As I look at how fast my little ones are growing up, I realize that I have to take advantage of “kid time” as much as possible. There are times I wish that I had Hermione’s necklace from Harry Potter, where she could just turn the dial to be two places at once. I think of how much I could get done if I were in able to be in two places or even just to stop time to finish up a few things. But I guess we have to realize that we all have the same amount of time in the day, we just have to figure out what should occupy it.
When it comes to kids, there are all sorts of opinions on how to raise them, what they should and shouldn’t eat, as well as what you should do with them. All of those are up to you as a parent but as I’ve realized with Little Roper, time moves fast and they grow up before you know it. So here are a few things I’ve learned (and am still working on) on how to Maximize your Time with Your Kids!
1. Get up early (or stay up late). Either you have a job or just have so much to do around the house that you feel a little overwhelmed. Chances are you need to sacrifice a little of your sleep to help get a few more things done. A few months ago, I started waking up earlier than my family to get things done with the blog so that I wasn’t constantly worrying about it all day. It makes life so much easier and I feel like I’ve accomplished more throughout the day, which motivates me even more in a strange sort of way.
If you need to get things cleaned up or just need to get organized for the day, it’s a lot easier to do so with a little quiet. And then when your kiddos are awake, you won’t be so flustered or frustrated and can get the day started together.
2. Have a plan. There have been way too many times I’ve gone by the seat of my pants during the day which usually turns into a lot of wasted time. No, you don’t have to have play dates every day, nor do you need to have things solidified in stone to have a good day. But starting with an idea, like a picnic or just a trip to the park, can get your mind flowing of fun things to do with your little ones.
3. You don’t have to do something costly every day. My mom was really awesome at this. We didn’t have a ton of money when we were younger but she did a little research and would find free or cheap things to do with us. We went to museums and kid’s day at the movie theater, we went swimming and a bunch of other stuff. I might not have loved every museum we ever went to but it was the fact that she did a little research to make it fit into the budget as well as give us something to do, especially during the summer months. Even if you stay home and color together, or blow bubbles for an hour (until your lightheaded you don’t think you can do anymore), it’s worth a little forethought to make for great memories.
4. Recognize the moments for housework and the moments for playtime. I think one of the important parts is teaching kids, even when they are young the importance of work and play. And you don’t even need to make work seem so boring! But you also need to recognize the moments when your child needs you while you are trying to clean up the kitchen and that you can take a break from cleaning for a bit to play. Maybe even just asking them to help you a little and then helping them right after can make a difference.
5. Understand the time of day. Sometimes kids need a break or a nap to make it through the day. If you’re trying to run all kinds of errands without thinking of your kids, you could be needing a new set of ear drums. For us, it’s easier if we run errands in the morning so we can get back and play a little bit before lunch and nap time. It’s usually when we’ve been in the car for too long or we’ve missed nap time by hours that life starts to get a little rough. By knowing what times are best for what adventures can lead to a better day for both of you.
6. Use it as a teaching moment. You don’t have to be shoving learning down their throat but simple teachings here and there, even toddlers understand. I sing the clean up song when we need to clean up a game or toys and it gets Little Roper to help me a lot more than just asking him to help me clean it up. There are so many things we can teach them in the simple moments that can help so we don’t have to have a lot of major discussions later on.
And a lot of it is through our example. I always thought it was cute when kids imitated their parents but now with a little one that is starting to talk and imitate what we do, I realize how important it is to show them how we want them to behave from our own actions and words.
7. Take a break every once in a while. To some people it may seem selfish, but even batteries need to recharge. Talk to your spouse and figure out a time when you can go out, even if it’s just to the store alone, so that you can be refreshed. It’s amazing what a little time like that will do and how much more excited you’ll be once you return home!
8. Have fun! Get out of your comfort zone and have a dance party. Dress up with them. Wrestle with them. Do things that maybe you feel too old for but they love. There’s no better way to keep you feeling young!
How do you maximize the time you have with your kids?
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