Now, I do often suggest resting or taking time for yourself during your children’s nap times or while they’re in bed. However, there are times that “getting things done” actually is healing for you. Particularly if you’re stressed because there are so many things that aren’t done!
But, if you’re like me (and I hope for your sake you aren’t) then once all the kids go down, I’m not always able to get things done. If I haven’t prepared, organized, or gotten things done beforehand. Here are some ways to get more done when the kids are asleep so that you can actually enjoy your free time and relax.
1. Plan your to do list.
One of the best habits I’ve picked up (and put down and then picked back up) since becoming a mom is to plan what I’m going to do the night before. Or in this case, plan what I’ll do when they nap and when they are in bed. The “plan” may be take a bath and read a good book. Or the plan might be to finish painting something, working, organizing clothes to donate, or any other project or hobby around the house.
If I know how I’m going to use my time I can relax beforehand, and then get to it when I have the time. Otherwise, if I haven’t at least mentally pondered what I want to do, I’ll waste time on Facebook or wandering around the house and I won’t end up doing anything productive or anything refreshing.
2. Get a good monitor if you need to be outside.
When I’ve lived in a townhouse, I didn’t need or use a monitor because I could hear everything going on. And even if I went outside to the backyard, it’s size and location made it easy to hear any babbling or cries from inside. Now the house we live in has been added onto a few times which means from one “new section” to the next, very little sound gets through. From one end to the other, if one door is closed, you could scream bloody murder and never be heard.
If you have a large house or yard, it’s important to have a monitor that will allow you some freedom of movement to get things done, and still be able to make sure your kids are okay. This Levana monitor lets you watch your kids while they’re sleeping (or independent play for that matter) and gives you a handheld screen to bring with you. So you aren’t just waiting for crying, but you can watch them as well. This works for night swims after the kids are in bed, late night garden weeding, or just being in the other end of the house.
3. Prep beforehand.
This is a big one depending on the project. We’ve been renovating our children’s bedrooms one room at a time and some of the projects are loud and messy. How we’ve been able to get as much done as possible while they’re sleeping is to prep before. We’ll do noisy or very disruptive tasks before bed, if possible, so we’re left with things we can be done one room away from little sleepers.
This may be doing your usual chores throughout the day so you can relax at night. It might mean doing household chores early (or postponing them) so you can work when they’re asleep. Or it may mean getting up early to work so you can relax or nap during naptime. I sometimes wake earlier than the kids then nap with them during naptime. Win win!
4. Sweep throughout the day.
One of the best habits I started when my kids were young was the evening sweep. This is where you walk briskly and with purpose and return everything back to its original place so the home is left orderly and organized each evening, and ready for you to start a day. I usually sweep throughout the day anyway, but if I want to set aside time in the evening to do something specific, I make a point to get things in order so that when the kids are asleep, I’m free to do other things without worrying about the cleaning.
If you want to book in a relaxing night out, then use the free moments during the day to do the things you usually do so later you don’t feel guilty when you’re out. So you actually enjoy it.
5. Use White Noise.
This is one of the biggest life savers in parenting and in my home. Hands down. Kids sleep better with the white noise. You don’t have to worry about every little noise you make, or even drilling and hammering! White noise is a great sleep association and it really helps you be able to rush around the house and do whatever you want without worrying about waking the little ones. Since nap times and sleep times are when you probably do the things you’ve waited/wanted to do all day. Kids waking up early will shoot plans down quickly, so think smart.
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