The biggest challenge for working parents for many years has been to juggle their own work commitments while providing all the childcare for their youngsters. Older kids might be able to entertain themselves or engage in home learning activities for short periods of time, but toddlers are notoriously bad at independent play and need constant attention.
This is why we’ve put together tips on how to keep your two and three-year-olds busy to allow you to fit in work around looking after them while nurseries and pre-schools in Southampton remain closed.
Set up an activity
One of the best things to buy yourself a few minutes is to set up an activity and let them become intrigued by it on their own. It could be as simple as putting out some pots, pans and wooden spoons, a water tray with cups and bowls, or some kinetic sand with toys hidden for them to find.
Although the activity might not be a hit first time, it is worth leaving it out in case they find it interesting in a day or two. If you don’t have time to be creative and set up anything elaborate, play dough, colouring in sheets and building blocks are all useful to have in the house, as they can give you a few minutes to call into that Zoom meeting.
Make a den
Something all young children love is having a den. Take some time to make it with them, rearranging some furniture and draping blankets and sheets over the top. Once it is set up, put their favourite teddies inside and a couple of books or toys. They are bound to love spending time in there for a while, making the most of their new hideaway.
And if they don’t want to be left alone, you can always bring your laptop inside the new setup and try working from there!
Decorate a box
With many stores shut at the moment, more of us are relying on online purchases than ever before. So the chances are you have a few parcel boxes lying around the house. If you have a big one, transform it into a car, spaceship, tent, or castle for your little one. Then give them a box of colouring in pencils and felt-tips and let them work their magic. They will love decorating their box, particularly if you let them go crazy with stickers and glue as well.
Even if you don’t have any big boxes, there is an abundance of things you can make out of small pieces of cardboard, from dinosaurs and post boxes to robots and rockets. Get them started and let them decorate it themselves under your supervision. While you might have to be around to monitor gluing and painting, they are likely to concentrate on it for a short while to let you work.
Though you might have reservations about letting your little one have a lot of screen time, there are some great things you can find on YouTube or CBeebies these days. You could put on a yoga, PE or dance class for them to join in; help them get to grips with phonics through toddler-friendly tutorials; or enable them to explore life in a zoo or farm.
Short bursts of TV will definitely help you get some work done and could be educational for them too!