What do you do with a house full of children when it’s time to paint the walls, clean out the attic or tackle a big project? This week the 4 Moms of Many are talking about how we accomplish projects with little ones around.
Don’t forget your priorities. Don’t get so absorbed in your project that you speak crossly with your children or ignore them when they need correction. (Believe me I am speaking to myself on this one.) These children are forever and you are their world.
When I am going to tackle a project the first thing I do is sit down and spend some special time with my younger children. Something simple like reading a book or playing a game. This fills up their little love tanks and they seem to be much happier and content to play independently.
Utilize nap or rest time for tasks that require focused, uninterrupted work.
When I’m ready to start a project the youngest child gets put into the ERGO (if possible) and the toddler is given a task to help mommy. Usually the toddler tasks involve running items here and there or fetching things for mom. If I’m deep cleaning then he gets a damp rag or perhaps even a spray bottle and cloth to help clean.
A gate is a great tool to keep a toddler in the room with you, but out of the mess (especially if you’re painting).
When he tires of helping, I usually have some idea of activities or toys for him to play. Here are some long lasting, toddler pleasers.
- Put out a gate (this is not necessary, but helps define their area so that you don’t end up with popcorn all over the house) and a variety of kitchen items (funnel, different sized containers, pitchers, measuring cups and spoons, etc) and un-popped popcorn kernels (or rice or pasta). The rules are everything should stay inside the gate (of course some will get out, but no dumping things outside of the gate), no throwing and no eating. *rolls eyes*
- Play dough, moon sand and finger paint. Preferably outside. (Our home has a gated deck that wraps around the entire back of the house and is visible from most of the living areas.)
- Butcher paper and markers
- Put them in a swimsuit, put water in the tub and then let them play with Playmobile (or another toy not normally allowed in the bath). Do NOT leave them unattended, but this works if your project is in or beside a bathroom.
Take occasional short breaks to love on and tickle those babies. Play some fun music and stop working to dance through a song with them. It doesn’t have to be long. They just want to be part of your day, everyday.
Nearly all of the 4 Moms topics are generated by questions that our readers have asked. This particular question was specific,
How do you find time for projects that need to be done, require focused attention and which the children can’t help with?
and I wanted to mention a couple of things.
Depending upon how much focused attention is required and how old your oldest child is, perhaps the project should not be done unless another adult is around to supervise the children.
I recently posted about the importance of including your children in as much as possible on Raising Homemakers. Every around-the-home project that I can think of has some aspect where children could ‘help’. Gathering supplies, cleaning up trash, bringing you a drink or keeping a younger child entertained or away from project related materials can all be helpful. Think creatively, they may not be able to help with everything, but they can probably help with something.
How do you balance big projects and motherhood?
Most of this info is re-posted from Simplifying with Little Kids.
Be sure to visit the other 4 Moms to read what they have to say about this topic:
For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.