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As parents, we’ve all been there. There’s just always that situation when your friends without kids don’t understand the challenge of what parenting brings… especially in times like these.
A friend of mine was bored by himself after finishing Ozark on Netflix – and HE COMPLAINED to me that he had nothing to do!
I don’t know about you, but I would just love a day to myself to just binge a show. Especially now given that we are on top of each other all day long… for almost 4 months now.
That written, we are doing pretty well given how the last few months have gone.
Now I’m sharing my keys to keeping your sanity during this time so you can stay sane too:
Acceptance and New Perspectives
– Throw away your “normal” game plan and schedule you’re used to. Just admit yourself you aren’t going to have the time you had before, so just embrace that rather than resist it.
– Follow your kids’ lead and live in the moment. We made this change and it was pretty magical. Three-year-olds are present, like really present. They’re in the moment. There’s no grudge-holding or dwelling or worrying. It’s all about right now.
They don’t worry about the future and they don’t bring up the past. These dudes should be working at the Chopra Center. And their default is naturally joyful and curious.
They belly laugh daily. They sing and paint and run and have the funniest conversations with each other in the bathtub. And these dudes run out their batteries every single day.
By ripping up the old game plan, we transformed our relationship to being stuck inside together and have experienced the magic of life through a three-year-old’s eyes. They have a lot to teach all of us about what’s truly important.
Surrender to The Screen
That’s right. Let them watch TV or play on a tablet. It’s not a bad thing!
My kids have watched more movies than Roger Ebert these past few months. Who cares?
Two of my closest friends were practically raised by TV and they are executives at two of the most recognizable companies in the country today.
Instead of sweating screen time, be thankful that we all have screens during this time. Think of it like dieting. Most people accept that from Halloween through the end of the year our pants are going to feel tighter.
You can get back on track when the world is back on track (whatever that new normal will look).
Here are some great ways to still find educational opportunities while using screen time:
- Live stream puppet shows
- Play one of these educational online computer games for toddlers
- Try kids yoga
- Listen to Dolly Parton read bedtime stories
- Check out the San Diego Zoo hippo cam – and check to see if your local zoo has a cam like this too
- Using a Kid’s Kindle Fire. It comes with a free year of Free Time so they have access to 100s of free apps and content – and you can set time limits on it all!
Work Together and Be in the Present
Trying to multitask is incredibly stressful and ineffective. It’s so easy to try and handle a quick email or call while watching the kids – and I’m sure the email had typos and the kids were screaming in the background on the call.
I know my work suffered AND I wasn’t present as a parent.
Focus on just one thing and do it with your full attention. You’ll feel better. You’ll feel more effective and more connected.
Here is how I changed that mentality and increased not only my work quality but my parenting ability too:
– Keep your phone out of the room when watching the kids. If my phone is on me I’ll check it; it’s like I’m addicted.
– Lock yourself in a room to get work done. This means altering your schedule if you need to.
For example, I started to do a lot more work in the evenings after the boys were down because it’s an uninterrupted block of time. It’s a tough change at first, but you’ll be more effective.
– Tag team and do recharge sessions. My wife and I started giving each other 20 minutes to do what we wanted/needed. Grab a power nap or a quick run on the treadmill.
It’s amazing what 20 minutes does for one’s sanity.
– Challenge yourself to try something new. It may seem like you’re just surviving at times but take those 20 minutes to yourself and try something new and challenging.
I set a goal to lose weight and did it by getting the Fitbit app on my phone. Then, I challenged a good friend to daily steps battles.
I kid you not, the first day we battled I walked 35,000 steps in my house. I’m pretty extreme, but by doing this challenge it gave me a personal goal to chase while being stuck inside with the family.
Your sanity is just as important as your work and kids. This time will pass, and you will be a better person for it with these tips.
About Guest Blogger Peter
Peter is the dad behind the blog Seeing Double.
He is a boots-on-the-ground, work-from-home father of twin boys who gets up before the roosters and edutains his sons most of his waking hours.
He loves being a Dad more than anything else in the world.