Need Ideas for Keeping My 4 Year Old Occupied While I Work

Updated on January 09, 2013
A.N. asks from Saint George, UT
40 answers

I work from home and lately have had a huge amount of work, and it looks like it will be that way for a while. My son goes to preschool twice a week for 2.5 hours, but that is really the only time he is gone. My husband just started school, and he also works from home sometimes, but he is going to be pretty busy and not able to help out much. My 4 year old is around the rest of the time, and he often bugs me. He does sometimes play with his toys (especially if I ask him to build me something specific), he draws a lot, and plays computer games sometimes as well, but I think he is fried on all of these. He does end up watching tv if I have a meeting or really need to get something done immediately, but I want to use that less.

Any tips or ideas of things I can set him up to do on his own? I don't want to have to take a lot of time to setup, and I want to find things that hold his interest for more than a few minutes. Thanks in advance.

Edit - I should have mentioned that we do play dates at least twice a week (with different people), and I do things with him during the day. I don't work full time, I normally only work 15 hours a week, and am currently around 30 hours a week. It will just be this way for a month or two, otherwise I would look into something more permanent, but this is temporary and I just need something to keep him occupied a little better. He is normally pretty good, and I have been doing this for four years now (sometimes working 60 hours a week), so I know this can be done.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Wow, most of you are incredibly negative, and your children must not know how to do anything for an hour or two by themselves, since you suggested that my son cannot as well. I must have a pretty special kid, although I thought this was pretty usual at this age. We normally do at least one active thing with others a day (like the park or preschool), he just needed some things to keep him busy for a few hours a day.

Thanks to the few who actually had some good suggestions and answered my questions rather than berating me. I am going to give him specific ideas on things to play as suggested, I tried that with trains after posting this, and he spent about an hour on that, and then moved to drawing on his chalkboard for another hour. That is just what I needed. We were both happy, and he had a great time with a toy he rarely plays with. I only need him occupied for a few hours a day, and throughout the day, not all at once.

Edit - It shouldn't really matter how many hours, that had nothing to do with the question. I did say above in that I just need a few (as in 3 or 4) a day, and they are split up, as we do things together the rest of the time. I often work late into the night while my husband watches him, and on the weekends, because I can't work more than a few hours during the day when he is with me. I am a web designer and can set my own hours, as long as I get my projects done on time. Last week I even worked 11.5 hours one day, and was still able to take him on a play date with a friend of his, as well as play with him for at home for a while (my husband watched him the rest of the time). I should not need to tell you all that though, that really has nothing to do with the question, I wanted tips on keeping my son engaged in things so he wasn't coming to me every 10 minutes. I wasn't having a tantrum, may of you assumed things I never said, and were incredibly rude about how I raise my child (you know what they say about people who assume). Others actually answered my question and were helpful, without lecturing. My son spends more time with both me and his father than most kids do, and we often play and build with him, as well as travel and do all kinds of outdoors activities with him, and he is one of the friendliest and sweetest kids many people have seen, we do get comments about him from strangers, but I shouldn't need to tell you all of that for some simple tips.

Thank you for the helpful tips, they were great. I have already created a list of ideas for him to do (based on the ideas mentioned and things he hasn't played with in a while), and will choose a few a day and set up a schedule. He would probably do better on a schedule anyway.

Featured Answers


answers from Dallas on

There is no way I could do my job efficiently while trying to entertain a little one plus its so unfair to the child .

Gees how can you expect a 4 yr old act like an adult and be quiet while you work.

This child needs stimulation from active play, involvement with adults and children.

Please do something to help this child socially because he dies not need to be corralled all day with activities while you work.

Balance things out.... He's a sponge and he needs involvement not things to keep him busy while you work.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Try something like jelly beans that he can fill in a huge jar or several small jars that he can seperate into one jar for blue, green, red etc.

I think that some of the mamas were harsh when you were just being trustful and honestly overwhelmed.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

A favorite activity of my son was take shaving cream or even puddingand let him paint in it. If you don't mind a little messy play! Or fruit/veggie stamps. You can buy some contact paper and let him tear and stick paper to it. And ignore the negitive comments! You have to work there's nothing wrong with that!

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

Unfortunately, a 4 year old NEEDS parental interaction, to see other people and get out...not just be occupied inside. He will get bored no matter how many toys you put in front of him, or busy things you give him. He needs interaction. In that way, he is NOT bugging you, but being a 4 year old. Expecting a four year old to do one thing for a long time, is not an age appropriate expectation.

