins, a flashlight or LED lantern, books, pillows and a stuffed animal or two can help get their imagination going
Dump the toy box
This has been a stand-by favorite, and thankfully one that my daughter hasn’t tried on her own, but on those days when I need to be on the phone for an extended length of time, I pull out a box of toys she hasn’t seen in a while and dump it on the floor. Exploring lost treasures can take a child’s mind off interrupting for a short amount of time.
Kitchen timers are a handy tool for work at home parents. Setting the timer lets the child know you will be available at a certain set point. This can calm an anxious child down while giving you a push to complete tasks within the time frame. This is assuming you have tasks that can be completed within 10 minutes, a 60 minute time out would be ideal sometimes, but not always practical.
When you are working, get them working. My oldest two loved the job jar when they were preschoolers. Writing out easy tasks on slips of paper was the extent of my involvement. They would grab a job and race to get it done so they could grab another. Okay, not everyday, but this was one of my more effective and productive preschool diversion tactic
I love the new digital cameras for kids. When deadlines loom and “mommy is boring today” I can hand my daughter a digital camera to keep her busy. She has fun setting up photo shoots with her dolls, taking shots of the dog and cat and way too much fun taking photos of herself!
More by Sylvie Branch:
Four Fun Ways to Burn Energy with Your Kids
Messy room? What you can do as a parent
9 Ways to Encourage Creativity