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How to Keep Kids Busy when Working From Home!

(21 Posts)
weeny1979 Mon 01-Apr-19 14:18:08

Help! My children are 8 and 5. My husband and I run our own business from home, and we have decided to try and help them be self-sufficient during the holidays, rather than putting them into after school care for the two week holiday.

We have booked them into a sports camp for week two, but we really need advice from anyone in a similar position - what can they do to keep themselves busy (other than putting the TV on). The eldest can read, they are both quite crafty, but all the suggestions and advice you can give will be much appreciated! thanks!

OP’s posts: |
flowery Mon 01-Apr-19 14:23:18

I’m not sure a 5 year old needs to be self-sufficient. If you aren’t able to care for your children doing the holidays, I think the best thing you can do to be helpful to them at that age is put them in some kind of holiday club.

greenelephantscarf Mon 01-Apr-19 14:24:49

chores. esp the 8 yo
and tasks like 'built a szene from movie in lego/playmobile'
longish lunchbreak for a tumble in the park.

greenelephantscarf Mon 01-Apr-19 14:26:21

but agree with flowery. especially the younger one still needs a lot of stimulation and supervision.

Ariela Mon 01-Apr-19 14:43:19

I'd suggest see if any local college students of childcare want some work with your two kids over the holidays..

weeny1979 Mon 01-Apr-19 14:49:06

The children are supervised at all times, and are in a holiday club for week two. The work we can undertake while they are at home is limited as we don't just leave them to their own devices. Sorry for the confusion!

OP’s posts: |
Hollowvictory Mon 01-Apr-19 14:51:16

How many hours will they be amusing themselves whilst you work? Any more than 2 and it does not sound realistic. I worked from home for 6 years.

Hoppinggreen Mon 01-Apr-19 14:52:29

I’m self employed and at that age I wouldn’t try and work while looking after them as well unless it was an emergency. 5 is too young for them to be “self sufficient” and 8 is borderline

Tensixtysix Mon 01-Apr-19 14:54:11

Our local chippy (years ago), used to keep their toddlers in a big (open) cardboard box....seriously!
They didn't think it was wrong, kept them safe and out of the way when serving the customers.

OrchidInTheSun Mon 01-Apr-19 14:54:51

I would work in shift systems. You do the morning, your husband does the afternoon or whatever. It's really unfair to keep them trapped in the house all day every day in the holidays.

weeny1979 Mon 01-Apr-19 14:55:54

Right now we're in bursts of 15 minutes max amusing themselves. Any suggestions for anything that could take it up to half an hour at a time would be great smile

OP’s posts: |
ILiveInSalemsLot Mon 01-Apr-19 14:57:19

Give them a timetable that they can follow themselves.
Breakfast
Garden (if you have one) for a runaround and play
Craft activity
Lunch
Chores
Playing indoors or more arts/crafts
Reading
Screen time
Dinner

That’s roughly what my kids used to do.
I bought books on how to draw and art skills (usbourne books are good) and some craft bits from hobby craft
and made sure they had all the bits they needed.

allmycats Mon 01-Apr-19 15:02:36

5 year old is too young to be learning to be 'self sufficient' and 8 is very borderline, actually too young for me, but you could introduce a bit of 'own structure' AND, yes a BIG AND, the 8 year old is far too young to be looking after the 5 year old.
Re-jig your days to be with them, or pay out for proper care.
I actually read in to your post - we don't want to be paying for child care, yet we don't actually want the inconvenience of looking after our kids'.
Flame me if you like !!

weeny1979 Mon 01-Apr-19 15:04:47

Thank you @iliveinsalemslot that's really helpful.

@orchidinthesun that's quite a hasty judgement. They are not 'trapped in the house all day every day'

OP’s posts: |
weeny1979 Mon 01-Apr-19 15:06:18

@allmycats - wow, nowhere does it say the 8 year old looks after the 5 year old. I specifically said they are supervised at all times. I'm sorry you feel that way

OP’s posts: |
OliviaCat Mon 01-Apr-19 15:10:27

Really not possible. They need your attention: they are human children! They need childcare of some sort. Otherwise you will be giving nothing proper attention and that isn't fair to any of you.

NutButterNutter Mon 01-Apr-19 19:54:01

I wfh with a 2 yo 2 days a week and have to do shortish bursts between setting up and joining in things like:
Lego (build a the biggest bridge/tower)
Magnetic tile house building
Painting (or magic water painting)
Drawing
Glue stick and coloured tissue paper
Snacks
Lunch
Play kitchen
Garden riot when you are having a break
Emergency iPad for calls
All followed by a disco-tidy session
I leave work that needs long concentration to the evening or nap time though.
She can keep at something for half an hour ish but she's used to it and independent anyway, plus she's the youngest so has siblings coming home from 3:30 so it's not a full working day.

greenwhitefrog Mon 01-Apr-19 20:09:38

I'm only starting to manage this successfully now they're 10 and 7. The older one doesn't really want to go to holiday clubs anymore and I said they need to show that they can entertain themselves and allow me to work otherwise they will have to go to holiday club. It might be a year too early for yours to do this successfully but a good idea to get them used to independent play now.

I do think it's good for dc to learn to play by themselves and to come up with ideas of what to do by themselves as it makes for better imagination and cognitive development than constantly being 'adult directed' or supervised in play.

Things that my DC do to occupy themselves:

Lego
Board games
Other construction type toys
Reading
Listening to audio books (this is a good one for the younger dc)
Marble run
Playmobil for the younger one
Send them out into the (enclosed) garden and set the older one a steps target on the Fitbit for them to reach before they come back in - usually results in them devising different races or obstacle courses
Set up a tent for them to play 'camping' or encourage them to make a den with blankets etc
Shows - they do this at great length - choosing costumes, songs, rehearsing dances, setting up a 'stage' and 'lights', making posters and tickets etc - can take a whole morning or afternoon 😂

As a child I remember going off to play with my Dbro for hours at a time at this age and really enjoying it.

They enjoy days at home doing this sort of thing more than they do holiday club.

I also try and do a mix - so some activity clubs in the holidays here have a half day or short day option so they can do that and I can split my work between while they're at the activity and the evenings.

babysharkah Mon 01-Apr-19 20:18:51

Dts are 7. I can work for about 10 mins max before they start bugging me unless they're plugged in to YouTube which I hate. I don't think it's possible.

WFTisgoingoninmyhead Mon 01-Apr-19 20:24:48

We only managed this once our two were just a few years older actually 11 and 8. They would spend some time working with us, learning our business and earning some pocket money. Then they would go off to the cinema or something similar, when they came back they would do some chores and prepare tea for all of us. They are very self sufficient now as they are 27 and 24. Personally, I would wait a few more years to do this, you may be making your lives more difficult then necessary.

Noteventhebestdrummer Mon 01-Apr-19 21:17:08

I used Playmobil - we had a big castle set in the 'adult' living room which DS only went in alone when I was teaching. He'd put a CD on and play with the castle for up to an hour at a time, a few times a week.

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