Working from home can be a balancing act between your business and personal life, especially if you have children. If your kids are toddlers, you’ll need to rely on partners, family, or childcare providers to keep them away from your Zoom sessions. If they are of school age, you may have some time for yourself and your job during school hours – until the school day is over.
Below are some toys, videos and ideas some of our staff with kids have come up with to keep things a little healthier as you finish your workday.
Keep the kids busy
Esther Cohen, associate director of audience development for The edgesays, “I got one of these rotating desk organizer things and filled it with crayons, markers, crayons, scissors, glue, etc. I also have two trays, one for white paper/construction paper and one to put things in once done I taped it all to the empty dining table The kids would come home, take a shower, and – without me nudging them – attracted to it because it’s laid out for them and so easy. They’re usually there for an hour in process.”
From three years
Emma Merlis, senior director newsroom analytics for Vox Media, is considering investing in a Toniebox. This no-display audio player tells stories and sings songs to your kids when they place one of dozens of different characters—cartoon characters, fairytale princesses, favorite book protagonists—on top of the kid’s speaker. It’s a good idea to keep your child entertained without keeping them glued to a screen as well.
For children aged four to ten years
Jory Ruscio, who was an engineering manager at Vox and is now a senior data platform engineer at Better, said: “We’re a big fan of Osmo games for preschoolers and more. Playing Osmo is a much loved activity for my three children. The physical pieces make for a much more interactive and tactile experience. The games are entertaining and educational. From exploring physics and programming to making pizza and calculating change, the kids will be busy for hours.
Education and entertainment on screen
From two to eight years
Abigail Aronofsky, executive director of corporate marketing at Vox Media, reported two years ago that they were “boarding the ABC mouse train” for their five-year-old, and it was surprisingly good. “The graphics are very 2002, but it kept her busy for about an hour a day.”
For children of preschool age and older
When a parent at Vox Media praised the Disney Plus show bluey, several others agreed to give their praise. This show is about a family of dogs living in Australia: a mother, a father, a four-year-old and a six-year-old. According to Nathan Edwards, editor of reviews at The edgeOne reason the show is so popular is that kids love it and it’s fun for parents too. “bluey is currently our #1 solution,” adds Christopher Grant, group publisher of The edge and polygon. “Blessed, Bluey.”
Another parent favorite (recommended by Nikolas Wise, Vox Media technical manager) is: Near Daniel Tigera modern offshoot of the venerable The Neighborhood of Mr. Rogers. The animated series revolves around Daniel Tiger, who lives near Make Believe with his parents, his friends and their parents. Strategy songs – small songs that explore different feelings and experiences – to help children learn and develop.
For ages six to 12 years
Dan Seifert, deputy editor of reviews for The edgereports: “On paper, there are many things that make the Kids Edition Fire tablets appealing to parents. They all come with a bulky rubber sleeve that makes it easy to hold and hard to break. Should your child break it Amazon offers two years of worry-free protection, and every Kids Edition tablet comes with a subscription to Amazon’s Kids Plus service, which allows parents to control what content is available on it and set time limits on how long children can use the tablet each day. “
“In practice, the tablets are objectively terrible. The interface is confusing, performance is slow and laggy, and battery life leaves a lot to be desired. Those things are all important to me, a professional product reviewer, but for my kids, the Fire tablets we got them a few vacations back are their favorite toys. They use them to play games, watch Spongebob Squarepantsand maybe read a book now and then.”
For the adults
Rugs to make the neighbors happy
Amelia Holowaty Krales, senior photo editor at The edge, suggested it might be a good idea (at least for her) to “order the thickest rugs available so my downstairs neighbors don’t kill me because the kids are doing laps.” I have a good friend who is in exactly that position, and while he loves the kids upstairs, sometimes he wishes they’d run their laps a little later in the morning.
Time management tools
Brooke Lipner, VP of customer service at Vox Media, would appreciate “calendar management to handle everything life throws at you — school stuff, work stuff, sports stuff, family stuff, sleeping stuff.” Unfortunately, while no organizer works for everyone, we can at least offer some help with The edge‘s favorite tools for staying organized.