Friday, January 24, 2014

How to Keep Kids Busy So I Can Make Kombucha?

Someone asked me this week again how I have time to do all this cooking, fermenting and blogging. And do I put the kids in front of the TV to be able to do it. This is a question that comes up often so I thought I'd post a few ideas I have found useful to get to do my chores with small kids at home. 

(I do say though that there are moments I will have them watch a movie to get to do something but we have now limited screen time to weekends and days off. During the week we don't watch much TV except on some special occasions, I am flexible with rules :))

(I also want to say that things get easier when the kids get bigger. Mine are almost three and seven now and they just play together while I do other things. It is wonderful!)

(Oh and my personal choice is to choose cooking, fermenting over other things to do when the kids are asleep. It is my hobby. I use nearly all my free time in the kitchen. Apart from my daily short yoga practice. I don't have time to watch TV etc. that normal people do. I choose to ferment instead because I am crazy for food!)

Six tips how to get work done with kids at home (aka Alternatives to the Screen):

Borrowed this chart from Maria Montessori Facebook Page.
1. Ask the kids to help you in what you are doing. They love helping with real jobs. It makes them feel good too. There are many things in the kitchen the kids can help with. They can tear lettuce, chop vegetables (yes, I do give knives to even small children as long as they are supervised and they can't run around with them), hold the funnel while you bottle kombucha, measure ingredients, peel vegetables, grate vegetables, wash dishes etc. The little ones who are little enough can even just bathe in the sink (supervised of course) while you work next to them!

2. Have the kids busy with some other easy household chores while you do what you need to do: empty the dish washer, clean surfaces with a spray bottle of water and vinegar and a rag, fold towels or wash cloths, wipe tables, dust, mop the floors, vacuum, set the table, water plants, put toys away and so on.

3. I have noticed that if I am busy doing something, the kids often stay busy with their play as well. The moment I sit down to check my email they want something from me. But as long as I am on the move, they seem to stay happy in whatever they are doing too. On their own.

4. Little boredom feeds the creativity! The kids will most often come up with things to do on their own too if I need to finish something and they don't want to help with that. Maybe not right away and not without some complaints but eventually they do :)

5. My older reads books to the younger one. This is great because he gets practice in reading, the little one gets someone to read him to and I get to do my own things.

6. I can see our back yard from my kitchen window. I send them out to play in the sand box while I work in the kitchen and I can keep an eye on them the whole time.

I (we!) need more tips - please add yours to the comments!


  1. Playing music while cooking is nice, if kids are helping in the kitchen they might stay occupied longer if they enjoy music.
    Art is good too, set up art supplies for kids to work with while you work on other things. And with the "boredom feeds creativity" thought, you don't need to set up a very specific project, just offer various supplies and let them come up with their own ideas! Yes, they might make a mess, but that's an important part of art for children, not something to be avoided at all costs. They can learn fairly early how to clean up the mess anyway, and they often enjoy that too! Keep a special "art rag" within reach that they can use to clean up the art area when they are done.