Here are a few ideas to keep your little ones busy while working at home during the day or evening:
1. Nap Time... (Yes, it is not busy for them but it is busy for you) Most of us with children under 5 years old who are not in kindergarten or preschool have a nap time schedule daily for them and some do not. This is a great way to get work done (especially phone calls) without feeling interrupted. Some children do grow out of it by 3 or 4 years old, but if we keep them on routine daily with their nap time, they will still do it until they reach preschool or kindergarten which allows you that 'phone call time' or important work time that needs to get done. I would utilize this time to do your most important things that can not be disrupted.
2. Play office by Mommy... This has been a savior for not only myself but many other WAHM's (Work at Home Moms) who need something to occupy their little ones so they can get a little work done. Place a play phone, play desk, paper, crayons, etc. right next to your desk or laptop area and let your children 'Pretend to be Mommy'. Children look up to us as Parents, so not only does this give them something to do but also teaches them a good work ethic at a very young age.
3. Movies/Books... There are many educational movies, shows and books out now a days. Children can learn so much from Dora the Explorer, Sesame Street, etc. Now, I would not take this as your only tool to getting some work done. But, do not feel guilty to let your child watch their favorite movie or show while you get a little work done. Placing a TV in near your work area can help, they feel near you while you can still get your tasks done for the day. Books are also great for the children who can sit still and entertain themselves. Get books with lots of colors, pictures and maybe some added interaction to them.
4. Coloring/Painting/Crafts... Being artistic is something almost any little one likes to do. I suggest the Color Wonders by Crayola. Which allow you not to worry about the floor, walls or furniture. With the little office space you set up for them by you, you can set them up on a project or coloring while you get some work done.
5. Online Children Interactive Sites... There are many sites out there like Nick Jr. that allow children to utilize the mouse to interact and learn. If you have an extra laptop or desktop that you are not using to do your work, get them set up and going with one of these sites through many of their educational, interactive programs, coloring or fun games.