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How Work-at-Home Parents Make Time to Have Fun with Their Children

June 13th, 2008

work-from-home.jpgThis article by Francis Leary describes some of her ideas for ways in which parents who have successfully implemented the work-at-home lifestyle can spend some “quality time” with their kids. Interestingly, the last time I published an article that had anything to do with kids turned into an unexpected controversy in the comment section when someone submitted the article to StumbleUpon under the “Parenting” category. Apparently some of the Stumblers disagreed with the author’s suggestions for relatively healthy snack foods that parents could get their children to eat without too much fuss. If you want to read the article and register your opinions on this topic, it can be found here at Healthy Snacks Your Kids Will Love.

As work-at-home parents, we’re due some time to reflect on how we can thrive in our businesses and continue to be good parents too. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the work. It’s easy to tell our children “wait a minute” or “as soon as I finish this”, and then before we know it the day is gone.

The reason we’re working at home in the first place is so we can be with our children, so it’s absolutely necessary that we not only make time for them but that we enjoy them each and every day. Independent play is an important skill to learn, and our children can develop that during the parts of the day when we’re working. But…this CANNOT be the entire day. They need direct interaction and affection from their parents.

So…how do we fit it all in? Well, preparing a schedule is essential. What else can we do to make sure we spend enough time with our children?

Here are some fun and easy ways:

  • Let them “cook” with you. As you cook, have your children there with you in the kitchen. Give them their cooking utensils and TALK with them about what they’re preparing as you’re making dinner. Encourage them to “feed” their stuffed friends. Show them the steps of what you’re doing…let them see the steamy vegetables cooking to know that they’re hot, narrate what you’re doing. Ask them to help you stir; they love that! Then, make sure to ask if you can taste what they’ve made. That will make your children feel very special. :o)
  • Brush your teeth together. Yes, this is a simple thing, but if you make a game out of it, your children will not only value the time with you but will learn to love brushing their teeth. Take turns “helping” each other. Put your hand on their toothbrush and guide them, and then let them put their hand on yours to help you. If you have room, I’d suggest letting your child sit up on the bathroom counter so he or she can spit directly into the sink. Directing them to spit is such fun, since this is really the only time that spitting is allowed. Make sure to show them the mirror after you’re both finished so you can look at your teeth and see how SHINY they are.
  • Color a picture together. You’ll need fun, colorful paper and crayons. Stickers add to the fun as well. Make sure to ask questions about what he/she is drawing and tell them how beautiful the picture is. Make a big deal out of it, and hang the picture in a special place when you’re finished.
  • Read some books together. Let your child pick out the book if he/she is old enough. Rhyming books are great for younger children. Use the most entertaining voices you can, and as your child gets old enough let him/her contribute to the storytelling by saying the words that go next. Ask your child questions about what’s happening in the story. The more involved they are in the reading, the more likely they are to enjoy reading as they grow up.
  • Dance! Put some fun music on and go for it! Play kid music sometimes and dance to the words, like with “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” or “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn around.” These types of songs are educational as well as fun. Then sometimes just play your favorites and jam. Your children will have fun, and it will be exciting watching Mommy be so silly.
  • Sing songs. You can sing along with a CD or just do it all on your own. Choose songs that your child can participate in. “Old MacDonald” is great for that, for example. Then ham it up and use funny voices. Don’t think you can’t sing. Everyone can sing, so just do it!
  • Go for an adventure walk. Take a pail and let your child pick up things as you go. Make sure to make a big deal about every item your child chooses and puts in the bucket. “Wow, what a beautiful rock,” for example. Point out things on the ground and in the sky. Talking about different things outside will instill in your child a love of nature. After your walk, find a special place to put all the items your child collected…maybe a certain bowl inside the house. This will make your child feel even more special.
  • Clean the house together. Give your son/daughter a special cloth to “dust” while you’re dusting. Let them hold the broom handle or the end of the vacuum. Children are built-in helpers at an early age, but this won’t last for long. Take advantage of it while you can, even though the cleaning will probably take longer this way. They’ll love knowing that they helped.
  • Make an art project together. Children love to work with different art mediums, so play around and have fun making beautiful art together. This could be finger painting…if you tape a few pieces of paper together on the floor as a backdrop and wear “messy” clothes, it’s really not that messy at all. Perhaps you make something out of clay or play-dough. Think of macaroni necklaces, glue and cotton balls, glitter, etc. See what you have around the house and be creative. The important thing is that you do it together. Make sure to display the creation in a special place when it’s finished.
  • Get wet! Maybe this is simply by giving them a bath. Let them use bubbles and show them how to make “beards” with the suds. Let them give you a beard, too. In the summer, you can make a homemade slip and slide outside with a tarp and some dish soap. There’s always just the simple act of running around in the sprinkler, too. Just make sure you’re there and having fun, too.
  • My favorite….snuggle! Take some time simply to hold your children. Soon they’ll be too old to want so many hugs and kisses from Mommy and Daddy. Take advantage of it while you can and kiss and hug them as often as possible!

The key to having fun with your children amidst trying to get work done is making time to actually “be” with them in any and every way you can. Have fun and enjoy it, and they will too. Most anything can be fun if you do it together. :o)

One Response to “How Work-at-Home Parents Make Time to Have Fun with Their Children”

  1. comment number 1 by: guardian angel

    Long but useful tips. Although I am only a part time blogger, I still find time to give quality time for my children when I am at home blogging.

    I remember I made a similar post around 3 weeks ago entitled Taking care of your Children when you are Working at Home and if you will allow me, I would like to add some more tips.

    Have a separate workplace but ensure that you can easily them. Another tip would be teaching them basic home activities like using the faucet and remote control.

    But most of all, organize your work so you can easily detached your self and go back any time without suffering your precious time.


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