What do you do when your child’s daycare is closed, or he has one of those-all-too-common conditions like pink eye or lice that keep him home from school? If you’re lucky, you can take the day off work to look after him. But as a busy entrepreneur, you may not have that luxury. So how can you keep your child occupied while you’re busy at work? If he’s too young to help out with the family business, here are some ideas.
- Set up a craft area. Cover the floor with newspapers to protect your carpet, and set your child up with construction paper, crayons, markers, and other crafting materials. Depending on how old your child is, he still may require a bit of supervision, but most kids age three or older can happily amuse themselves without making too big a mess.
- Host a playdate. It may not work if your kid is infectious, but if he’s home for a snow day, a public holiday, or all summer, invite one of his friends over to play. They may be noisy, but they’ll entertain one another without much help from you — and next time you need a little alone time, perhaps you can send your child to his playmate’s house instead.
- Help your child build his own play business. Most young children love to play make-believe — and if they see you hard at work, they’ll likely want to run their own “business.” Give your child or elementary school-age child a set of “office” toys like a play phone, a typewriter, and a kid-friendly calculator.
- Set up a special workplace toy bucket. When you know that your child will be spending time with you at your office, put together a collection of toys that stay at the workplace, such as puzzles and coloring books. He’ll be excited by the novelty of these toys, and will be eager to try them out.
- Work outside. If the sun is shining and you have a laptop and patio table, set up outside and let your child roam the backyard. Give him a project to work on, such as weeding the garden or watering the flowers.
- Head for the library. If you can be portable with your work, pack up your laptop and head over to your local library. Your child can stock up on books, talk to other kids, and might even have the chance to listen in on story time while you sit working at a nearby table.
- Take a break when you can. You may need to get work done, but you can still take a few minutes to play with your child. Plan a lunchtime outing to your child’s favorite restaurant, or head to the pool for a quick dip. Your kid will be much more patient when it comes to letting you work uninterrupted if he knows he’ll have the chance to do something fun with you, too.