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How HR Can Engage Parents and Keep Kids Busy

Tips to keep the kids occupied while working from home

by Nikhil Bendre

The pandemic has put families in a peculiar situation. Some kids are attending school online, some are in person, and some are a hybrid of both. Regardless of which one applies to you, summer is right around the corner, meaning the kids are going to be home full-time. We love spending time with our little ones, but sometimes, we all need a bit of time for ourselves. Whether we’re tending to work obligations or personal ones, we need to come up with ways to keep our kids occupied so that we can handle whatever it is that we need to handle. This preparation will definitely be worth it, especially for HR professionals, so that your employees can focus on their work and also get some time to themselves.

Assign Big “Adventures”

One way for working parents on your team to buy themselves a few hours is to task their kids with a more long-term project. Try to go with something that’s sure to hold their attention for an extended period of time. Some great examples of this include painting competitions, fort building, and scavenger hunts! Executing these plans will entail some prior preparation on their part, such as acquiring the painting tools or planning out the scavenger hunt. However, this preparation will definitely be worth it while they enjoy a window of peace.

Here are a few helpful resources!

Unleash Their Inner Superstar

Kids thrive off of opportunities to be creative and explore new ideas. Think about suggesting working parents to plan a show where their kids can perform for them! Let their creativity flow. Whether the children sing, put together a little dance routine, or maybe even try their hand at acting, your employees can keep little ones busy while creating an environment that fosters new skills and growth! Be sure that they encourage their artistic decisions, as this can help them immensely in terms of their development. Encouraging kids’ creative side sends the message that they are free to explore their ideas and that trying and failing is perfectly alright.

Here are some tools to help with this!

  • This Karaoke Microphone will elevate a living room performance to a sold out world tour! It has all sorts of voice effects and it even doubles as a bluetooth speaker for the backtrack.
  • Drawing With Carl is a great app that encourages artistic freedom! With this app, kids are sure to reveal their inner Picasso! It even features talking stickers to really bring the artwork home.

Virtual Summer Camp

As COVID-19’s reign of terror persists, tons of operations have moved online, and summer camps are no different. It’s important to keep the young ones’ minds active during the lull of the summer, so consider enrolling them in a virtual program! Camp Wonderopolis is a fantastic option that features interactive STEM and literacy-building topics. They also offer programs that focus on music, construction, and zoology. Here’s the cherry on top – it’s free! Make sure to check them out; the kids are sure to have a blast!

Switch Off With Your Partner For Supervised Activities

If your team members have partners and circumstances allow it, take advantage of that! If they know they’re going to have a hectic work day, suggest asking the partner to entertain the kids so that your employee can take care of their work. Obviously, recommend returning the favor when applicable. This is key for handling activities that require adult supervision, like the following:

Cooking/Baking

Personally, cooking with my Mom was always something I loved to do as a child. Not only was it a ton of fun, but it also equipped me with the basic life skill of cooking and the drive to try new things in the kitchen. She’d tell me about her own cooking experiences with my Grandma and how she was teaching me the same way that she was taught as a child. I loved getting to connect with my Mom and learn more about her life while simultaneously learning about my culture and the food within it. Cooking and baking is a great option to occupy the kids while building your bond with them at the same time.

Here are some resources to check out for kid-friendly cooking!

Candra Reynolds is married to a third-generation grocer, and her blog features tons of recipes that are healthy and kid-approved!

This YouTube channel is fantastic for any kid that wants to try their hand at baking! They specialize in cake and cupcake recipes. With typical weekly posts, your employees will have something new to try with their kids every week!

Park Trip

Here’s an oldie but a goodie! An old fashioned trip to the park or playground is sure to be a blast for the kids every time! Suggest bringing a ball, a frisbee, or whatever the family’s favorite outdoor game is and have a great time! A personal favorite of mine has always been a jump rope! Another advantage of getting the kids out of the house is that it allows the working partner to have some coveted quiet time.

Reading Challenges/Book Lists

For the little bookworms, a certain and worry-free way to occupy them would be to get them to sit down and crack open a book! This option enriches young minds while giving the adults time to deal with their other obligations. For the especially avid readers, consider compiling a summer reading list so that your employees can task their kids with getting through it! Often, schools will assign summer reading separately, but for the kids that don’t have that or simply want to read even more, this is a great option! The Collaborative Summer Library Program offers a children’s program, including book and music lists, craft ideas, learning resources, and more!

Write Letters

Unfortunately, the pandemic is still alive and well. Asking the kids to write letters to friends and family is a fantastic way to hone their penmanship skills while staying connected with loved ones! An additional benefit of this option is that the parents can learn a lot about their kids from their writing. The content of these letters can be very telling in terms of thoughts and emotions that the kids may not be comfortable outwardly expressing. The children get to practice writing and expressing themselves and the guardians get some time to themselves and also gain an opportunity to learn about their kids. It’s a win-win!

Set Up A Playdate

Preface: We recommend this option if and only if both households involved are vaccinated against COVID-19!

As the rollout of the vaccine picks up and more people are getting vaccinated, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re closer to getting back to connecting with our friends and family in the way that we’ve all missed so much over this past year. Your team member may have the option to drop their kid off at a friend’s place and let them socialize while they take care of their business! If both of the households are vaccinated, this is a relatively safe option, according to CDC guidelines.

Embrace the Boredom

When all else fails, it’s not the worst thing to let the little one be bored for a bit. When kids start to feel bored, that’s when their creative and innovative sides really come out, as they find ways to entertain themselves. It’s important to keep an eye on them and make sure they aren’t getting into trouble or doing anything dangerous, but sometimes, boredom leads to innovation! You might be surprised what kids are capable of coming up with. (Back when I was little, I’d go outside and make “Nature Soup” with water from the hose, grass, and whatever weeds I could find. I even added acorns for that gourmet touch!)

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We hope you try some of these suggestions out and that you find them helpful! Remember that the time grown-ups take for themselves is just as important as the time we take for our kids. As we move into summer, we need to remember to make ourselves a priority as well!

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