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Work-at-home moms need their babies and toddlers to have safe spaces for independent play during the workday. That’s not to say you can’t pause, play with them for a few minutes or offer instruction to keep them safe. But the fewer interruptions you have, the more productive you’ll be.
Personally, I have various spaces where I work and my son plays. While my home office is dedicated solely to a workspace, sometimes life demands that I work elsewhere too. The deeper you get into work-at-home motherhood, the more you’ll see this firsthand as well.
Here’s how I create safe spaces for my toddler throughout my home as a work-at-home mom. None of these is a substitute for keeping a close eye on your child and they are not perfect so you should still monitor your child carefully. But these can help you get stuff done.
Baby and toddler safety in cribs and Pack ‘n Plays
Plus, if you spend any time on the phone, you might need a way to encourage quiet time during those calls. I do my best to schedule my phone calls during my son’s naptime. But it isn’t a perfect system and sometimes I have to take phone calls for my marketing business while he is awake. I’ve been so impressed with how well people take it when he makes noise in the background. We’re on a great trajectory toward supporting the work-at-home mom revolution!
But sometimes, I need quiet to focus for a phone call and my son spends 15 minutes in his crib. To an outsider, it might sound like a bad situation for him, but I always make it fun and I know his limits. Beyond 20 minutes, he gets antsy and grumpy so I only use the tactic when I know it will be fast.
I use a few tactics to make time in his crib or a Pack N Play fun.
- Put safe and fun toys with him: My son has a mobile that plays music, has lights and spins. He didn’t enjoy it so much as an infant but surprisingly, it’s become a great tool now in toddlerhood. I also put stuffed animals, blocks and other fun toys in there with him, so he has something to keep him entertained. Until the baby is a year old, be sure to follow safe sleep tactics and guidance on what should and should not be in the crib with them.
- Play music: He absolutely loves music and it tends to make him happy no matter where he is or what’s going on. And of course, I want him to be happy while he plays so I put on music to help.
- Offer toys he doesn’t normally play with: We don’t play in the bedrooms for the most part so toys that are up there are new and fun for him. I keep them separate from daily toys for this very reason. Something “new” can help keep those little ones entertained.
- Keep it short and infrequent: I try not to press my limits or my son’s when it comes to time in the crib. I know once I reach 20 minutes, he’s done and needs a change of scenery. And so, I only use the crib or Pack N Play when I really need to. This helps make it effective and fun when it needs to be.
Of course, once your little one can climb out of the crib or Pack N Play, these tactics are no longer valid because it’s no longer a safe space to leave them.
Baby gates for floors with stairs
On our main floor, we thankfully have a door to the basement stairs but the stairs that go upstairs are wide open. We use a baby gate to keep this floor safe and to keep our son from wandering off in a split second because of course, he’s extremely fast.
We keep another gate in the basement so that we can shake things up a bit and play upstairs and downstairs. A new environment and change of pace can really help keep those little ones entertained and happy.
Home office protection
I love my home office. With an extra monitor, space to spread out and a printer, it makes work more productive and enjoyable. But keeping chords out of my son’s reach is tough. I love this hack to fix the problem. Put a baby gate up in the foot space of your desk and be sure the chords are all behind the gate. You can get a super cheap gate for this purpose.
Additionally, you can hang your power strip on the back of your desk to keep the chords out of sight and out of reach from your little ones to enjoy the productivity a home office provides. Make that power strip easily accessible by just using strips of Velcro on the back of your desk and the back of your power strip.
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