No one really likes to bring the kids to the office (unless it has a great daycare center). Officemates may not find them as cute as we do. Besides, our own kids even can annoy even us especially when they insist on a "picnic" in the middle of the office hallway. But there are times when we have no choice but to bring them to our workplace. With summer break, the chances are even higher. It's best to be prepared. Check out how the working parents below keep their productivity--and sanity--intact when they bring their kids to work.
1. Give your child a tour of the office. Show him the essentials: your work area, the washroom, and the pantry. Introduce him to your officemates because, at some point, you will need their help. "I have an officemate who absolutely adores kids, and he kept my son entertained while I was in a quick meeting," shares mom-of-two Joyce Rodas. Also, introduce your kids to the guard or helpers at your office, so they’d know that the little human is yours in case he gets lost in the corridors.
2. Designate an area where he can play. Do a role-play. Tell him that that particular area is his office for the day, and, as respect to his fellow office workers, he needs to keep his voice down and avoid running or making a mess. Dino Legaspi, dad to Rowan, 5, says it works every time. "I tell my daughter that she's my helper, so I give her a desk and assign her small tasks to accomplish--and she loves it."
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3. Bring loads of distractions to keep him busy Don't bring them all out at once, though. Pace the introduction of a new toy so he or she won't get bored easily. Throw in some puzzles, drawing materials, and toys to keep him busy. Make sure that the toys you bring are compact (no small parts that can get lost) and low-key (no noisy or flashy electronics!). "I also bring a few new trinkets that'll keep him busy for a good two hours,” says Sue Espiritu, bank account executive and mom of two.
4. Keep their tummies full A delightful snack is key to keeping a child happy and content. Pack several with you so you don't get tempted to buy him sweets from the convenience store. Then, at the end of the day, give him a reward. "We don't normally go for fast food when we dine out. But when there's really no other option left for me, we go to McDonalds or Jollibee for lunch and get a new toy," says BPO employee and mom-of-two Maan Jose.
5. Use screens sparingly. "I make sure my iPhone is fully loaded, and I let him watch his favorite cartoons. It's a desperate measure, but it works," says Reyna Garcia, a physical therapist and mom of two. Yes, there's no denying that handheld devices capture a kid's attention in full and for long hours. If you’re going for this option, make sure you still engage your kids and choose quality content. Still, this should be a last resort--and remember to firmly impose the limits you had set beforehand.
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6. Bring yaya, too! Not all moms have this option, but for account executive April Gomez, who is a mom to two kids under three, this is her only option. She explains: "If we have a new yaya whom I don't fully trust yet to be alone with my kids, or if we have a family thing after work, then I bring all of them with me.” It's a win-win solution. This is also especially helpful for babies and toddlers who are not that independent yet or may not yet be able to follow rules you have set in place.
7. Limit your stay in the office. "I try not to stay long in the office if I have my kids with me. If the option to work at home or take a leave is not available, then do a quick in-and-out. Everyone--me, my kids, my officemates and my boss--are more productive and less stressed this way," says Vicky Roquez, graphics designer and mom of three.
It's difficult to balance work and family life, especially if both aspects of your life are bundled up in one area (that's why work-at-home parents deserve a salute, too!). However, it's not totally impossible with the tips above.