I don't really have advice, because I think you are expecting a little too much. I would look into a babysitter who can get hm out of the house every once and a while. If he's at home all day every M-F week day, except 5 hours...he will have a lot of energy and crave a lot of interaction. I don't think what you desire is very realistic.

ETA: My son actually CAN and DOES play alone and keep himself occupied very well. We don't entertain him all the time. The difference is, I would never EXPECT him to, so I can get hours of work done. I don't EXPECT him to at the exact moment I need him to, at the drop of a hat. That's unfair to him. He can't turn it on and off. He's not a robot, he doesn't come with a switch.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I worked from home.
It is impossible to keep a young child occupied continuously.
I suggest having him go to Preschool everyday.

My Husband also went to school as well and also had a job.
He, had to study 7 days a week day and night, in addition to going to work. Keeping up grades and GPA and projects/homework is continuous. I was like a Single Parent, for all the years he went to school.
I know how hard it is, for both spouses when 1 parent is in school.

I really suggest, at your son's age, having him in Preschool everyday.
At this age, they need more stimulation and interaction... and it will also prep him for Kindergarten.
Kids at t his age are not fully independent no matter how good the child is.
They need interaction.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I used to work part time from home and found that my GD was sitting around bored while I worked. She was in school, so it was only a couple of hours a day, but after just a couple of days, I felt guilty leaving her alone while I worked i my home office. I say that to say that I just don't know how you can do this.

I suggest putting him in preschool on a full time basis, maybe just half days. That way at least he gets a little fun time during the day. Working 15 hours per week is okay; that's only 3 hours per day. But 30 hours per week is getting more like full time and I just don't know how you can do that with him at home, unless he naps and you work during that time and then again at night after he's in bed.

I really have no suggestions for occupying a 4 year old by himself for that many hours. Can you hire a mother's helper to come in the afternoons?

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Your son "often bugs" you? Wow, poor kid :( I'm so sorry, but your workload is far too much to do with a child that young... yes, I get that you've done it with more hours, but he is paying the price - please look into childcare for him, the price he pays is far more than dollars and cents.

Eta: I assure you that all of my children are capable of entertaining themselves for a few hours at a time when needed, however, I don't think it's reasonable to expect or ask of a child to entertain his/herself 5 to 6 hours a day 5 days a week, sorry, we don't agree. Kids need to learn and experience, not simply be kept busy and out of their parents hair...

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Can he go to preschool more often, or can you hire someone to come in for a few hours a day to help keep him busy and engaged, take him out to the park or whatever, while you work? I think it's fine for kids to be on their own and entertain themselves for periods of time but it sounds like a pretty lonely and boring situation for him as it is now. He really needs social interaction at this age.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

ETA: I'm not being negative, I lived this situation? Berating you? Hardly. I'm hoping you can learn from those who didn't dilute our efforts for either work or being a mom. Best case scenario you are hoping play dough, Legos and puzzles entertain him for five hours per week, now it is 25 hours more than that (and has been worse in the past). Is it work you can do when he is sleeping? You can't be as efficient at working with all the starts and stops with a 0 - 4 year old...that takes time away from him in the end.

I have always had a home based office because I am a remote sales employee for companies based typically on the east coast ( I am in CA). It has been this way since before my daughter was born 19 years ago.

I always had child care lined up because this is my job!

Your son needs someone to take care of him and you need to work.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

When you work from home, it's just like working at the office without the commute.
You can't watch your child and work at the same time.
If you're watching your child, then you are slacking off at work.
If you are working, then you're not paying attention to your child.
You need a baby sitter or day care or you could send him to preschool 4 or 5 days a week.
There's nothing negative about it.
It's just the facts of juggling a job and childcare.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

1. Does he like reading? I check out audio CDs and books in the kids section of the library for my child to use on his own. We got him a small CD player he can use on his own. He puts in the CD and reads along with the book. It occupies him for awhile, especially if the stories are interesting. I prefer this versus a video.

2. Another idea is projects with kid proof scissors. You can develop his fine motor skills by having him cut out pictures from magazines or cutouts from craft kits.

