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7 Ways To Entertain A Toddler When It’s Raining

7 Ways To Entertain A Toddler When It’s Raining

Before my son could walk, he didn’t need a lot of entertaining. I tended to be the one who got bored and so we left the house a lot. The mall. The grocery store. Walks in the park. Wherever I could with colorful things for him to look at – that’s where we’d spend free time.

Now that he’s learned to walk, talk, and express his wealth of opinions, I don’t get to choose as often. He knows what he wants and when he wants it. Should I stand in the way, he’s the first to let me know.

But when the clouds roll in, the sky opens up, and the rain starts to fall, things get more difficult. Not quite able to understand why he can’t go outside in the rain, and more than a little upset about it, it takes more than his blocks and an Elmo board book to make up for the fact that we won’t be going to the playground when a thunder storm is overhead.

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As a result, we’ve developed a checklist of things to try when this happens. While there’s no guarantee any one of these will do the trick, most of the time a little creativity and a whole lot of patience will get us through the bad weather in one relatively happy piece.

Recorded Baseball

We don’t watch a lot of TV, if only because he turns into a unresponsive zombie when it’s on and he rarely asks for it. The one exception to this rule is baseball. I have an MLB.tv subscription to watch my home team Seattle Mariners from across the country and the fact that these games are on throughout most days seems to have made my son a fan. The best part is that the nature of the game makes it an interactive activity. From explaining what is happening on screen to cheering Mariner hits, we have a lot of fun watching clips and games together.

Elaborate Obstacle Courses

What rainy day would be complete without a reconstructed living room? While my son certainly does a good job of this on his own, particularly nasty days bring out the builder in both of us. From blanket forts to race tracks for his growing collection of trucks, we find ways to turn old toys into new activities.

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Remind Him It Is Raining

While it would be foolish to underestimate the stubbornness of a toddler, I do my best to remind him that it is in fact raining outside, explaining why we can’t go in the yard, and even reminding him that, sometimes the rain is dangerous. It works on occasion.

Find an Indoor Playground

Indoor playgrounds are never as good as their outdoor variants, plus they tend to be a little gross. But with sanitizing wipes in tow and expectations in check, we’ll visit the local Children’s Museum, the toy section in Barnes and Noble, or the play areas in our local mall.

Record Short Movies of Him

We take a lot of photos and record movies whenever possible. It’s too easy not to with a smart phone always in hand, so there is a large library of images and videos featuring our son on electronic devices throughout the house. He knows what they are and, better yet, he knows when we’re recording. It makes for some fun exercises in climbing, tower building, and general craziness as he hams it up for the camera.

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Make Something New to Eat

Your mileage may vary with this one. I have been blessed with an exceptionally open minded eater for a son, so we have a lot of fun trying new foods, experimenting with (admittedly questionable) combinations of condiments, and taste tests. Whether he’s offering suggestions while I cook or taste testing the results, this is a fun way to burn an hour or two on a rainy afternoon.

Drop in on a Class He (Might) Be Too Young For

This is less of an issue now than it was 6 months ago when he was technically too young for most of the toddler-focused classes in our area. At the time, though, most classes we found were for children two and up. We’d go anyways, though, and nine times out of ten it was still quite a bit of fun. He enjoys observing older children and had a blast painting, building, and playing with musical instruments.

There are moments when nothing I do or say is enough to compensate for the rain. If a two year old wants to be outside and can’t go, he’s going to make his displeasure known. But with the right combination of distractions, cultivation of activities that don’t require the outdoors, and a willingness to have fun with it myself, we still manage to have fun most of the time.

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Featured photo credit: Purple Rain/Matthias Ripp via flic.kr

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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