Home office with a child

The home office: A work model that many parents wish for in order to reconcile their job and family in a flexible way. Technology has made this possible; many jobs can be done without the need for extra equipment right at home with a laptop, smart phone, and internet connection with your employer's network. At least that's how it works in theory! In reality, working from home can be a challenge for many people - and that's even without children at home! In these times of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic when schools and daycare centres are closed for a long time, children have to be cared for by their parents at home, and a new life and work situation appears, working from home can be a real feat of strength!

So how can you work from home with kids in the house?
The older the children are, the easier it should be to unite job and family under one roof - especially when your partner is also working from home part or all of the time, and you as parents can cover each other's backs and create space for one another. With younger children or for single parents, the challenge can be even bigger! But it really doesn't matter how old the children are. The deciding difference from the "normal situation" is the need to reconcile the kids and the job every day, over many weeks - possibly even months - while not losing one's nerve. In this situation, even older children, especially those in the preschool and primary school ages, will challenge their parents with their inexhaustible thirst for knowledge and action which would normally be satisfied at school together with teachers, caregivers, and social interactions with friends. That's why it's now crucial to have solid structure and good agreements within the family in order to tackle this challenge together!

Tip 3: Work in intervals and stay calm

From the finished daily plans, it should be clear in practise that hours-long blocks of working isn't really suitable for daily routines. Working in intervals is the magic trick here which will make sure that as few needs and tasks fall by the wayside as possible. Communication is important for this: When do I work? When am I reachable for colleagues and supervisors? Depending on the daily or weekly plan in question, it helps to define and communicate set work times. However, especially with younger children, an interruption to a phone or video conference can't necessarily be avoided while working from home. In cases like that, it's important to remain calm, approach the situation with a bit of humour, and thank your work partners for their understanding - many colleagues, supervisors, and business partners will also have kids, and they'll know this balancing act all too well!

Tip 5: Keep kids busy - Ideas for playing, fun & learning!

  • Read Books: Find books to read out loud to your kids. Read to them out loud and talk with them about the story. With older children, you can talk with them about what they can read on their own. Later, have them tell you about what they read. And for the youngest ones, there are interactive wooden books which offer a loving introduction to the topic of reading.

  • Fresh impulses for role-playing A new favourite game: Working just like the grown-ups! Children love to imitate adults, and when you're working from home, they'll have a whole new drive to imitate! In role-playing which is so important for children, they copy adults in everyday situations, and that increasingly includes making phone calls with colleagues and typing on a laptop keyboard. So go ahead and make your kids a "play work station" with a wooden laptop with chalkboard, prepare meals with them, or bake a cake! To that end, children's play kitchens and play stores as well as pretend groceries and accessories offer the perfect utensils to allow kids to let their creativity flow freely while role-playing. But toy doctor kits and workbenches are also popular!

  • Parlour games When playing with parents or siblings, children will train their control behaviour, social skills, problem-solving skills, strategy development, perserverance and concentration. Use this time and play a round of Ludo, Memory, or Dominoes. Connect Four, Tic-Tac-Toethrowing games or logic games like Secret Code and Battleship as well as letters games are also hits!

  • Building and Constructing With Legos, wooden building blocks, wooden building sets, and other materials already found at home, you can build some great creations. Building and constructing also trains technical comprehension, spatial imagination, dexterity, fine motor skills, perception, perseverance and patience. For particularly impressive creations, you can also draw up or write up the construction plans first. That adds a learning effect!

  • Creative tasks and artistic stuff Painting, folding, crafting, sculpting, and threading beads can occupy kids of almost any age for a longer period of time. There's also no limits to imagination with everyday materials such as cans, boxes, string, and newspaper. You can find many crafting and drawing templates as well as other ideas here.

  • Exercise and fresh air Kids need exercise! Outings in nature or in the garden at home provide an opportunity for exercise, sporty and playful activities, and even observing plants and animals are great ideas! Going outside together, riding balance bikes, playing Active games in the garden, using small gardening tools and garden bags, and using shovels and other tools are what kids are having fun with now. By observing and exploring what's around them, their hunger for knowledge will be satisfied - and whatever they don't recognise can be photographed and researched in books or during electronic media time. Whoever wants to move from the garden or yard into the house is also well-equipped with an indoor Vegetable Garden Play Set.

  • Use electronic media time wisely Parents' special situation currently means that children's focus will shift back towards electronic media, and that established rules will likely need rethinking. Thankfully, there are plenty of interesting films for children about nature, geography and life in other countries and cultures available on the television and internet which can expand their worldview.

Tip 6: This is how to make learning and homework work!

Parents of children who must attend school are currently presented with a special challenge. In addition to their own work from home, they're now also the educators of their own children and therefore the first point of contact for all questions regarding their studies and homework. Older students are often getting digital assignments from school while parents of primary schoolers get suggestions and tips for schoolbooks, notebooks and preexisting work plans. But what can you do when nothing more is sent by the school, or when the assignments are finished? That's when learning games such as those in the Educate series like the Maths Tiles, Scrabble-like games and 1x1 Trainers become sensible activities for children with which they can always learn something. It's important to realise that parents do not have to be the replacement for school lessons at home!

Tip 7: Don't lose sight of your own well-being!

It's very important that you and your family see the good side of their situation and always try to remain positive despite the double burden of the home office and taking care of the kids! Each parent should also be sure to invest time in themselves - enough energy and one's own well-being will stabilise the entire family. Big challenges often conceal great chances! Small foot wishes you a good time at home!

at small foot since

Lena, Marketing Manager

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2 Children, A girl (5 years), and a boy (2 years)
Why do you like working for small foot?
I like the informal, personal atmosphere. The individual departments work together like big gears and use teamwork to create a wide range of high-quality products which have been accompanying children for now over 30 years.
What's something you particularly like about small foot toys?
The focus on wood as a material, the loving details (e.g. the graffiti on product 11377 (Freight Train Station with Accessories), the exclusive designs.
What is your favorite small foot toy?
The Houses of Locks! Kids loves keys, and their first attempts to open different kinds of locks playfully trains their fine motor skills. I'm impressed by the high level of long-lasting playtime value and the possbility to lock up little treasures!

After the birth of my first baby, I placed a lot of value on sustainable materials. The wooden Balls of Fun Rattle unites two things: sustainable material and a child-friendly baby toy. The noises that the rattle makes really made my baby grin and laugh. I especially like the fact that the rattle fit well in the hand and is saliva-proof. In their first months, babies really like putting toys in their mouths and experiencing them with all their senses.