As a working mother, do you feel helpless that you are unable to attend to your child during the office hours ?  Do you feel guilty that the only option you have is to hand them a smart phone or tablet to watch videos on or play games on? If you’re having to manage kids (under 5 years old) along with work, then the tips shared in here might be useful to keep kids off screen for maximum time, and hopefully not letting your work suffer.

Let’s be honest, the kids are stuck at home with us, 24*7. They are not used to seeing us around so much. And now when we are home, we’re spending most time in front of laptop or talking on phone. In absence of a fixed routine (getting ready for school, meeting friends, going to park etc.), it’s natural for them to feel left out and in some cases being frustrated. If children are not appropriately engaged at this time, there is a greater risk of them changing their personalities. After all, an idle mind is a devil’s workshop! So,

  • Involve them in Household chores

Some people might feel guilty asking the young ones to fold the clothes or to help clean around the house but the truth is children love helping with most of the adult stuff. They want to grow up fast and they can’t wait to act like an adult. You should just be “selling” the chore to them as if it’s the most enjoyable thing to do, be it laying the dinner table or helping themselves with a glass of water. Moreover, Young boys want to be the hero in their mothers’ lives. Show some excitement with “Who wants to help mama with…” and see their face light up as if they are coming to save us. If you like, you can add an educational element by asking them to stack vegetables separately by shape or to arrange all white shirts together or count the number of plates we would need for dinner. Don’t forget to thank them with a hug and huge smile afterwards to express that they have done a great job (so that you can ask them for help next time around ;))

Here are a few things you can ask your kids to help with:

  1. Arranging non-sharp and preferably unbreakable utensils in kitchen/on table
  2. Folding clothes and keeping in the right drawer ( It would make them responsible)
  3. Organizing vegetables and fruits in basket  while counting
  4. Making of no-cook sandwiches (let them have fun with different ingredients and shapes)
  5. Keeping the toys and the mat back in place after play time
  6. Dusting and cleaning around the house with water and cloth (no chemicals)
  • Let them paint their hearts out:

Children enjoy mixing colors and showing their creativity on sheets of paper (sometimes on the walls too). This is the activity they don’t need much adult supervision on. They might come to you for approval after every few strokes of brush and that’s okay. If you want to become a little adventurous, let them paint with different vegetables (like okra, potato etc.) instead of using the conventional brush and watch them come up with exciting imaginary shapes. If you want to go one step further, let them paint on their hands and face. This activity is sure to keep them engaged on their own for a good 1 hour or so.

  • Let them have fun with Soap bubbles:

My 4 year old loves playing with soap bubbles on his own. Just help him make a bubble solution using any DIY video. The one we refer to is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg9nF8yXtww

  • Teach them a few magic tricks:

Remember as a child how you used to be in awe of every trick the magician used to perform? Now is your chance to know the “working” behind those magic tricks. Through this activity in particular, I reminisce the fond memories of childhood and also get a sense of accomplishment of being the magician myself.

Although this would require you to get involved with the child for practice but it is worth the effort. Your little one can then host a magic show for the family and you’ll be surprised at how content and happy they look.

My personal favourite are easy to follow magic tricks shown in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2tDK9wfCYs

  • Play Board games with them

These games provide a good opportunity to engage together as a family. Be it snakes & ladders, Ludo, Chess or Monopoly, you can have a good few hours of gadget free family once in a week  (or more if you like). These games can be a good way to promote the confidence and for inculcating the spirit of sportsmanship in the child. Additionally, a game like chess can be used to increase the mental focus in child

  • Indulge in art and craft:

Does your child have a favourite role or character who they idolise? Making the relevant props could give them a chance to “be the character”. Last weekend, my son wanted to be a King, so we made a crown out of a sheet of paper (I did the cutting, he did the coloring and pasting). He then continued wearing that crown and enacting like a King almost the entire day. It was fun way of keeping him occupied

  • Boost their imagination:

Without a doubt, storytelling is the best way to give a boost to a child’s imaginative powers. I personally try to impart learning about life through made up stories about my childhood and my son listens with a keen interest and even remembers them later on. Kids are very good at remembering certain details. Another way to boost imagination is to gaze with them  into the sky and talk to them about the shapes of clouds and allow them to run their thinking as far as possible (you will need to do the same to lead). Looking far is also good for the developing eyesight of the little one

To summarise, these are very general tips that you might like to customise as per your situation such as work timings, available area in the house, other family members in house etc. You’d be surprised to see how most children would love to do one or all of the above activities.

Picture Credits: Pexels