3. Building Toys.

A. Legos. If you have an old train table or small kids table, you can have him build legos on it.

B. If you worried about little parts, Fisher Price TRIO blocks are fun, too.

C. Tinkertoys is also a fun building toy.

4. "Writing" Practice. I print out sheets of dotted letters (capital or lowercase) and have him trace letters for a reward (i.e. cookie, stickers, whatever prize he might like). This is good for his fine motor skills, too.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Ally G had same great advice.

My kids are 7, 6 and 4 (boy boy girl) and I expect them to entertain themselves a majority of the time that they are home... and I am a full time SAHM. We do a lot of things together like board games, puzzles, cooking, baking, shopping, day trips to the zoo, etc. I'll never feel bad for having them entertain themselves, I look at it as a life skill.

I second the playdough advice. My kids can easily entertain themselves for an hour with it.

New coloring books and special markers/pens or pencils is a great one too. My 6 and 4 year olds both love dot to dot's - so they spend a lot of time on those.

Lego's are fantastic, so are other building toys like Zoob, K'nex, even good old Lincoln Logs are great. My son likes to build buildings, then spends an hour playing with matchboxes.

Perhaps if you scheduled time to spending getting something set up (like playdough, or setting up a Thomas the Train track or building log houses) then helped him get started on his play and set a timer for him for x amount of time it would help.

There are neat timers called "Time Timers" that help kids visualize time - maybe that would help too so he could see how much time was left before you could play with him again.

My kids also LOVE the books on CD from our local library. I usually max out my library card on a trip through... we get all kinds of new books plus at least 6 or 8 books that come with a CD so they can listen and turn the pages without me. These are great for me when I'm making dinner, I imagine it would work for you during work hours too. We try to go to the library every week.

Good luck!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

boxes!!!! Go to local gro stores and get lots of boxes! He can build with them and draw on them with crayon (yes, marker is more fun, but also more destructive if left unchecked). And make his own fort!!!
Another fav game was to make cut out paper or cardboard fish and sea creatures and attach a paper clip to them. Then create a "fishing pole" stick with a string and a magnet on the end. The he can "fish" because the magnet attracks to the paper clip!

and Yes, 4 yr old should be able to occupy themselves!!!! they're not 2!!!!!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I would get a nanny or other childcare. I don't think you can do both your job and take care of a child at the same time without short changing both of them.

ETA: I don't see any suggestions that are mean.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ETA: Sorry - I have kids that can occupy themselves as well. I really do. However, when I am getting PAID to do a job - I am WORKING.

You want ideas on what to do with your child? I gave them to you - put him in daycare so he can interact with other children and let you EFFICIENTLY and EFFECTIVELY do your job!!! You don't like that idea? sorry. Now that my kids are 10 & 12 - I can expect them to "entertain" themselves. However, they are in school while I am working.

Sorry - you are WORKING!!!! I work from home as well. My kids went to day care EVEN WHEN I WORKED FROM HOME.

Find a nanny or a day care. You are working. I know it's GREAT working from home, however, he's 4 years old. he needs things to do and people to see.

Good luck!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Eau Claire on

Am really surprised at some of the comments and that more people didn't sympathize with being a working mom. It's not like your telling him to get lost so you can watch're trying to work at home to support your son so you CAN spend more time with him. Some people. Anyway...

My suggestion is to create a schedule that you actually write down (or print, etc) somewhere where he can see it. Schedule 30 minute activity suggestions...make sure to schedule in food and bathroom breaks if needed. If you really want to get fancy, you can have him put a sticker next to the activity each day as he completes the activity. Can also use a timer (and show him how to set it) so he know when to switch. Or draw a clock and use it as an opportunity to teach how to tell time as well.
Most kids love structure so they don't get the "I'm Bored" syndrome.

Don't forget that screen time is OK in moderation. But as you said..may want to save it for when you REALLY need it :)

Congrats on trying to find creative ways to help your son develop while you work to help support your family!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Yeah, some moms can be harsh. There are some out there that think if you can't give your child attention 24/7 then you are a bad mom. What they don't understand is some moms have other commitments like work and school, and the small minded moms' brains are too small to realize you are making sacrifices now in order to have quality time with your kids later on. Pay no attention to them.

When my son was that age, Playdoh kept him busy for at least an hour. I bought those little containers and let him pick 2 colors at a time. I gave him a bag of toothpicks and different size popsicle sticks and let him create whatever he wanted. When he was done, I would just throw out the playdoh if the colors were too mixed. I did try those Playdoh factories (breakfast factory, Transformer factory, ice cream etc etc) but they never held his interest as long as just free play.

