When I had my first son, I stayed home for a while, but I was lucky enough to have a grandmother that was willing to watch my son (both of them actually) when I went back to work.
Then tragedy struck and my grandmother had to have heart surgery, but my son was old enough to go to preschool, so off to school he went. However, I was not ready for his first school break, which was winter break. I was thrilled for Christmastime performances, Christmas art, handmade snowflakes and everything that encompassed having a preschooler during Christmastime…..except for Christmas Break. What was I going to do with him? How was I going to occupy his time? How was I going to entertain him? Remember that it’s been a while since I was alone with him during the day, and for a first time mom like me, this was drawing a blank! I needed IDEAS! I tried to think back on all the things that I loved to do when I was little during my breaks! My mom was not the kind of person that let us watch TV all day! I read, wrote, drew, did arts and crafts, and we had excursions! So I got creative. I pulled from memories and made a daily itinerary of our time together during his week off.
Technically I still had to work, but if, you are lucky to be able to work at home, you will still need to occupy your children for the hours that you have to work. Here are ten ways you can occupy your children while you have work to do. Work as in any kind of work, housework, office work, writing, blogging, marketing, anything! Work is work ladies, no matter what our work is, it’s work.
#1. Build forts! When I was little, nothing thrilled me more than to build forts between couches with sheets and and pillows! I would read, write, draw, and just think. These days we can even build a fort for our children and set up a little movie theater area with their Ipads, or tablets! Give them some snacks too, and make it a little play area. The possibilities are endless, their imaginations can go wild! It can be an indoor treehouse, an indoor snuggle area, a fort, a movie theater, there are so many ideas! They can be free to read, write, draw, nap, and watch movies.
#2. Take Christmas Photos! Set up your home, let your little ones decorate, and let them go crazy with taking photos! Afterward, you can make a little photo album to showcase their work! This is also a good time for their imaginations to spark, and ideas to start on what they want to do when they grow up! They can be interior designers, photographers, stage designers, artists, and many many more!
#3. Let them play with leftover wrapping paper! Let them try to wrap some old toys while you get some wrapping done! Not their presents of course. But do it together! Put some Christmas music, make some Christmas treats, and make a fun day!
#4. Volunteer! Show your children that it is always better to give back to their communities! You can read here on Volunteer Ideas! Showing your children at a young age is so imperative to teaching them empathy and kindness. Teaching empathy leads to generosity, kindness, and compassion. Showing them other people’s situations, lives, and showing them to walk in other people’s footsteps are the first steps to this. You can also read more on Teaching Empathy here.
#5. Excursions to the zoo, library, and local parks! When you get a moment, or if you can get some work done outdoors, take your little ones out! Go to the library during storytime! In between errands, go to the park, plan an excursion to the zoo. Sometimes just getting out of the house is best!
#6. Bake! Baking is an excellent way to show your little ones science, math, and how to follow instructions. It’s educational, fun, and you get to make a mess that turns into delicious treats. I LOVE to bake with my boys! The mess doesn’t bother me, because it’s nothing that can’t be cleaned later, and the memories are priceless! The time spent together is worth all the cleaning! They will have these memories forever, and so will I.
#7. Run Errands together! Show your babies that errands and chores don’t complete themselves. You can show them responsibilities, duties, etc need to be done in a timely manner. This also shows time management skills as well.
#8. Make homemade ornaments and decorations! Have an art class! Go to your local craft store and get some art supplies to have an arts and crafts day with your little ones. This is another situation where I know that there will be a lot of cleaning to do. But with the correct preventative measures like newspapers, plastic covering, etc, it’s well worth it. Be sure that you are there to do cutting, or anything that requires a hot glue gun. But these are my most favorite memories with my mom, and I know that my boys will also love these times and remember them forever!
#9. Collect old toys and clothes, and donate them to your local shelters. It’s always good to purge, and to give back to our communities! It’s like killing two birds with one stone.
#10. Read! I never stress this enough! READ to your CHILDREN. It’s so beneficial to start at a young age. Your child will benefit, and also get extra love and attention from you as well. Development, creativity, imagination, and also the love of learning starts with reading to your child. I wrote a blog post on this – Reading to your Child – where you can find more info on this.
At the end of the day, the only that is important is the time spent together! Nothing else is more important on this earth than the time you get to spend with your loved ones.
So many of us wonder and want to know, why are we here? Well, I firmly believe that we are here to make connections, help, show kindness, and make a difference. It’s part of our makeup as people to be present in the lives of the people we love.