When you work from home and have children, it can seem like you’re constantly divided between the two worlds: professional and parental. That can be challenging for work-at-home parents. Add to that the fact that because you are at home during the workday, your kids have relatively unfettered access to you (or at least to your mind), and separating the two can seem near impossible. After all, if you truly want to devote yourself to one role, the other inevitably and automatically suffers, right?
Not necessarily. In fact, there are many ways for you to make sure you’re sufficiently investing your energy in your kids and your work simultaneously. Here’s one such weekend project for you to complete with your kids that will provide quality time with them now and quality time away from them later in which you can devote yourself more fully to your work.
Chalk it up to Chalkboard Paint
Few things are as fun for kids (and many adults) as painting…anything! And with double-duty chalkboard paint, they get to experience the satisfaction of painting something with their own hands and the hours of fun that follow by using something they have made.
Since chalkboard paint is available in so many colors, you can match it to your home’s décor without much difficulty (you might even be able to find an exact match to your home’s interior paint colors!).
Option 1: Paint a Wall
By painting a wall or even an entire room, you open up a veritable world of possibilities for your little guys and gals. Among other things, the painted walls provide the perfect canvas for:
- Playing “school” – After all, is there any better use for chalkboard paint than making an actual chalk board?
- Creating their own wallpaper – The best part is that they can create something new every time they complete a design or even if their artistic fancies aren’t “feeling” what they’re working on, they can scrap it entirely and start over!
- Writing their own plays or stories or even “movies” with an accompanying “story board” – a picture may be worth a thousand words but by painting an entire wall with chalkboard paint, they have room for both!
Option 2: Paint a Piece of Furniture
If you choose to paint a piece of furniture that can also be used for storage, even better! Just be sure to pick something with flat edges and surfaces for drawing and designing if you want to make the most of your foray into the world of chalkboard paint. Some great options include:
- A bookcase with shelves for organizing their favorite books and playthings. One idea is to paint each shelf a different color and use a piece of chalk to “label” each shelf on the front which helps make cleaning up and staying organized something fun rather than a chore!
- A chest or trunk in which they can store their toys and stuffed animals. Similar to the bookshelf labeling, if you purchase a set of trunks in different sizes, you can paint each one a different color and have your child write its contents on the top or sides.
- A desk or “workstation” so your little tykes can work at home like mommy or daddy! By painting the surface of their workstation with erasable paint, you can also conserve trees (and money) by eliminating loose-leaf paper: since they can write directly on their desk, they won’t need it!
Project Tips and Tricks
Here are a few painting supplies, as well as several things to keep in mind when working with chalkboard paint:
- Make sure you have a full weekend to complete this project from start to finish. Although the surface will be dry to the touch in about 2 hours, you need a full 2 or 3 days of drying before you can put the finishing touches on the surface.
- Always work in a well-ventilated area like outside in the yard or in the garage with the doors open. If you are painting inside, keep all windows and doors open and run a fan in the room, if possible. Not only will this keep down the fumes but it will also aid in drying.
- This paint is best applied with a foam brush or roller as opposed to a standard paint brush or roller.
- Apply thin coats that are completely dry before adding the next. You may need two or three coats to achieve full coverage.
- When the surface has completely dried after a couple of days, “season” the paint by rubbing the entire surface with a piece of chalk and erase it.
What other ways have you found to invest a piece of time on your professional/parental balancing act that provides peace of mind in the long run?