If you are like me, you are constantly trying to maximize your productive time each day.
But with a busy toddler running around, with serious needs like rescuing his dinosaurs, this is not always easy! Aside from encouraging independent play and having a toddler “help” with chores, I’ve learned that if I want to get stuff done I have to be creative. These are 5 unconventional ways you can maximize your productive time with littles at home.
Swap childcare with a friend.
A good friend of mine is also a work-at-home mom. Neither of us are full time, which gives us some flexibility. Sometimes nap time and post-bedtime is just not enough time to get our work done and take care of everything else we have to do. So we developed a schedule where we swap off childcare two hours a week. She takes care of my son at her house one afternoon and then her son comes to play at our house for two hours another day. Having two hours of uninterrupted time to get stuff done is life-changing. Plus our kids love having the extra playtime with friends. It’s a win-win for sure.
Organize a craft day.
During the colder months of the year when occupying young kids can be challenging, a group of my friends and I organize a craft day. Usually on Wednesdays the four of us rotate between houses. One mom organizes a craft while another mom prepares the snack. The other two moms have the hour and a half to tackle their to-do lists or take some time to relax (I don’t know that we have ever really done that! But it’s definitely an option).
Find a gym with childcare.
The YMCA has been a valuable resource to me as a mom. At first I didn’t realize how amazing the childcare aspect would be, but I quickly learned how 30 minutes on a treadmill can reset your day. Sometimes I utilize the café and write while Ezra plays with other kids under the watchful eyes of trained professionals. And other times my mom friends and I sip cheap coffee with powder creamer and pretend we are at a posh coffee shop.
Make some busy bags.
I’ll admit, when I first saw these on Pinterest I thought, “No way. NO way will my busy boy be entertained with a bag of stuff.” Busy Bags are little bags you make ahead of time with an independent activity inside. You just give your kid a few simple instructions and let them tackle it on their own. Although I was skeptical, I decided to make one just to see. I started with a super-easy one that didn’t require many supplies or time from me. And guess what! My child sat at the dining table and played with the busy bag for 10 minutes straight. Now, this might not seem like a big deal to you, but for MY kid, 10 minutes of independent play is an accomplishment. If you are curious, I’ve put together 3 of the easiest Busy Bags on the planet for beginners so you can try them out. I also have a whole board of them on Pinterest + activity boards for Babies , Toddlers, and Preschoolers.
Find a “Mother’s Helper.”
Ever feel like you just need an older sibling for your little ones? Lucky you, if you have one hanging around, but if you don’t maybe ask an older neighbor or family friend to help—someone who isn’t quite old enough to babysit alone, but wants to start practicing. Pre-teens will love the extra $10 and you will discover you can get a lot done at home if you have someone entertaining your kiddos under your watchful eye.