Tips to simplify your life with kids
We’re often told, during pregnancy, how busy, chaotic and complex our lives will become once our baby arrives. How we won’t have a moment of me-time, our tea will always be cold before we have a chance to drink it and a solo bathroom break won’t happen again for years to come. How much of this has been true for you, since your little one made their appearance? There is some truth in all of this. Juggling a new and oh-so-delicate little life adds a healthy chunk of To Dos to your daily list that did not exist, pre-kids. As well as the practical and physical tasks that now occur on the daily (I’m talking about your laundry), your mind is also constantly whirring with questions, ideas and possible concerns about your new bundle of joy. The shift from being accountable for yourself only to taking on the responsibilities of another human can be a big one to make. The juggle, as they say, is real. That all said, the juggle can be managed differently and refined in a way to make your daily life a little easier. Over time, you’ll start to find your groove and what your daily routine looks like. Some things will get quicker and easier naturally and as phases come and go, a lot of the concerns that cropped up in the early weeks will become a distant memory. The key to making life with kids easier is, when possible, to make it simpler: finding easier ways to get things done with less effort. Here are a few key ways you can simplify your life with kids:
1. Start a Family Calendar
A wall chart, displayed in a central place such as the kitchen, is a great way for the whole family to keep track of what needs to be done. Whether it’s Doctor’s appointments, playdates, visiting family or important chores, writing everything down will help you to remember what needs to be done and when. It also helps with communication between family members too so you’re always aware of what’s coming up and the impact it might have on the rest of the family.
2. Embrace routines
Many babies love routines and the predictability of knowing what will come next. That might be a morning routine when they first wake up, or their bath and bed-time routine at the end of the day. Over time, your baby can quickly adapt to knowing that when the lights dim, they’re tucked up in a sleepsuit and listening to you read a story, that means it’s time to drift off to sleep. Routines don’t only work wonders for babies though – but for parents too! Setting simple routines help you stay organised, save time and effort and give you peace of mind that you don’t miss anything important too. For example, a bed-time routine is not only calming for your baby, but can also help you to take the time to wind down after a busy day and take some time to snuggle up with your little one as you wind down for your evening ahead.
3. Get sorted
You don’t need to go full-out Marie Kondo on your home, unless you choose to, but a little sorting in each room can help you stay on top of the household. From toy bins to laundry hampers, when everything as it’s place, your home is more organised and it takes some of the strain away from you. As they say, a tidy home means a tidy mind – which goes a long way to alleviate the overwhelm that parenthood can sometimes bring.
4. Do less
In the first few months of parenthood, there’s the potential to say yes to too many things. Of course, medical appointments are non-negotiables and the occasional visit from friends and family can be a lovely break and help for you. However, don’t feel obliged to say yes to every offer of a visit from others. Yes, they tell you not to worry about tidying up or that they won’t stay long. But effort on your part still goes into each house guests visit and when the visits are frequent, they can leave you a little exhausted. If you’re feeling the overwhelm from rushing between appointments, playdates and preparing for visitors, wind it back a bit. Ask your loved ones to wait a little longer while you’re adjusting to your new routine. At the same time, be prepared to just let some things go. Unless you employ a full-time house cleaner (and even then!), you’ll still likely find it impossible to keep on top of every task that needs to be done around the house. Most of the laundry can wait. The dishes don’t need to be washed immediately. You don’t have to take every single call today. Let some things go and let the guilt go along with it.
5. Prepare in advance
Planning can save your time and sanity when time is poor, and your energy levels are low. Whether it’s preparing baby food in batches, packing the nappy bag the night before or setting aside a ‘power hour’ to blitz the cleaning and laundry in one go, see what can be done the night before to make your next day a little easier.
6. As they grow, enlist their help!
If your little ones are at an age where they can lend a hand, encourage it. From putting their toys away at the end of the day to brushing their teeth and even dressing themselves Making a game out of packing away toys can be fun for them but also take that tidying task off your list after they’re tucked up in bed. Of course, if your little one is still a baby, enlisting their help might be some time away – but bear in mind that as they grow, they’ll be able to help you out a little more, as well as being a little less dependent on needing your help with everything. Making your life as simple as possible is really the key to feeling less overwhelmed. Throughout your day, think about the ways you might be able to do less, do things more efficiently or change up your routine to make life easier.