By Sarah Mueller, Contributing Writer
Do you ever feel like you can’t get anything done while caring for a baby or young child?
Do you miss the days when you could spend an entire morning organizing a space, doing a craft project, painting a room, or even just balancing your checkbook?
Maybe you even avoid starting projects in the first place because you feel like you can never finish up before your kids need you?
Kids will usually occupy themselves for only so long and all of a sudden, they’ll need something from you – a drink, an answer to a pressing question, or you’ll have to break up a sibling squabble.
Then you’ll have to put down your paintbrush or step away from your computer and try to pick up your work again later. Interruptions, even from children whom you love dearly, can be very frustrating if you’re trying to finish a task.
Sometimes you have to choose whether to do a project at all or to do it with kids underfoot. Since I have 4 homeschoooled kids, my kid-free hours are few and far between. I’ve had to learn to manage the distractions in order to get things done.
I have found that I can get things done; it’s just required some adjustments on my part.
5 tips for how to get things done even with young kids around:
- Prep the kids beforehand. I’ll let the kids know my plans upfront. I might offer snacks or potty breaks. I’ll spend a little extra time with the littlest one.
- Pick an end time. It’s helpful for me and the kids to know how long they will need to leave me alone. If they know mom’s work time ends in an hour, it’s easier for them to wait for me.
- Have a plan before you start. This might mean checking ingredients and collecting recipes in advance of a freezer cooking session. It might mean making a quick checklist of the homeschool papers to check. Then when the time comes, you can zip through the tasks you’ve planned.
- Remove other distractions. Put away your phone, close your email app, and stay away from Pinterest and Facebook! Unnecessary distractions like these can eat up your productive time in a heartbeat!
- Break your project up into small pieces. This is the most important tip of all – instead of thinking you have to do an entire project in one shot, list each step and do them one by one as you have time.
If you break them up, large tasks can be accomplished in bite-sized pieces with plenty of room to tend to the baby or kids. With some advance planning and a shift in your mindset, you don’t have to avoid these kinds of projects.
Initially you might not like having to change the way you work while still taking care of your kids.
But the satisfaction when you accomplish things on your to-do list may convince you it’s worthwhile.
Whether you’re working part-time from home (here’s how to find more time to work at home) or just want to do an extra task or two, give these tips a try. You might just feel a little bit like Supermom when you’re done!
What is your best tip for working on something while your kids are around?