Children are one of the major challenges of working at home. If you have kids, you probably wanted to work at home in part to be there more for them. Now if only they didn’t make the whole deal so difficult!

All ages have their own challenges, but just now I’m dealing with a two year old, so let’s take a look at what it takes to get a two year old to behave well enough that I can get some work done.

Naptime

Naps, naps, glorious naps. There are days when the parent wants it more than the child. Those would be called normal.

This may have to do with the inherent resistance many two year olds have toward naps. Taking a nap means they can’t be doing something more interesting, such as clearing out a cabinet, pounding on your keyboard as you try to work, trying to climb a bookshelf, begging for a snack, and so forth. Exhausted doesn’t matter when you’re two, not until you fall asleep where you sit.

It’s not that you’d like a nap too, although there certainly are days when that’s appealing. It’s that you want the breather from dealing with the vagaries of the two year old mind, not to mention some productive work time.

Bedtime is a pretty good time for parents too, assuming you aren’t ready to drop yourself.

Toys

The trouble with a two year old is the near complete lack of attention span that most of them have.Try to provide a good range of challenging toys for your two year old, but not all at once. The more decisions available, the less likely they are to settle to one thing for a time.

Each child will have a different sort of toy that works best for keeping him or her busy. For my youngest, it’s dolls. She’s very much into her babies, and only makes me do a few diaper changes in a row when she plays with them. Other kids are more attracted to blocks, slides, play tents and any fragile decorations which have survived so far.

Siblings

Older siblings can be a huge help when you’re dealing with a two year old. Once you get past the protests that the two year old can’t play their way, you may actually get some good playtime out of them.

Younger siblings are more problematic, although with a younger than two child around you’re only going to be so productive anyhow. You really don’t want a two year old doing too much pretending that the baby is a doll or other toy. You especially don’t want the baby in the way if your two year old is testing his or her throwing ability. They don’t always pick the soft toys to throw.

Television

Ah, the dreaded and beloved electronic babysitter. Destroyer of minds, keeper of mother’s sanity.

Letting your child watch just a touch of television probably isn’t going to hurt anything, and it can be a huge help when you need a bit of distracted toddler time. Just don’t expect it to hold a toddler’s attention very long – even a favorite show will only keep a two year old going so long, especially if you dare step outside the room or look like what you’re doing could possibly be interesting.

Surrender

Sometimes the best way to get your two year old out of your hair is to just give in and play for a while. Get that need out of their system. Most times it still doesn’t mean you’ll get perfect peace and quiet from your two year old, but you will have given it a shot and had a bit of fun with your child, which isn’t too bad a deal.

If you have a toddler, how do you keep him or her happily busy while you work?