I was taking a shower and I heard the door creak.
Immediately, I knew who it was and my heart sank.
“Mom, can I have a snack?”
I didn’t answer. 3 seconds pass and a small hand pulls the curtain. A head peeks into the shower. “Mom?”
My daughter persists acting like this is normal. At least she isn’t asking me to help her find a toy or my son asking me to help put a puzzle piece together.
IN. The. Shower.
Yes, these things have actually happened. Yes, they have a father. He’s very involved, loving, available, hands-on.
And yet, they (the children) are here…stalking me.
We need to work on boundaries, I think, yes, me, more boundaries. Bah!
Easy Tricks and Hacks for the Busy Stay-at-Home Mom to Get Household Management Done More Efficiently
This was several years ago, and since then, I’ve learned some core ways to get household management done more efficiently.
Not to be confused with taking on more and more and more.
1. Teach your children independent play.
For those of you that read my post on how to teach your kids to play independently, you know that it’s possible to get up to an hour a day of additional time to get things done. For children who are a bit older, I wrote a post about starting independent play late or after a long hiatus to help you get started.
Teaching independent play offers children time to learn focusing skills, creativity, problem solving, and self-play adeptness. Learning to play independently is also a valuable life skill for all children to learn.
It is also very helpful for busy moms…
During this time you can get chores done, catch up on bills and emails, or also take a break to breathe and doing something just for you.
As moms, it’s okay to take some time each day to recharge and invest in ourselves. I’m a way better mom when I make time for myself. Plus, when I get a few things done without interruption, I feel really good about myself.
- The Secret Way to Raise Independent Children
- Can Toddlers Really Learn to Play Alone?
- 10 Totally Awesome Tricks to Raise Independent Kids
- 25+ Easy, Healthy Lunches for 2 Year Olds
2. Get sleep in order.
Having a good schedule and a child who can fall asleep independently offers up additional time each day to get things done. If you have a good sleep schedule going, it offers tons of predictability to help you plan your day.
In our home, we have a 5 minute nap routine and a 30 minute bedtime routine. No muss. No fuss.
This means when it’s nap time, I set the stage about 20 minutes before the nap to help him calm down. 5 minutes before his nap, I take him to his room, put on his wearable blanket, and we cuddle for a bit with his blanket before he lays down. That is all.
Bedtime Resource Guides:
- An Easy Morning and Bedtime Routine Chart to Keep Kids On Task
- This Baby Bedtime Routine Is Easy and Works Like Magic
- 7 Parenting Hacks for an Easier Bedtime With Kids
- A Quick and Easy Toddler Bedtime Routine That Works Like a Charm
- How to Put a Toddler to Sleep Fast
Sample Schedule Resource Guides:
- 6 Tried-and-True Baby Sleep Schedules
- 5 Sample Daily Toddler Schedules
- 1 Year Old Schedules
- 2 Year Old Sleep Schedules
3. Child no longer napping? Implement rest time.
Rest time is basically a set time each day where your child is required to lay down in his bed and read books or do another type of quiet activity. This ensures your child gets some wind down time each day, and bonus, you can get some stuff done around the house!
4. Get Organized.
I know easier said than done, right? Truly though, staying organized really streamlines my day to day life. I can find things quicker and get done what I need to more efficiently.
Inside Family Routines Reboot I walk through our simple guide step-by-step.
5. You and your spouse are a team.
Be authentic in your boundaries on what you need.
I know as stay-at-home moms, we often feel like we should be doing it all without assistance. But my husband and I are in this together. While I manage the majority of our household, my husband does laundry, dishes, and basic household stuff.
Because getting the kitchen cleaned up together after dinner means more time for just us in the evening. When we both take on the laundry, it goes twice as fast! Which again means, we have twice as much time to spend together in the evenings and on weekends.
6. Get your kids on board with family contributions.
I created a set of 100+ printable chore cards for kids. They are easy to use, teach kids responsibility and they are vastly different from chore charts.
In the past, when I introduced my oldest to a set of printable routine cards, I used a very specific Language of Listening® approach to help him learn how to use the cards.
I used the exact same approach to teach him how to use these chore cards. Within a few days he was doing jobs on his own, and I didn’t have to nag, yell or dangle M&Ms in front of his face.
Talk about a parenting miracle.
Printable chore cards for kids.
Once you have your chore cards, you’ll want to print them on card stock or matte photo paper. If desired, you can laminate them using some simple laminating paper, but I usually skip this step to keep it simple.
7. Know it’s okay to NOT do it all.
After doing all of the above, there are still many days when the floor is a mess, the laundry is piling up, and I’m behind on emails. Life happens. And that’s okay.
Some days my son just won’t do independent playtime, or he refuses to nap for longer than 20 minutes, or he gets up really early: all of these things are understandable. If the bills get pushed back a day or two and my to do list is rapidly expanding, it’s okay.
Print this free printable!
This post comes with a free printable to give you an easy step-by-step guide to raise independent kids. Plus, remember what independent skills are age-appropriate for your kids!
Here’s a sneak peek…
Download Your Free Printable
- Download the checklist. You’ll get the printable, plus join my weekly parenting newsletter!
- Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
- Place it on your refrigerator. Use it as a quick reference to keep parenting simple!
More posts on motherhood:
- 7 Core Following Directions Activities for Kids That’ll Improve Listening
- 2 Year Old Sleep Schedule That Works Every Time
- How to Build Cooperation, Independence and Listening Using a Printable Daily Schedule for Kids
- These 31 Affirmations for Moms Helped Me Get Through The Really Hard Days
- 50+ Best Simple Games for 2 Year Olds and Up
- The Ultimate List of Board Games for 2 Year Olds
I've created a free email series just for you! If you are struggling with finding a routine, rhythm or schedule, this email series will help you find one that will work for YOUR family. Yes, really. I've seen my sample routines work time and time again for parents. I know it can work for you too.
This free email series will help you:
- Free sample routines for your child
- Best morning routine tips and tricks your kids will actually follow
- All-time favorite parenting hacks for getting more cooperation at bedtime
- Step-by-step guide for using a printable daily schedule with kids
I really need to work on getting organized and going to bed on a time. I definitely need that time in the afternoon to get things done, so I make sure my daughter either takes a nap or has quiet time (which she’s not always happy about!). It’s sometimes tough when my baby won’t take a nap at the same time, but we’re working on it. These tips are really helpful, Lauren!
I’ve been horrible about going to bed on time. And it’s 4 am here, and I am already up and working. I really need to work on the sleep thing, but my mind just won’t shut off. Jameson’s been protesting independent play, so we are really working on getting back in the groove. Talk to you later Charlee.
Bernadyn Nettles (B)
That last one for sure is the one I need to remember all the time, I try to do too much and get overwhelmed. I’m trying to teach my youngest independent play now so I can have more time to do other things. She usually likes me to play with her but now she’s playing more on her own, building blocks and even “pretend” reading her books to her dolls (she says she’s she is their mommy and she tucks them in bed, too!). I think it’s great for the child and moms to get the kids to help out, my son helps me with laundry now which is a big time-saver for me because laundry is a daily chore for us here! These are all useful tips and important to know to balance busy days, thanks for sharing it!
It’s so fun hearing about kids playing pretend. I’m really looking forward to the day when Jameson starts more role playing with his toys. I agree, Bernadyn, having kids help out even a small amount can really save time! Laundry is always piling in our house and we only have 3 people! But both my husband and I have gym clothes daily, so that contributes to the problem. Have a great day!
Ana Lynn Amelio
I do most of these, otherwise I don’t how I would manage to handle it all! Yes, moms do tend to be busy!
I don’t know how I would manage anything in my life if I weren’t using these ideas. Even when I do these things, there is still chaos on a daily basis, but that’s part of life 🙂 Have a great day, Ana.
Tricia The Good Mama
Great tips! I love that my son will play independently (for the most part) so I can get some stuff done. Although, he tries to “help” me fold the laundry and it ends up taking me double the time haha. My husband also helps out. I always clean up after dinner, but he enjoys getting our son ready for bed since he doesn’t get to see him all day. I need to get more organized though! I just have to-do lists scattered everywhere!
I’m always working on organization too. Sometimes it’s a real pain and it goes on the back burner around here. Sometimes Jameson’s vacuuming does take me a bit longer, it makes him happy , ha ha. It’s a work in progress. Have a great day!
Great tips, and thanks so much for including my simplification list! No matter how organised I am at one point, I always find I get UNorganised down the road. It’s a constant process as stages and phases inevitably change… so it’s helpful to have constant reminders of ideas that can get me back on track – thank you 🙂
Oh yes, definitely. I thought the list was wonderful, Chelsea. It is so hard to stay organized, isn’t it? Many days I feel like I’m in a constant cycle of mess to organization. It’s hard to keep everything in its place, which is one of the best reasons to get rid of all this *stuff* and stop acquiring more stuff. Have a great day!
Love this, Lauren. I really do use independent play. One of my girls is much better at it than another – but it is a personality issue, I know. I also think implementing spousal help, and being organized are key. I know that I must have the dishes in the dishwasher and most things put away before I can truly relax at night. That is so important to me. I find I am great at accomplishing a lot at home, but I am struggling with doing the same and applying it well on my blog. I can get lost in time online and need a better balance between writing, interacting, and social media. I am working on it! Thanks for your great tips!
My son has plenty of days when he protests independent play and we consistently try to work through those rough patches. Continually teaching and growing in the area of independent play is totally worth it. I too struggle with staying on task with the blog. There is always so much to be done in terms of networking and social media that it is hard to stay on track with writing great content. I find staying offline by turning off my wireless really helps me stay on track when I am trying to write a post.
I tend to do all of the cleaning while my kids are awake and underfoot. Like you said, it’s a good way to get those little “helpers” involved, and I like my kids to see me caring for my home, because that’s important to me (and I hope it will be to them, too, someday.) There are so many great ideas in here, Lauren. Thank you! (Pinning!)
Such a great tip, Erica…”I like my kids to see me caring for my home.” Yes, because it helps kids learn that a clean and well run household does not happen magically. It takes a lot of hard work. Thanks so much for visiting!