Home Optimization for Stay-at-Home Parents

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Home Optimization for Stay-at-Home Parents

Before you became a stay-at-home parent, you may have felt that caring for your kids at home would be a fulfilling and enriching life. As true as that may be now that you are with your children full-time, you may also find that life as a stay-at-home parent can also be chaotic, unpredictable and even stressful. It’s common for expectations of what it means to be a stay-at-home parent to not always match up with the reality.

Like with any job, being a stay-at-home parent has its ups and its downs. One of the most effective and efficient ways to sustain those ups is to optimize your home for healthy, happy parenting. That means not just setting up a home that supports your kids with entertainment and education, but supports you — the parent — as well. In this guide, you will discover how to optimize your home and, as a result, save your sanity by:

  • Waking up before the kids
  • Getting the day organized
  • Encouraging your kids to help with tasks
  • Getting some R&R for yourself
  • Working from home

Getting up on your own schedule, as opposed to being woken up by your children, can help you start a day that is more productive, even if that just means enjoying a cup of coffee on your back porch listening to the birds sing. Taking time to situate your personal needs, like showering, sending emails or doing some yoga, before the kids start to rise will help you find some peace before the chaos begins.

Home Optimization Tips:

  • Set up a yoga space in a spare room or a corner of your bedroom. All you need is a mat and some relaxing music. You can follow along to free yoga videos on YouTube or create your own routine. Even 15 minutes of sun salutations or stretching can make a big difference in how you feel the whole day.
  • Design your bathroom with warm, soft colors that set a calm and relaxing tone for the day. Store your toiletries, along with any makeup or hair products you use, in the bathroom so that you can emerge ready to start the day. If you don’t have cabinets or extra storage space, you can hang baskets on the walls as shelves or add small hanging baskets to the backs of cabinet doors for additional storage.

Getting the Day Organized

Every stay-at-home parent knows there is an endless to-do list for each day, from helping your kids achieve their developmental milestones, to planning meals, to making doctor’s appointments, to walking the dog. The only way to stay sane is to create (and try your best to stick to) a schedule for the day. Most stay-at-home moms and dads find success by making a to-do list before bed so they wake up knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished the next day. That being said, don’t become too rigid with your list; everything could change based on your child’s — and your — needs. Allow yourself some flexibility and try your best to go with the flow.

Home Optimization Tips:

  • Hanging a dry erase board with a calendar in a room that gets a lot of traffic is a great way to keep your day — and your family — organized. It also lets other family members, like your partner and older children, know what they are responsible for. Remember, just because you are a stay-at-home parent does not mean you are doing this alone. Part of preparing for the day is delegating chores and responsibilities that others can fulfill.
  • Keeping your home organized is the foundation to keeping your life organized. As a stay-at-home parent, no matter how many kids you have, organization can feel like a luxury at times. Even just clearing out clutter can make a huge difference.

Encouraging Your Kids to Help with Tasks

When your kids start walking, they can start helping. Encouraging them to do so will not only whittle down your list of responsibilities, but can also teach them useful skills and help them achieve milestones. For example, toddlers can sort socks by matching colors, Pre-K children can design a storage space for their toys, and older children can help with chores in exchange for an item they’d like to have or an outing they want to take.

Home Optimization Tips:

  • Keep things at children’s level. If you want your kids to help put toys away, make sure toy boxes are kept where they can reach them. Install counters that are lower for kids to reach, or supervise them as they use step stools to help out with chores.
  • Cater to their interests. If your kid likes fashion, get them to help with laundry. You can even design your laundry room with low-to-the-ground storage bins so they can help sort colors. If they have a strong bond with the family dog, show them how to feed, water and walk their favorite pet. Store pet food where they can reach it, and teach them how to create and maintain a routine for walking and a schedule for feeding the dog.

Getting Some R&R for Yourself

Your kids need time with you, but they also need to run and play, as well as interact with other kids. It’s during these times when they are otherwise occupied that you can squeeze in a little “me time.” You can also take advantage of the evening hours when your partner is home and can take on the bulk of the load.

Home Optimization Tips:

  • Create a meditation space, and keep it a kid-free zone. You don’t need a whole room, just a peaceful corner with a comfortable meditation cushion, an aromatherapy diffuser or incense, and enough quiet to find your center.
  • Create a quiet play space next to a reading nook. Letting your kids play on their own next to you gives them a chance to develop independent thinking skills, while also letting you catch up on a chapter of your favorite mystery novel. Put a splat mat with safe, simple toys or a table with coloring books and crayons next to a comfy recliner with soft lighting. You can create this space in any room of the house, but try to make it in an area with nice, natural light that’s free from too much noise or a slew of distractions.

 

Working from Home

When you’re a stay-at-home parent and a work-from-home employee, every day is a bring-your-child-to-work day. In these situations, you will find that your priorities are sometimes split — like when little Junior is feeling fussy just as a conference call is starting. Balancing the two will be a day-to-day challenge; but, for those parents who want to avoid an employment gap on their resumes or who cannot live off of one paycheck, finding that balance is crucial.

Home Optimization Tips:

  • Create a multipurpose space — one that works for you and for your kids. Put a toy box, playpen or bouncy chair in your home office so your child can occupy themselves while you work. Be sure to childproof your home office — cover your outlets, and pick furniture that cannot be pulled down by a crawler learning to stand.
  • Give them space at your desk. If you allow your little one tablet time, have them sit in their own office chair at your desk with you. They can do their “work” while mommy or daddy does theirs.

Being a stay-at-home parent while also being productive, ensuring personal time and managing other responsibilities is a challenge, but not impossible. Use the right strategies to optimize your home and improve your organization to free up more time in your busy day — and free up more space in your mind for a sense of peace.

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