Q. How can I get any work done with my little ones around?
Having toddlers and preschoolers in the house while you’re trying to get anything else done isn’t easy. It’s really one of the hardest times of life. I remember people telling me, “Just wait ’til they’re teens! You think it’s hard now…” I felt sick. I couldn’t take any harder than it was right then. Even going to the store was a two hour production by the time I got everyone dressed, found all the shoes, changed the baby’s diaper, fed the baby, changed the baby’s diaper again – and his clothes. You know how it goes! It’s hard! Incredibly sweet and precious, but hard!
So, how to do you cope? How do you get anything done?
Keep all the little ones in the room with you. Use baby gates and doors to limit the area they can wander in. That’ll keep them out of the toilet while you’re nursing the baby or checking your blog stats. Yeah.
Get them wrapped up in your work. Folding laundry? Then teach them to fold washcloths — and talk about how they’re squares, then you make them rectangles, then squares again. Rotating the dishwasher? Let them put away the silverware; it’s a great way to teach one-to-one correspondence. Packing orders for your home business? Let them stuff the receipts in or stick down the flaps on the envelopes. Kids love to do real things. Right now it may slow you down to have their help, but one day they’ll be lifting a load from your shoulders. <–Tweet this.
Focus on them!
We figured out quite a while back that little guys have incredibly short attention spans for everything except whining. They can whine all day long. Why not get face to face with them and give them some focused attention when they ask before they start whining? Sing a song, teach them a nursery rhyme or Bible verse, just give them some mommy time. They’ll soon be off again, faster than if you let them whine, and you’ve just invested in what’s really important.
Get them busy!
I was wandering through the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle that we’re a part of and opened up 101 Independent Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers by MaryEllen Bream. Wow! It had TONS of great ideas. Many of them I’d done before (after all, we have eight children!), but who can think of them when you’re busy and annoyed? I think I’ll print each of these activities up on cardstock so I have something to turn to when I need our youngest to entertain herself for awhile. Our house is so busy and active, that if the older children are gone, she’s just miserable and bored. No longer, though! Now I don’t have to wrack my mind to think of something she can do, I can just grab these activities instead of handing her my tablet!
Reassess your priorities
When they are grown and gone, what will you wish you’d spent your time on? I don’t think anyone remembers how clean their mom’s house was when they were little, but we all remember the special times reading together and playing. I know times are tough and I’m working hard helping Hal in our family business, too, but we have to ask ourselves sometimes: What does the Lord want us doing today? This is a season of life and it’s going to get easier.
Honestly, enjoy those little guys while you can, even when you don’t get much else done. Trust me, before you know it you’ll be helping them move out of the house and on their own. We’ve done it three times and it seemed like such a short time since they’d been little. The days when ours were all little were hard, far harder physically than when they got older. Hang in there. The days are long, but the years are short.
Our book, Raising Real Men, will help you understand your boys more – and give you practical ideas for helping them to grow up to be godly young men. Check it out here.
Boyhood Boot Camp is our LIVE webinar series for parents of boys up to age eight or so. It’s your Boot Camp for understanding these little guys and it’s tons of fun – interactive and conversational. Get your questions answered! Find out more here.