Last Thursday, I was picking the kids up from school, and all three started BEGGING me to take them to the office. One of them even shed a couple of tears. I made the office comfortable for the kids on purpose, since as a working mom, sometimes I have to bring them in the office with me. If you work in a place where you can bring your kids to work with you, here are some ideas to keep your kids content while you get your work done.
1. Insist on them getting their homework done first. One of the best things about having kids at the office after school is that they will have homework. Depending on the type of workplace, it is quiet, and there is a desk and chair for them to get it done quickly.
2. Provide quick healthy snacks like fruit, juice boxes (small ones so you won’t have to make a hundred trips to the bathroom), raisins, and granola bars. Steer clear of crackers, they just make a mess.
3. Keep them out of your stuff. Make sure that they know that your computer, manuals, pens, and paper are off limits. Create an “office box” that has paper, crayons, pens, coloring books (depending on their age), books, and quiet toys that they can look forward to.
4. Invest in a small DVD player with a screen and headphones. If you have one child, a new movie will keep them occupied for at least an hour, and an educational video will probably keep their attention for 30 minutes. If you have more than one child, rotate the player between them at regular intervals. Have other activities like puzzles or coloring books to keep the ones without the DVD player occupied.
5. For younger children, getting them to sit still can be near impossible. They do however, like to imitate adults. Here’s the trick. Get one of those toy laptop computers (some have educational games on them) that has a keyboard and screen. A toy cell phone doesn’t hurt either as long as you remind them to use their “inside voice”. Have it ONLY at the office. Collect small office supplies like envelopes and notepaper and create an “office” environment just for them. If you are quiet and typing away, they will copy you and do the same thing.
6. Get them involved. If possible, give them a safe job to do like sorting papers, filing, making copies, or cleaning up. If you are a photographer, give your little one a digital camera (they have tough models for kids). You may be surprised at the images they capture!
7. Make a quick stop at a nearby park before you go back to the office. If you are going back to the office after picking up the kids, stop at a park to let them run around for a while. The DC metro area has parks and green space everywhere you turn, so it should be easy to find a place for them to run and jump for a few minutes.
Prince Georges County:
The workplace is not the ideal place for kids, but working moms (and dads) have to do what they have to do. Remember to be understanding since they are not in their most comfortable environment, patient because they may have a lot of questions, and prepared because children need to be stimulated, nourished, and entertained.