Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If You Can't Fight 'Em, Join 'Em!

On an average day, I might have a total of 30 minutes during the day without the kids.. and this is when the girls' nap and Cobi's nap overlap in the afternoon so it's not necessarily a given. Needless to say, multitasking & planning are my best friend. These may or may not help you, but I thought I'd share some tricks & tips that have helped me maintain order in a life where there isn't enough time to do it all:

1. Bath Time + Cleaning the Bathroom- I'm not sure why it took me so long to do this one, but I started a few weeks ago and I'm lovin it! Obviously you can't clean the actual bath the kiddos are in, but you can do the counters, mirror & toilet all while keeping an eye on the little ones! This gives me several options during the week on when to clean their bathroom.

2. Let Them Help- I don't know about your kids, but my girls LOVE to help clean, do laundry, etc.. At first, I would try to keep them preoccupied with something else, but found myself just constantly checking on them & not getting much done. So, I just started giving them each a duster & letting them walk around the house with me as I clean. Keeps them busy while I'm busy! The same idea goes with doing the dishes and laundry. I give them one task (putting their kid dishes away or putting the pile of laundry into the washer) and not only do they feel cool, but it's keeping them out of trouble & away from a TV or iPad. I think this was the hardest one for me since I am very much a control freak & letting them do it their way instead of mine was something I needed to get over sooner rather than later. 

3. Play + Workout- This seems obvious, and is. This is the same idea as the cleaning. Instead of trying to find a time when you can do it without the kids (if you are working out at home), incorporate them:

1. Take a walk as a family

2. Do what they love to do: run, jump rope, skip, etc.

3. Invest in some items that will keep them active while you do your workout routine 
(soccer ball, trampoline, basketball hoop)

4. If you have a little baby, there are exercises all over the internet to do with your little one
(see below for a website to help you get started)

5. While they have a snack, do a quick routine

Again, pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people don't do this, but then either complain that their kids are lazy and/or complain that they want to lose weight and don't have the time. If you can incorporate this into your everyday routine, you and your little ones will build a healthy lifestyle together.

4. Quiet Time- In the afternoon after the girls' nap and while Cobi has his, I like to have quiet time where the girls can read their books or color, just no toys or noise. I set them up with lap tables in the family room with a couple of Color Wonder coloring books & markers (the kind that you can't color anything, but the book) and then several books (which I rotate every couple of days). They have to keep themselves occupied with this for 30 minutes while I either do my daily devotions, pay bills, or something else that needs my full attention. After 30 minutes we turn on some music & they can get their toys out, even if I'm not done with what I need to do. I think a little quiet time does the body.. or sanity.. good! 

5. Any Room is a Playroom- I ADORE our house, but we don't have a playroom for the kids. I wish we did, but I have to work with what we got! So, when I absolutely need to get something done (put laundry away, shower, create worship set, etc), I have to bring the kids to "where the work is."  I have toys stashed away upstairs, downstairs & in the basement so wherever I need to be, there is something for them to do. This helps to keep toys "new & exciting," but also prevents me from having to lug around a basket full. Something that also comes in handy are our gates. They are light & mobile so if I need to gate off at the entrance of a room or section of the house so the kids don't go far, I can.

There ya go! Happy Multitasking!!!!