Building toys were my savior. We invested in huge buckets of Legos, Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs. He was able to pick a different bucket each day to play with. I would also divide his toys into 5 different buckets and each day let him play with a different set of toys M-F. That way, he will learn to play with the toys he has for that day, and be excited to play with different toys the next.

Try those interactive toys too, like a Leappad. My son had a little computer that had different learning games on it (it looked like a regular computer and even had a built in mouse) that you open and close. Again, let him play on it for a set amount of time so he won't get bored with it if he can play on it whenever he wants.

There is nothing wrong with reading either. Even at 4, there are plenty of books with pictures he can look at. They have graphic comic books for that Boxcar Children. Check out books at the library like books on robots, animals, science experiments, cars, how things work - any picture books on subjects he might be interested in. Have him look at those for 20-30 mins. Books on tape might help entertain him too.

Keep a schedule for him on those days he has to entertain himself. Keep each activity for 30 mins at a time and make sure to leave enough room for set up/clean up. That way will only be interrupted (if all goes well) every 30 mins instead of every 5.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Poor little guy. Hopefully your work load will decrease soon. At his age he needs to be interacting with you a lot - playing with you, being read to, helping do chores alongside you, taken on nature outings, etc. Is there any way to sacrifice some night time? By that I mean stay up late and work at night while he sleeps? Also if he doesn't nap, you could initiate some quiet time every afternoon and work then, as well. Also when Daddy is available you could take advantage of that. Then hopefully the rest of the time you'll be able to spend with him. But if you still need more time then maybe get a dozen boxes and fill each one with a special activity. You could switch these out weekly. You could put in things like a puzzle, playdough with cookie cutters, paints, little cars with a baggy of flour you could spread on a cookie sheet and let him drive through, stickers, freeze little toys in a bowl of water and give him tools to break them free, a felt set, a box full of rice or beans with little toys hidden inside for him to dig out, a new building set, etc. If you google various home made preschool activities I'm sure you'll find even more fun ideas. Good luck and hopefully your situation improves soon. :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

my son at the age of 4 started to work on legos. not duplos but the real legos. maybe getting him some sets and teaching him how to follow directions and have an end result. i do understand how it is to try to find things to occupy his time isn't always easy. is there anyway the you could arrange a play date for him at a friends house????

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I also work from home. When my kids were little like yours, I was limited to very short amounts of time during the day, doing most of my work at night and weekends when my husband was home to take over. However, my schedule is more flexible than yours, from what you describe.

It sounds like you need a mother's helper - a part-time nanny-type sitter that is home when you are, that plays with your child and does minor things like making his lunch - so that you can work undisturbed. Does your husband go to school at a local university? Have him check in the education department for listings of students in early childcare that would like this kind of work.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

What type of work do you do and is there anything he could help you with? Don't laugh, I have always worked from home, as did my parents. At age four, I was able to stamp and seal envelopes when Mom sent out invoices and checks, dust the office furniture, make a simple peanut butter sandwich type lunch. I could sit for hours trying to learn to tie my shoes, playing with my dolls, making sand castles in the sandbox, etc. With my son, he liked to play with legos, trains, and puzzles. Do you have a pet he can entertain?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

These toys are great at keeping kids' attention for awhile. They also increase your child's IQ at the same time.

Oh, and much better than Play Doh is modeling clay. It's "harder" to work with, doesn't crumble and doesn't dry out. So much cleaner than Play Doh!!!!! Give him the same kinds of tools you'd use with Play Doh.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Allyson, don't get upset at the mamas who were negative--I am more concerned that other mamas gave them flowers for being mean! That is much worse!

Maybe you don't have the money for daycare. Wow. How insensitive of fellow mamas.

