As a parent, we always wish we had 48 hours in the day instead of 24! More quality time with our kids would be a treat for any family! I know for me, between work, housekeeping, homework, dance, swim, karate and soccer, I hardly have time to think…and I only have one 3 year old! I honestly don’t know how some parents with 2 or more kids do it, especially working full time! This thought is what has sparked some creativity in me! I’ve had to come up with creative ways to get things done while also incorporating my kids into the activities to allow for quality family time! I wanted to “spend better time” with my kids! Below are some issues many of my mom & dad friends complain they “don’t have time for”. Try them out and see how your day CAN include your entire to do list and your kiddos too!
1. I can’t exercise, I don’t have time! Your kids LOVE to be outside (usually) so, take them out on their bikes, roller blades or skateboards and keep up with them with a slow jog. Your kids are too young to ride a bike, put them in a jogging stroller and get to pushin’! Not only will you get a good workout jogging but the pushing will tone your arms! Too hot or too cold to go outside, pop in a workout video or go online to some of the many sites that offer free, short daily workouts! Do them while your little ones are napping or early in the morning when your family is still catchin’ zzzs!
2. I don’t have time to cook It’s true, when you get home at 6pm, there’s hardly time to shower, not to mention busting out the cookbook and apron and sweating it out in the kitchen. After all, dinner is supposed to be at 6-7pm not 6-7am! So, why not take an hour or two out of your weekend and make dinners for the week! Freeze them up in different containers, label them Monday – Friday and pop them in the freezer. When you get home from work, soccer practice, parent conference or just come home early in tired, pop it in and your home cooked meal is ready in 2-5 minutes!
3. I don’t have time for myself Many parents, mostly moms but some dads too, complain they never have time for themselves. They don’t have time to get nails done, get their hair cut or just treat themselves with a well deserved massage. Well, many spas and salons offer packages for mommy & me and daddy & me! Take your kids and turn it into a bonding activity! It will make your little ones feel extra special, especially if there are siblings involved and they can each have their own day.
4. I need alone time with my spouse but don’t have anyone to watch my kids Well, that’s a problem many of us have. Recently some friends and I have gotten together and developed a calendar. Two to four times a month we have one of the parents watch all of the kids for 3-4 hours. The rest of the parents go out for a parents’ night out! We take turns so we all get our night out and our kids get the fun with friends they love! Local indoor gyms and studios like My Gym also offer Parents Nights Out. You pay a fee, usually between $25-35 per child (with siblings at a discount rate) and they’ll watch your kids for 3-4 hours, feed them dinner and show them a good time!
5. I don’t even have time to clean the house Ok, so, few kids like to clean but, it’s all part of growing up. We all have to learn to take care of our possessions and take pride in our home. Starting early and teaching kids to help out is not a crime nor will it hurt your child’s upbringing. If you have toddlers, teach them where their toys go and to put them away (with help from you in the beginning). If you constantly clean up after them, that’s all they’ll know and you’ll end up doing the cleaning for many years to come. Elementary age kids can be given an incentive to help out. They can earn an allowance like a salary that we earn at work. Their room should be clean without compensation since it’s their own space (like our house is ours and we have to maintain it). If they help out maintaining the rest of the home by dusting, vacuuming or cleaning some windows, reward them in some way. Activities are usually a good option to money, like a day at the park or a trip to your local museum! You can also check out www.myjobchart.com. It’s an excellent online chore chart that teaches your kids to earn, save & spend and best of all it’s FREE!
So, you didn’t think it was doable but it is! You just have to make do with what you have and get creative to spend better time!
The Parent Center also writes for Playground Dad! Check out his blog & our article there!