By Pam Bateson
As a single mother and an owner of my own business, I know too well the pressures of trying to fit everything into the day.
When so many of us not only face the task of having to fit the day job in between the school runs but now also do the day job and have the kids at home as many schools close, I thought it would be good to share some top tips that I have learnt from the past 14 years.
- Four hours of solid and focused hours of work at home is equivalent to eight hours in the office without all the distractions, interruptions, commuting and ineffective meetings, so use these four hours well. Get your head down and know what you must accomplish in this time.
- Rely on other mums – share the childcare. Kids are so much less dependent on you being their playmate when they have a friend in the house. Just make sure you plan a bit ahead and have crafts, things to build, bake, make, decorate, break, play, watch and do. Lay it out and set them off and check-in every 45 mins. I set up movie nights in the lounge at 1 pm after lunch. I close the curtains, give them snacks and drinks, turn the lights out and ensure the movie is at least one hour. Dens work for hours too with tea parties and pads and pens and treasure hunt planning.
- Take 45 mins off to get outside and run about. Take a ball, a bag to collect things and run off some energy together. Fresh air helps the mood and the brain.
- Plan the food, make sure you give them a good breakfast and lunch so they don’t keep on coming and asking for snacks and food all the time.
- Activities – I have sat many hours by the soft play, pool, gymnasium trampolining with my headphones and laptop whilst the kids have tired themselves out.
- Eat dinners with your friends and family and if needs be, take an hour in the evening once the kids have gone to bed to do that important piece of thinking. But set a time limit and switch the lights off and close the laptop and relax. Take time for yourself.
- Be quiet together – get the whole family to sit down together and read together, independently. That way you can read something you need to and the kids can read something they want to and you will role model the importance of being still.