I understand your dilemma. Maybe you can rent videos/dvds from the library and ONLY show them during your work hours. Otherwise he will tire of them.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

There is a mother that I am friends with who does a lot of "networking meetings" since she has her own business and a child who is not in school yet.
They do a TON of kid swaps.
Would you be comfortable with that? Some days have your son go to someone else's house so you can schedule meetings and whatnot when he is not there and then some days have a kid to your house so his mama could do meetings and whatnot.
Also, is it possible for you to get up earlier to get in the 30 hours or stay up later?
Other than that, I got nothing. My kids never played by themselves no matter how much I encouraged it! And believe me....I tried! The fact that your son is able to do it for an hour at a time must be a dream.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I think the issue here is you are vague on how many hours he is alone each day. You keep saying you work 30 hours and you need him occupied alone for a few hours each day. You don't mention how many hours. At one point you criticize others for having kids that can't occupy themselves for an hour or so each day and another point you say you need him occupied for a few hours a day. There is a big difference in 1-2 hours and a "a few". Many here are assuming with the "30 hours" that you need him occupied 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. He may indeed be trained to be capable of this, but I think most are under the opinion that being alone for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, might be a bit excessive for a four year old. (Even if it is split up.) Children that age need and deserve more interaction than that. I have a 4 year old and I just can't see her being completely alone for that many hours a day. I'd say she plays alone for maybe a couple of hours total each day (broken up throughout the day - but she has older siblings, so she doesn't have to play alone any more than that and many days it is less.) But even then she is coming to me every 15 or 20 minutes to show me something or tell me something that she is excited about. And I love that she wants to include me in her little world - as I'm sure you love that about your son, as well. We play together every day, read stories, and I include her in household chores and we chat as she helps me fold laundry or put dishes in the dishwasher. The thing is, being a mommy IS a full time job, as I'm sure you know, and so when you make it sound like you need him occupied alone for 5-6 hours a day, of course everyone is going to express concern. Most parents who work 30 hours a week have a nanny or babysitter or childcare of some sort to take over the "mommy" duties while they are unable. But it sounds like this is temporary, which is great, because if it was long term, I think it may not be the best situation. Of course you are doing your best to provide for your child and we all understand that. It was just unclear - and still is - how many hours you are talking about. And you said sometimes you work 60 hours a week? That would be 10 hours a day - assuming you take Sundays off. Does he entertain himself that long each day during those times? (Because you kind of make it sound like he does.) Hope you can get back normal soon. It sounds like you've gotten some great ideas. :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Maybe you could securely fence an area of your yard, right outside the window where you work, and have him be outside. Maybe a little swingset, sand pile and some dirt to dig in. My 4 year old will play outside for hours. You can get chain link pretty cheap, and a 10X10 area will be big enough for him to run a bit and play. My daughter would bug me the whole time if I worked from home _ I just simply wouldn't be able to do it with her, she is a cling on.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

As a teacher, I attempt to work at home, but alas, I am easily distracted. When my daughter was an infant, I had a "mother's helper," or a pre-teen come and care for DD while I worked. Now that DD is older, I prefer to leave the house/stay at school late to finish work. If I am desperate, I will put in a movie. While DD can entertain herself, and she has no siblings to help, with drawings, boxes, games, truly, she wants time with me. She will interrupt often. I am not able to be interrupted and then return to the same train of thought that I had before being interrupted. Due to that, at the very least, I would hire a sitter to be a companion to your child while you work. That person will need a day off for band concerts, being sick, and going on Spring Break often enough that you can experience moments when you resort to getting your child involved in an activity and then getting your work done.

And if your child can help once in a while, go for it. At the very least, your child will likely want to mimic what you are doing, and thus learn to do your type of work. At some point, your child will want to help just so that he or she can spend time with you.

Best of luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I've had everything for my kids. Honestly, the one thing that has occupied my kids is a movie and the iPad. There are drawing games, learning games, games for games... But games in general keeps my boys occupied. And somehow watching a movie on my phone or iPad captivates them more than on the TV. My girls can play dolls and color and pretend but the boys, not so. I guess if it's not permanent, I really agree with the boxes idea. Honestly, boxes... greatest thing ever. Also try marshmallow fondant. Fun to play with like play doh and edible where you won't gag seeing your kids eat it. My kids like that too.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm confused by the poster below me.

I used to work part-time from home. Kids can learn to do things independently for short stretches of time. My 24-year-old didn't suffer much from it. She seems pretty normal today.

There were some good suggestions on here, which proves that people CAN give some good suggestions when they WANT to.

The poster below thinks the mom has been doing it for 4 years so she should know what to do and shouldn't be asking the question. Also, she pointed out she should ask her girlfriends. My confusion stems from this... What the hell is this site for if moms can't ask questions and should instead just run from girlfriend to girlfriend for answers?

There really WERE some snarky answers and she didn't deserve that.

