By Marcia Hall
As parents, you are inherently busy. There are a lot of details that go into raising children, not to mention the upkeep of a home and any other outside responsibilities you take on. Add to that work outside the home and there may be days that you do not stop working, from sun-up to sun-down and beyond. Here are a few tricks to help you find a few extra moments in your day.
Pay attention to how much time you spend on your computer in entertaining activities. If you spend the majority of your time with your kids and not around other adults, websites like Facebook and Pinterest can be great ways to connect with others, as well as be a great way to get a little “you” time. Be careful though, because it’s easy to quickly lose track of time on these sites. Set a certain time everyday that you will check-in and check-out with the social media world, then set a timer. This will help ensure that you don’t lose track of time and get sucked into the time warp that can be created.
Don’t neglect time with your kids. This is often the quickest thing to be taken off the list, but it really is the most important thing to make sure stays on the list. Individual time with your children is critical to their emotional development. Just 15 minutes of your undivided attention each day can make a world of difference. Parents often reason that the extra time that is saved is needed “just today,” but in reality neglecting this time with your child will cost you in the end. When children get individual attention from a parent or caregiver they are less likely to act out with negative behaviors. When you have children who act out less, you will find more time in your day.
Spend one hour at the beginning of the week planning out your week. Sunday night is a great time to gather your to-do lists and activity calendars for the week and plan your agenda. Certainly unexpected events are bound to come up, but when you start your week off with a plan of action, you are better able to address the emergency issues that inevitably arise. By spending an hour at the beginning of the week planning your week you will be more likely to be on the same page with your parenting partner too, as it will give you the opportunity to coordinate schedules and expectations.
Divide larger jobs into smaller parts on your to-do list. Big jobs or tasks can seem overwhelming at first glance, but when you separate out the big jobs into smaller section they can seem much more manageable. You can tackle one small task at a time, choosing to do part of it during naptime and part of it the next day. The whole thing does not need to be accomplished all at once.
Divide to-dos into three categories. By labeling things into duties taking under 15 minutes, duties taking under 30 minutes and duties taking over 30 minutes you can better assess how to approach tackling them. That way when you are planning your week or when you suddenly find yourself with a little extra time on your hands, you can look at your to-do list and quickly find a task that can be done in the amount of time you have.
Don’t forget to take time to relax. You may be able to run on all cylinders for a period of time, but eventually your energy level will drop. Don’t feel guilty about taking time to rest and rejuvenate. If this means that you take a nap with your kids every once in a while or go to bed early, do it. If it means that you find a way to go out with friends now and then, make it happen. Sometimes you will have to pull yourself away from the children and family you love so that you are able to be the best caregiver for them you can.
Caring for children is a non-stop job. Many parents that stay home and care for their kids also have other jobs and responsibilities. It can be hard to find time to do everything, but it is possible to get things done with children around.