If you’ve been following along with our WFH journey, then you know we have been trying to find the perfect balance in our home… basically since COVID-19 showed up. Between all five of us juggling different schedules and finding enough workspaces in our house, we’ve needed to implement some serious negotiation skills. The learning curve has been steep!
But now that we’ve gotten organized, gotten the girls settled into a school routine, and upgraded our office, I’m starting to notice the smaller issues cropping up that are derailing the family’s productivity. Our number one offender is the sheer number of WFH DISTRACTIONS in our day-to-day.
Dealing with a Short Atten— Ooh Look!
For Travis and I, work consists of a lot of DIY work around the house—when we’re not in and out of other renovation projects in the area, that is. While it feels like the adults are finally hitting a groove, I realize our hustle and bustle is actually a pretty big disturbance for the kids trying to get some heads-down time for schoolwork.
Our youngest, Natalie, is six and only just starting school, so her education largely consists of craft projects, developing social skills, and practicing her academic basics. Still, it’s important for her to be able to focus on her work, and the ability to concentrate is a necessary tool she’ll need to build on well into adulthood!
We want to set her up for long term success, which hasn’t been the easiest under 2020’s litany of obstacles. We’ve talked about her sleep regression in response to the trials and tribulations of our Covid Era lifestyle, but she’s a pretty resilient little one with a BIG imagination! Left to her own devices, she twists the ends of her skirt or t-shirts, and pretends they are dolls! 😂
Where’s the ‘Do Not Disturb’ Setting for my Daughter?
For now, Natalie mainly “studies” in the WFH loft or the dining room downstairs. Both rooms are community spaces, so there are a lot of people walking by, aka, distracting her. The older girls are able to regain some focus by retreating into their respective study spaces. But this is not the case with a 6 year old!
Noise is the biggest offender. A sound as innocuous as a door shutting can cause her to disengage from the task at hand. Forget about people talking nearby, let alone an entire DIY! Today we hot mopped the desert bathroom, and her ears weren’t her only senses on overload. The tar stench really was unbearable for her. Poor Natalie!
While we can’t help the noise (or smell!) we make while working, we can minimize the impact to the smallest Yokota. I realized recently that having headphones helps her tune out all the extra sounds and focus on listening to the teacher. Travis and I have been using headphones as a general symbol for “Do Not Disturb” in the WFH loft, and I want to extend this association to Natalie, too!
Distraction-Proof Headphone Must-Haves
Buying headphones is such a THING, and that goes double for kids. You want a pair that aren’t going to break instantly… but you don’t want to spend a ton of money on something that your kid will inevitably grow out of. Problem-solving purchases like this can create more chaos when they don’t meet all of your needs! That’s why I make it a point to think through all the things we need out of this new tool.
I know this is really the last thing I should be concerned about… but I really love cool, chic headphones. Trav bought some knock-off headphones from Amazon, and I swear, I just want to snatch them off his head ASAP! Maybe it’s the designer in me, but I have a very low tolerance for ugly objects.
So one criteria is style. Yes, even for kids, hello? 😉
Another critical criteria is that they last long and are durable. We have gotten our kids cheap headphones for traveling, and the cords always get tangled or stop working altogether. And you best believe little Natalie will be twisting the cord the same way she does with her clothes.
The sound is really important, too! My kids are still growing, and the last thing I want to do is inadvertently damage their hearing. Long-term exposure to sounds above 90 decibels can lead to hearing loss, so we want to ensure that the volume maxes out at a safe range for kids.
With this in mind, we did some deep diving, and came up with a few faves. Read on!
Our Top 5 Faves, From Low to High
For starters Onanoff Buddyphones seem like a real winner with a shareable headphone jack, 85 dB max, super durability, and cute options for kids to show some personality! The only thing that makes me wonder is the cord. I’m skeptical that it’ll hold up for the duration, but at $25, it’s not the biggest risk I’ve ever taken.
If the Onanoffs seem a little juvenile even for a 6 year old, these Riwbox Light Up Headphones are super cool! I know Natalie would love the LEDs that light up to the frequency of her music— and we can turn these off if they become another distraction. They’re pretty inexpensive for a Bluetooth option, and reviewers claim the battery life is amazing!
I also really like these stylish cordless options from Lilgadgets. I don’t imagine we’ll outlast the 12 hour battery life, and Natalie can learn to charge them overnight as part of her routine. Even if we forget, there is a cord to plug in. The decibels max out at 93, and I’ve read that with the cord attached, they get all the way up to 96 dB. That’s certainly a little higher than I’d like! I’m thinking we’ll keep an eye on her volume levels to make sure she’s in the clear.
With all the same bluetooth and battery features, the next on our list is JBL Wireless option for kids. They have the right 85 dB max, and we definitely trust the sound. These do have fewer color options than the others on our list, which is a bummer. Allowing your kids to pick the color of the headphones is a nice way for them to own their gear for school. It makes them feel like a big kid and responsible for learning! Incentives (not bribes) really help to motivate kids.
Puro’s JuniorJams top the list for just about every roundup out there, so we know they’re no joke. They meet all our safety and style concerns, plus, the battery life on these is 22 HOURS. They’re the most expensive option on our list, but there’s no arguing with quality. And with the right care, they should last her well into her teens!
Finding Focus for WFH
As long as we’re staying socially distanced, I want our girls to feel like they’re plugged into what’s happening at school. I guess that means we’re going to have to literally plug them in! I almost want to complain that this is just another facet of this “new normal!” But if I’m honest… earbuds have been a tool for working in shared spaces since cubicles went out of style.
It only makes sense headphones are so handy in our WFH shared spaces. I don’t know how I’d get anything done without the ability to tune in to my to-dos! These days, Travis and I want to make sure our kids reap all the benefits of focused work, too. Sometimes, the solutions that already work for you just need to be adapted for smaller ears—and smaller attention spans.
Let me know if you find any more solutions that work for your family!