- Diane formed a babysitting coop with some of her friends. The coop has 16 members, and no money changes hands; they use a point system where you earn points by providing childcare for another coop member, and you subtract points from your account when you need someone to keep an eye on your kidlet. Send her a message if you want more details on how her coop works!
- Lylah suggested having on hand a special bag of toys that comes out only when you need to get some work done. Keep it simple -- puzzles, stuffed animals, a few books -- and rotate your stash; the novelty won't wear off so quickly if the kids only see these toys at certain times.
- Naomi gets out the arts and crafts supplies when she needs to work, but cautions that since the kids still need interaction, the projects sometimes only gain her a limited amount of time to herself.
- Genesis takes a proactive approach: Spend some quality one-on-one time with your kids before you need to work, and they're more likely to leave you in peace when you're on deadline.
- Try keeping a stash of special DVDs on hand for when you really need quiet time in which to work. Buy a few inexpensive compilations of your kids favorite shows, and you can stretch the DVD out episode by episode. Books on tape are another great option, one that Sheryl uses a lot (she suggests checking them out of the library).
- If you need peace but can get by without quiet, break out the noisy toys when you need to work. Kids will be thrilled to bang pot lids together instead of being asked to shush.
- Lylah also suggests setting up a workstation for your child, so he or she can "work" while you do. A small desk placed next to yours, with a set of markers and a special, work-only notebook, can keep them busy while letting them feel important and included.
- Another great tip from Genesis, one which her mom used for her little sister: Make a rice box for your toddler to play in. You can tint the rice with food coloring, set it out on a shower curtain to make clean-up easier, and let your child play in it like a sandbox. (The folks at Minti have a great how-to for making your own box, and new Work It, Mom! member and blogger Chris Jordan offers tips on coloring rice over at her In the Trenches of Motherhood blog.)
- Got older kids? This might be the perfect time for a marathon -- a game marathon, that is. "Dance, Dance Revolution" is great for this (plus, it gives them some exercise and keeps cabin fever at bay during a long snow day) but any easy, two-player videogame can work. If you have more than two kids, make the others the referees, and have them take turns going up against the winner of each round.
- Have your kids worked their way through that stack of board games? Have them make their own. A large piece of sturdy cardboard, a few sets of brightly-colored markers, and a stack of unlined index cards are all they really need to get started.
Our members offered some great tips in a thread started by Diane recently, sharing how they manage to get work done when their little kids are up and about and we've gathered their ideas and added a few more quick tips for you here.