Ways to Keep Kids Occupied While You Work [Guest Post]

From time to time, we repost the work (with permission) of other bloggers when we feel the topic is relevant to our followers. Mark Kelly is a single father, and writes for us from time to time. His topic today talks about how single working parents can juggle both work and children, with some creative planning. Even though we normally focus on helping people find work, we do have some followers that are already working, and struggling with the issue of keeping kids occupied with they work.

Mark has a website at https://mydadventures.com/.

Posted by: Don Oehlert
Managing Partner


This is a caricature of Mark Kelly from his website. Mark is a single father writing today about keeping kids occupied while you work from home.

Written by: Mark Kelly


kids making noise and disturbing mom working at home
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Staying on task with your work responsibilities when you have kids in the house can be a major challenge. Kids can be rambunctious and loud, breaking your focus and demanding your attention. Not to mention, hanging out with your kids can often feel a lot more appealing than completing the next item on your to-do list, no matter how urgently it’s due. 

That’s why it’s so important to establish some kind of system where your kids have something to do while you focus on your work responsibilities from home. If they’re occupied, you’ll have an easier time getting down to business. 

Let Them Game 

Obviously, we all want to moderate screen time. However, some screen time is just fine and, more to the point, not all screen time is created equally. Kids get a lot more out of playing video games, especially socially, than they do out of just watching TV. With a sufficient connection, online games give them the chance to connect with friends in different households. This kind of virtual interaction can be invaluable, especially for families doing online school. 

Child doing homework during family work time. Mom is keeping her occupied while she is working.
Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

You can also invest in games with strong artistic or narrative merit. In addition to being fun to play, these games tell a story or create a world that can spark the imagination. They may even encourage your kiddo to try their hand at game design and creation for themselves! 

Create Family ‘Work’ Time 

If your kids have homework to do – which is arguably their full-time job – consider setting aside a specific time where everyone gets down to work together. Although this period will likely only be a fraction of your work day, they’ll enjoy feeling like part of your company’s team as they complete their homework alongside you. Try to turn family work time into a routine where every week the family “works” together, and they’ll absorb your dedication to fulfilling your responsibilities. 

Encourage Reading 

A single father reads to his daughter to help her learn a love for reading, which will pay off later by her being able to occupy herself while he works at home.
Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

Another way to keep your kids occupied while you are working is to create a quiet atmosphere for a while is to encourage them to read more often while you’re working. Some kids naturally fall in love with reading, and if this is your kid, it’s just a matter of making sure they’re well-supplied with books to pore over. Get your child a library card and help them learn how to responsibly manage borrowed books. 

If your child doesn’t already love reading, now’s your time to help them figure out how to. First and foremost, you need to figure out the roadblock. Some kids truly just haven’t found the right kind of book. This is another area where the library can help. Let your child check out anything that interests them. Encourage them to read at least three chapters of a book before they make up their mind about it and, if they don’t want to read more after that, that’s fine. This is a great method for helping kids figure out which genre they enjoy. 

Of course, interest isn’t the only thing that holds kids back from a love of books. If your child is really struggling, there’s a chance they could have Dyslexia, ADHD, or another learning disability that makes reading difficult. Consider having them screened – if they do have a learning disability, catching and treating it will have a huge impact on their lives. 

Provide Connection 

Finally, remember to foster plenty of connections with your child when you aren’t working. Kids crave their parent’s attention, and when they don’t get enough to fill their cup it can come out in unpleasant ways. When you’re done working, ask to join your child in what they’re doing. The chance to tell you about their game or project could light up their whole day. This is the best way to keep your kids occupied while you are working – your attention when you stop!

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