As a mum with young children at home, there are times when I have to make a quick phone call. Whether it’s to query a bill or make a doctor’s appointment, sometimes I can’t wait till nap time to make that important call.
It always seems the way that even when the kids are mildly entertained by the TV and you sneak in a call, that is the moment when all of a sudden your toddler desperately needs you! The key to engaging kids long enough for call or two is to be organised with a few tricks up your sleeve. Below are 5 ways to keep your kids occupied while you make a quick phone call.
Food is one of the best distractions for my kids. Whether it’s breakfast, morning tea or lunch – or neither – just a distraction snack – it will keep the kids occupied temporarily while you make your call. Rather than offer a sugary sweet treat (which I have done before and the kids retrieved a full bag of Freddos and inhaled the entire contents!) offer something healthy they will eat or a newly baked treat that you’ve spent the morning making together.
2. Water paint books
My girls LOVE to paint, but there is NO WAY I would let them paint without my full attention. A magical water paint book means the mess is contained and I can have a few moments of quiet while I make my call. You can find these sorts of Paint With Water books from places like BIG W and Kmart.
3. A box of unusual items
For my toddlers, I have a box of unusual items in the cupboard I can get out for those moments where I need a little time, and they can unpack the box for sensory play. For my older kids, it’s a box of craft items. Kids LOVE to unpack cupboards, so giving them a box to unpack and create a mess with is a win. For smaller tots, it can even be a box filled with plastic bowls and cups. (Although the mess is not so great to clean up afterwards!)
4. Sensory books that make sounds
Interactive products, like books that make sound, can be a great way to engage my kids so I get those 5 minutes on the phone. I would mention here that sometimes this idea can backfire if the children want the story read to them. Alternatively play CD storybooks so your child can follow the story along.
5. Pour out a big tub of Lego
This tip is not my own, but one I read from Retro Mummy and it definitely works a treat. Pouring out the Duplo and creating a scene for imaginary play can keep kids occupied without mummy’s input.
These are 5 tips that work for me. If you know your phone call is going to be long, or you’ll be put on hold for a while (hi Centrelink), I’d attempt to make the call during your kids’ nap time.
How do you distract your young kids to make a phone call? Have any tips you can share with other mums?