How You Can Keep Kids Busy and Engaged Without Switching on the TV, Taking out the Tablet or Buying More Toys

One of the questions that nearly every single work-at-home mom asks me in our coaching sessions is “How do I keep the kids busy so that they’re happy and I don’t feel guilty?

I get that.

I’ve been there way too often, especially since we went full-time with this business when Manini had just turned 2.

With both Mayank and me working out of home, we needed a system to keep Manini who is also, an only child busy and engaged so that she’d be happy while we could knock off work.

Plus, we didn’t want to exceed our daily limits for her TV viewing and our weekend-only rule for the iPad.

Was I dreaming? Could something like this exist?

Happily enough… yes.

Disclaimer: I have nothing against TV for kids or the iPad for that matter;) Manini uses both very well and during especially busy times, her usage does go up;) but our family values place emphasis on as little gadget time as possible.

While we’ve shared productivity tips for entrepreneurs to create more time when you have kids around, today we’re talking about 5 ways that we use {and you can too!!} to keep kids, aged 2-7, happily engaged so you can deal with email, social media or making phone calls.

1. Free Coloring Sheets for the Win

Manini loves coloring sheets. She needs these printed out for her and thanks to a bajillion sites out there with amazing free printable coloring sheets, we always have a bunch handy.

These days her favorites are Frozen {ahem, of course!} and a new series that she’s found called Winx Club. You can find my fave printable freebie sites right here on Pinterest.

Thanks to our trusty wireless HP 4535 all-in-one printer, printing these out takes no time and I usually print out some before I sit down to work so she can color them while I knock emails off.

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2. Printable Worksheets are Wonderful

Similar to coloring sheets, printable activity and worksheets are a huge sanity-saver for the work-at-home parent.

I print out worksheets for writing practice, math work, story telling and pretty much anything else that I think will strike her fancy.

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One of the things that I’ll be doing this year is printing out a whole lot and keeping them in a handy file folder so when we need more, we can simply take them out of there instead of printing as we go.

3. Craft Can Be Cool… Even if You’re Non-Crafty

So, here’s the thing, I’m not crafty. Uh-huh!

All those awesome Pinterest pictures of crafts that insanely talented moms make with their kids make me want to curl up in a corner and rock myself. No kidding.

Any way, I discovered that you can still do crafts, especially when your little one is in love with them… thanks to amazing kits.

These have come in handy as Manini has grown older. From making Christmas decorations to blingy jewelry for her friends to creating a lovely snow globe, these are all easy-to-use DIY craft kits that you can find on Amazon, Target, Kmart or any other toy store.

You have NO idea how grateful I am for them. She’s been doing these unsupervised because no sharp, small stuff is included and it’s awesome.

4. Bring on the Books and Magazines

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We have a reader so she’s always happy to have a book or magazine to keep her company.

Whether your kids love to read or just enjoy looking at the pictures and making up stories as they go, having a stash of fun kids’ books that are age and/or interest-appropriate will be a real blessing both for your kids’ reading skills and your work time too.

5. Play Dates can give you a Power Hour

Finally, because Manini is an only child, she needs playmates to play with. So play dates are our secret weapon for scheduling work time while she has a friend over to hang out with.

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We bring out the printable worksheets, coloring sheets and they use those or simply, play with their dolls, Lego and other toys.

We generally do a play date swap with a few friends. So… one day their kids come over and then the next day, Manini goes over to their house so both families get a decent chunk of time.

As I’ve already shared, working from home as a parentpreneur with kids around is a constant work in progress. One of the things that we often do is one parent works while the other hangs out with her. Another thing we do is schedule work when she’s at school or at an activity class. And finally, and most importantly, we often talk about our work with her so she’s involved and understands what we do.

Whether you print out coloring sheets, keep a stash of books and kiddie magazines handy or invite a friend over for a playdate, making time to work with the kiddies underfoot IS possible and you can do it in an easy, gadget-free way too.

I’d love to hear YOUR suggestions on how you make working with kids at home an enjoyable, guilt-free experience!

Disclosure: This post is underwritten by HP. They kindly provided us with a gorgeous wireless printer to make printing out all those coloring sheets, worksheets and craft templates super easy! This post includes affiliate links, from Amazon.com. Your price remains the same but we’re able to provide free content and you support our small family business!