Every working parent has been there. You’ve got a day crammed with meetings or a big project to finish up when you suddenly find yourself without childcare. Maybe your nanny is out sick or your daycare center is closed for the workday. No matter what the reason, you’re seriously stressing about how you’re going to accomplish your goals with your sidekick along for the ride. If you find yourself working with a kid in tow, check out the tips below to ensure you’re able to get your work done while your kid has a great day at the office.
1 | Create a coloring book
If you’ve got printer paper, a pen, and even the slightest bit of artistic talent, you’ve got a coloring book. Sketch a few out-lined drawings of your family, animals, flowers, or shapes. Hand your kiddo some crayons (or a pack of highlighters if that’s what you’ve got on hand) and let him color in the designs you’ve created. Alternatively, if you’re not feeling artsy, print out a few pre-made coloring sheets here, here, or here for your kid to enjoy!
2 | Practice the basics
If your little one is more interested in reading or math than in coloring, consider printing off some simple worksheets or word searches to keep her mind busy as you work. If you really want to blow your kid’s mind, take five minutes to create and print your own personalized word search, populated with all her favorite things.
3 | Turn them into your mini-intern
Most kids love to help out and, whether you really need the help or not, there’s something for children of any age to do. Elementary- and middle school-aged kids can help with simple filing, while preschoolers can sort paperclips, markers, or other office supplies by color, shape, or size. Younger kids also make excellent inter-office mail carriers and feel pretty important delivering files, office supplies, or small packages to co-workers.
4 | Create an under-the-desk fort
Everything is more fun in a fort. If your kiddo has a book, an iPad, or any other passive activity, extend the fun by letting them play in the “fort” under your desk. To create your fort, simply give your kiddo reign of the under-the-desk area in your office. If you have a tablecloth or large roll of paper, give him the opportunity to create the fourth wall and spend the afternoon hanging in his secret lair.
5 | Make paperclip jewelry
If you’ve got a crafty kid on your hands or one who loves to fiddle, consider giving her the supplies she needs to make a paperclip necklace. Even most preschoolers have the dexterity they need to string together simple jewelry and they’ll love the opportunity to wear their masterpiece home!
6 | Break something out of the busy drawer
Okay working parents, if you don’t have a busy drawer, now is the time to create one. Instead of throwing away all of the promotional stress balls, key chains, and trinkets you acquire, stash them in your busy drawer, only to be removed when a kiddo needs to be kept busy. Consider buying a few dollar-section toys like play-doh, bubbles, or a paddle ball and you’ll be more than ready next time your kid makes an unexpected visit to the office.