This is the 73rd time you have been asked, “but why, Mummy?”, in the last 30 minutes. You can’t eat in peace, you can’t go to the bathroom in peace, and you certainly can’t sleep in peace. You have run out of methods of entertainment and you are very quickly running out of patience. What you would give just for a minute of solitude (and maybe a cheeky glass of wine on the side).
Jenny Vanderhoek, is a mother and CEO of childcare finding app Mynder. She knows a thing or two about the need for ‘me time’. She shares 8 sneaky ways to occupy the kids while you get some time out.
1. Dial a friend
So, Grandma lives out of town and isn’t around for babysitting duty? That doesn’t mean she can’t help! Next time you are desperate for a few minutes to yourself, call up a relative and put your child on the other end of the phone. Grandma gets some phone time and you get a bit downtime, win-win!
2. Competition time
Set a timer for as long as you need (a 45 minute bubble bath, anyone?) and challenge your kids to complete a task in that time. Get them to draw you a picture, build a Lego tower or even clean their room. Promise a prize at the end and … voila, me-time!
Now we’re not silly enough to think that you are actually going to be able to get your child to sleep at a convenient time. So, we suggest having a compulsory rest time where sleep is not expected but quiet is. Hand over a stack of books or some low-noise toys and lock that bedroom door. This is an oldie but a goldie!
4. Fold the laundry
Got a massive pile of laundry and a hyper child? Perfect. Ask your little helper to sort the laundry into piles for each member of the family. There’s a high chance that you will have to re-sort the washing but that seems a price worth paying for some peace and quiet. After all, turning chores into games is a trick as old as parenting itself.
5. No guilt screen time
You’ve tried everything else and you still cannot move more than 30cm away from your child without a melt-down ensuing. It’s time to succumb to the hypnotic powers of Peppa Pig. Seriously, give yourself a break and turn on the TV for half an hour. Bliss.
6. Make the ultimate dance party
I don’t know about you but what child doesn’t love music, and the best part of growing up is playing your favourite tube and dancing with your buddies. Clear the lounge room and make a decent size space for the kiddies to move around. Blast their favourite tunes and I guarantee you’ll will have at least 30 minutes of time to knock over your to do list such as cooking or cleaning.
7. Set up a craft station
This one will be bound to keep the kids entertained for HOURS. Whether its drawing/colouring in, painting, or playing with play doh, set up a new station for each child and swap them every 30 minutes to an hour. That should at least give you 2 – 3 hours or ZEN.
8. Create a ‘Box of treasures’
My mum used to do this for me and I know it was an absolute winner when she was on her last legs and after some serious relaxation time. Fill a shoebox with a bunch of miscellaneous objects that the kids either haven’t seen before or haven’t played with in a long time (figurines, old pics, buttons, a book you used to have as a child etc.). Sit back and relax whilst your kids get immersed in a box of random stuff (Hint: the more stuff, the longer the break).
Jenny and the team at Mynder know how hectic parenting can be. Jenny says, “Parenting is unlike any other job in the world. It’s 24hr shifts and no-one really knows who’s boss! That’s why Mynder exists, to give you a break when you need it. With the help of Mynder, and our 8 sneaky tips, you’ll be rolling in me-time. Plus, when things get rough you can always throw a tantrum – it seems to work for your toddler doesn’t it?”