My daughter is an only child and so she often gets lonely. She looks to me to play with her. Now, I don’t mind playing with daughter but I currently work full time as a nurse. When I get off, I start working on my side hustle as a freelance writer. And my daughter doesn’t really understand that when I get off work, I start work again.
As a mother, it makes me feel really sad. I hate for my daughter to even consider for one second that I’m neglecting her. It’s just that I need to devote my time to getting established so that I can spend more time playing with her. She’s only 8 years old so it’s a hard concept for her understand why I can’t devote my time her after being away from her all day.
After being on a guilt trip all day, I decided that I needed to have something for my daughter to while I worked. Something that made her feel like I wasn’t neglecting her but at the same time kept her occupied long enough for me to get something done. Hmm….
I came up with quite a few ideas!
- Reading Time – Sometimes, I just need my daughter to shut up for an hour. Thankfully, she’s reading chapter books. Since the library is usually closed by the time I get off work, we make use of Books-of-a-Million. Either I’ll buy a book from there for her to read or I’ll make use of their wi-fi and just let her go over into the kid section and entertain herself. And usually, there are other kids there so she gets to make friends too!
- The Park – The sun is my best friend. I love to take my daughter to the park and let her run wild under the sun. She gets to play with other kids and wear herself out. Plus, I get to work! Our park has free wi-fi, so I get bring my tablet and work while she plays. Plus, it’s great exercise for her! Not only that, but after she’s bathed and fed, my daughter falls asleep just as soon as her head hits the pillow. Oh yeah – then I get some much deserved me time.
- Sleep – According to the National Sleep Foundation, elementary aged children need on average anywhere from 9-11 hours of sleep. With that being said, I put my daughter in the bed at 6pm and she’s sleep by 7pm. So that gives me a bit of time during the night to work. That might seem a bit early to some parents but I wake my daughter at 6am. So, really, I’m ensuring she gets a good night rest while getting in at least two hours of work before it gets too late for me.
- Treasure Hunts – Ok, some days you can’t get out. That’s why I’ve devised a treasure hunt. I take something and hide it in the house. Then I create clues for her to follow. If she follows all the clues, she finds the treasure. This is good at keeping my daughter entertained.
- Legos – I think that Legos are unnecessarily expensive. But I buy them religiously. Why? Because they keep my daughter quiet and entertained for hours at a time. She works diligently creating buildings and towns. She follows the instructions in the books and actually creates some amazing things. I’m usually impressed by her end result. Books-a-million also carried a book that contained ideas for creating other neat stuff besides the ideas in the manual. I bought the book for her and she loved it. I actually had to go check on her because she was super quiet. But there she was, quiet as a church mouse, working on her Legos. I do not regret the money spent on Legos – until I roll over in bed and find myself laying on one.
- Art Projects – Kids love to be messy. I don’t know why but if it’s messy they love it. That’s why I invest Crayola products. I spread an old sheet out on the floor and give her different art projects to work on. I just let her go at it. She knows not to get off the blanket until she’s done with her projects. I let her go wild with washable paints, crayons, color pencils, and markers. I give her glitter and glue and tell her it’s okay to get messy. She stays occupied for hours which I love.
- Bath Time – I also buy bubbles and bath paints. I run a tub full of warm water filled with bubbles and give my daughter bath paint. She stays in the tub for at least an hour playing. And you have no idea how much I enjoy that hour of not being bothered.
- Friends – I don’t have any family that I can really rely on to take care of my daughter for me. And I’m always iffy about leaving her people even if they are my friends. But I do have one person that I completely trust. When I’m desperate, I ask her to keep my daughter for a few hours. It works out good. My friend has a dog that my daughter enjoys playing with and she likes playing “big sister” to my friend’s toddler.
I know it can be tricky finding time to work with children, especially for single mothers without a support system, but it can be done. We just have to come up with neat, creative ways to do so.
Leave a comment and let me know what you do to keep your children entertained while you work. I’m always in need of more ideas!