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For stay-at-home or work-at-home parents, they’ve been preparing for this moment. However, with more and more companies closing their offices to work remotely, parents may find themselves overwhelmed and exhausted. Becoming a full-time employee and a busy parent at the same time because of quarantine is no easy task.

Most kids want the attention of their parents around the clock and easily become antsy to go outside. If you need some ideas to keep you afloat during the week, here are a few activities to do with your kids before or after work hours, and during your lunch break. Don’t forget keeping a routine will help too.

lady on laptop cheering

Stay active

Kids are used to their break times. The break from class to go out and play with their friends while getting some fresh air is good for everyone. It’s important to keep that going through quarantine, not only for kids but for parents too.

If the weather permits, going for a morning walk can jump-start your day with some exercise. It will also help you be more productive at work, while it gets the longing to go outside out of the way for your kids. These walks can also include your baby if you have one.

If you’ve got multiple kids, taking the stroller out for your toddler and a baby chest carrier for your baby can make it easier to keep track of both. 

If you’re working on a laptop and you have nice weather, set up shop in your backyard and let your kids play tag or have a cartwheel race knowing you have a close eye on them. 

child kicking a football on grass

Do puzzles together

Staying active mentally is just as important as physical. When you need some quiet time to really zone in on some deep work, puzzles come in handy. The Busy Papa says he loves this with his children and it is great for their wellbeing.

The trick is to pick puzzles that are the appropriate age for your little ones so that it’s not too difficult and they give up, or it’s too easy and they’re back to begging for your attention in less than 10 minutes.

The right puzzle will keep them entertained for a while, your toddler included. Puzzles that come in the form of wooden toys are safe and fascinating to hold your toddler’s attention long enough to get you through that conference call or that one task you need to wrap up. 

Family working out
Child pretending to be a superhero

Play dress up

What kid doesn’t love to use their imagination to become Batman or Superman? What little girl doesn’t love wearing a princess dress with play heels or a girl’s special occasion dress?

Once you’ve clocked out and have more time with your little ones, try having them put on a play after dinner or play dress up games like doctor, grocery store clerk, restaurant patrons with servers and chef, or play out a scene from their favourite Disney movie.

Don’t forget you don’t need fancy costumes or to spend a fortune to dress up. Why not buy some lovely bows from ZoZos Baby Shop and do their hair so they feel like a princess. For boys why not get some gel and spike it?

A happy gingerbread man standing up

Arts and crafts

For toddlers, keeping it simple will go a long way. Painting and colouring is a fun activity for them even if they can’t stay inside the lines. At this age, they will make a mess, only use washable paints, markers, and crayons. You can find lots of printables here.

For older age groups during quarantine, try reviving an old denim jacket by adding some rhinestones with a glue gun. For boys, have them paint on a jacket and make it look new for back to school. 

Paper mache is another great way to keep kids entertained for longer periods. Try making paper mache masks, wait for them to dry, then start painting them for playing dress-up or as decor in their room.

If you want something for little ones that is educational too why not try the counting caterpillar?

kids on a bike

Have a picnic

Odds are, by lunchtime, your kids will be craving your attention. Take a lunch break and make simple sandwiches together by using their favourite fillers for their sandwiches.

Keep them eating healthy by adding veggies, such as carrot sticks with ranch dressing, or fruits like apple and orange slices. Then share a bowl of raspberries and blueberries for dessert.

Quick and easy foods are the way to go so that you’re spending less time making lunch and more time enjoying your picnic outside on the lawn. 

The key to balancing work and play at home is having a set schedule. Knowing when conference calls, training, meetings, and other work needs to be done. Relaying that message to your kids is crucial to being productive.

Also let your work know that at certain times of the day you need to clock out for lunches, to put your little one down for a nap, or use break times to have quick 10 minute playtimes with your kids. 

Employers are especially understanding during these times, so they will most likely work with you during the quarantine as long as you’re being transparent with them about the work-life balance at home.

If you are baking more with your children and want to bake bread but like many of us can not get hold of yeast then how about this yeast-free tomato bread? Cheap, easy and you can all enjoy it afterwards!

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