There are some ages where your kids need constant supervision. There are some ages where you can keep an eye on them from the other room. Some ages afford the luxury of being out of hearing range for periods of time. Whatever the configuration of your crew, there are things you can do to make it sort of fun for them when you’re working.
- Set up a shelf in the pantry that’s kid-high and kid-friendly. The rule is that anything on that shelf is good for a snack anytime. They don’t have to ask. You need to be sure they know the portion size. For that reason, prepackaged things are easiest, although you can make portions and put them on the shelf, too. Since they know how much they can take, they don’t have to ask.
- Make their lunches in the morning, put them in brown bags or lunch boxes, and set the timer for lunch time. Spread a blanket on the floor or put a tablecloth on the coffee table in the room ahead of time. They can take their lunches and serve themselves when it’s lunch time.
- Fill some bottles with water so they can help themselves during the day. If each child has a different color or a sticker or mark on his/her bottle, there’s no need to fuss.
- Record some shows a head of time and let your kids what they can watch. If they’re too young for that, set them up with a movie. At the end of the movie, take some time to play a game like Simon Says, or just dance together to loud music.
- Fruits and veggies make great snacks, too. Pick a drawer or shelf in the fridge that is for kid-stuff. We’ve had a shelf that slides out the last few. Put sliced up vegetables, portions of fruit, yogurt cups or squeezies, or whatever else you count as a snack. The kids know where they are so they don’t need to ask.
- NO MATTER HOW OLD THEY ARE, they’re kids. You need to get “into” your work, but you also need to be aware of what is happening in the other room. Set a time for regular intervals, then get up and go see what’s going on. It’s a good way to check in. Give them some positive hugs or take a break and a cuddle.
- REMEMBER – if it’s ever too quiet, RUN to see what’s they’re up to!
These tricks worked for me. My clients got what they needed. My kids spent time together. My kids spent time with me. We all survived my writing schedule and their childhoods. We all knew they were part of my writing team from the start.
I hope some or all of these will work for you!