Added: Her SWH was a tantrum? Really? Maybe I DO need reading comprehension classes, or maybe some better glasses. Wow. A second account of the OP... meaning original poster? Huh? I've been on here for years honey, and I've been known to give a snarky answer a time or two, but only when it was deserved. Thank you for the flower.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

I haven't read the other responses so forgive me if I sound like a broken record. I have a 5 year old girl with me while I work at home. She loves it when she can get on or and play games. She is also really into coloring and drawing. You might check out and get some preschool worksheets that he can do as well. Mine also likes to read and look at books. You might go to your library and grab a bunch of books and videos for him to watch. Could a relative take him for a day for a change for him?

You might invite a friend over for the day. My daughter had a friend over the other day & I got a TON done. Yikes, there are some negative comments. So sorry!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Find another mom with a similar age child and switch on and off, so sometimes he has a friend over and they can play together and sometimes you have the house to yourself!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My daughter attends daycare, but last fall she was sick during finals week, so she was around while I had to study.
I found that keeping them occupied works best when you schedule 30 minute intervals of activities and regularly schedule breaks for yourself in which you interact with your child. Actually pick the activity instead of just telling them to go find a toy or making a "suggestion".
Many activities I end up getting more than 30 minutes out of because DD gets engrossed in them (for example play dough).
I also allow TV or computer games in 30 minute intervals (just enough for one episode of most kids shows) throughout the day.

This worked well for a week or two but I will have to agree with wild one if this is a regular thing I would have a hard time keeping DD occupied like that and not have her bored out of her mind.
I would find a preschool option with more hours for him (like 4 hours a day, 5 days a week) or hire a sitter, or even both!

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Set up a whole station full of stuff for him. You could do :

Coloring, crayons
sissors with construction paper
watercolor pad with paper to paint
beadwork, felt , etc

Cooking station--food or snacks that he can make himself-cheese and crackers, fruit etc.
car racetrack with matchbox cars

I hope this helps---4 year olds love to help or have jobs to do so if you need him to get paper or a fax etc for you, send him!

Then take half his toys that he doesn't play with, put them away for 6 months. Then switch after 6 months and it will be new again.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Get him out early to the park before work. Let him run around like crazy get that energy out. Or take him outside to the back of your place same thing. That way when he goes inside and has to sit still and color etc he atleast had his energy worked on.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I don't know if this has been suggested, but you might box up some of his extra toys and set them aside. Then, every couple of weeks, pull them out and put some of his others away. That won't necessarily mean he'll play with them a lot, but if he hasn't played with them in a while, they will seem "newer" and possibly hold his interest longer.

The other thing I suggest, which is not exactly the same as having him do his own thing in your home.... but if you're pretty comfortable with the other moms you do playdates with, see if you can do child-watching swaps -- they watch him while you have a meeting, and then, you can watch theirs when they have an appointment or whatever.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Puzzles. Also, if my kids invite a friend over to play they are out of my hair for a couple of hours.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I second the puzzles suggestion! It has been a lifesaver for me and it's so great at teaching problem-solving. Get different kinds and let him pick them out. Keep them in ziploc bags so pieces dont get lost and he'll feel independent picking out the ones he wants to do and being able to put them away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Puzzles, playdough, water painting, leggos, bubbles..., but I also suggest like the others to take him to the library or park in the morning and let him run around and burn some energy. Maybe another day in preschool will help, or hiring a babysitter a few hours a day will help too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Sometimes I get my DD's little table and set her up with bendaroos or playdough. Today she was sick, so she watched TV and did cut and glue crafts. I take breaks to simply go outside and play on our swingset and I sometimes trade kid care with other SAH/WAH parents. If your schedule and budget permit, can you increase his time in preschool? My DD goes mornings 5 days a week. Also, can you work before he's up and after he goes to bed? One of my coworkers works before her daughter gets up and then again when she's in bed. I would look for ways to incorporate him into your day (or your work into his). You might also consider hiring an older child, maybe a middle or HS student, to play with him in the afternoons some of the time, in house, while you are still around working.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I haven't read all of the responses, but so sorry people are so rude on here & give you advice on things you didn't ask for! Maybe they are perfect & have nothing better to do!
These are things my 4 yr old loves to do:
Use her art easel
Practice writing her name, letters & numbers
Color paint
Water table outside
She loves helping me fold laundry, that keeps her busy
But I end up needing to refold it but its fun for her
Board games
These are a few

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions