Christmas is coming which means … all the kids will be home from school!! I’ve seen a lot of, “I won’t be able to get anything done!” so I just wanted to share a few things I’ve learned since we started homeschooling (aka, kids home all the time)! Now, I’m NO expert in this, and this won’t solve all your problems, but I just want to help in anyway I can! I’m also encouraging myself with this daily, because I don’t/won’t ever have these things perfected. Ok, so here are a few tips and ideas:
- Lower your expectations. Our children have lots of needs. Oh, wait, you knew this?! 😉 Its always “Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, can you help me? Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, I spilled. Mom, I finished going to the bathroom….oh wait, I’m not done yet. Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, he/she hit me. Mom, so-and-so took my toy! Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, I broke you’re stuff as we were bouncing off the walls. Mom, I’m not going to listen. Mom, you really think you can pee in peace? Mom, I wet the bed. Mom, I had a bad dream. Mom, I’m hungry. Mom? mom? MOM!!! WHERE ARE YOU?!”
And then times all that by the number of kids you have.
Ok, you get the point! HA! I’m constantly getting annoyed and then constantly reminding myself that yes, they have needs. My job is to care for the needs, nurture, love and be an example to them. And to be honest, sometimes I think they go overboard and we do just flat out need a break. Amen? But we have to remember that they do need us. They need our help, our love and our patience. And one day they won’t need us so much, remember that too.
- Plan your days. I really noticed I had to do this when we started homeschooling. I had to be very intentional to plan ahead with school, outings, and activities. I try to plan and prep projects for them to do, game ideas, a fun outing I could take them on, or even plan just having a day at home. By doing this I can also plan MY tasks. If we are spending a whole morning at the zoo, I need to wake up earlier that morning to start some laundry, pack the lunches, and tidy up so we don’t come home to …well, our own zoo. If I don’t pack the lunches before, or while I’m making breakfast, I get way too behind and everything is more chaotic. It’s even HARDER to get out the door. While we are on this topic I will say I also plan their “TV” time. For example, if we are going to the zoo, I’ll get them ready and then turn on a show while I load the car and do a quick tidy. Use it strategically as an aid instead of turning it on just because they want it on. 🙂
- Online shopping.
It worked out really well because right about when the school year started our local Walmart started grocery pick up. If you haven’t heard of it, you order online, reserve a time slot to pick up, and they bring your groceries out to your car. All the things. It has saved me so much time and stress!! Before I would either take all 3 kids, or have to spend kid-free time…at the store. Boo. If you don’t have a store locally that does this, there’s also the option of Walmart delivery to your house with non-perishable items to your home…free of charge if you spend $35 or more. Or maybe you have Amazon Fresh! I do make Costco trips and a random store trip for a few things, but its better than doing a big shopping trip with kids! Anyways, maybe try something like this if you are worried about taking the kids out shopping when they aren’t in school (and not to mention fighting the crowds!).
- When you have things you just have to get done (wait, when don’t we?!) try spending some quality time with the kids first, and then do your tasks. For example, sometimes if I do have to take them grocery shopping, I’ll take them to a park first…something they like, and something that burns some energy. If I have to get some work done around the house we will play out front first, or I’ll try to do something intentional with them. I then feel better about telling them, “Ok, mommy has to get some things done now”, and they usually do better after I focus just on them. Maybe you could set up some train tracks, set them up with a project, build a fort, etc. And YES, you’ll still be interrupted, but I do think it helps…even a little 😉
- Make everyone have “down time” in the afternoon. Even if they don’t nap because they’re usually at school, still do it. Make a certain hour quiet time…aka, keep-mom-sane-time. I think its good for everyone. They can take a nap, read, play quietly with legos, etc.
- Give them some chores to do, and maybe add incentives. As most of you know I’m on a purging frenzy. So last week I actually told my kids I would pay them if they got rid of toys! My husband said, “So we spend money on toys, and then we pay them to get rid of the toys?!” Ha! But, they got excited when they came out with some trinkets and got a quarter…they even went back for more things to give away. To me, its worth the $1 I spent 🙂
- Use the crock pot. I know this is random but, when life is a little crazy, crock pots can help that mad dinner hour! Here are a few of our favorite recipes the whole family enjoys.
1. Chicken Pot Pie. My whole family loved this! And we even splurged and made the Pillsbury Grand Rolls to go with it.
3. Shredded Chicken. I couldn’t find a recipe for this but its something my mother-in-law shared with me and the whole family loves it because its basic! Here’s the jist: Throw in a few frozen chicken breasts, add a tsp or 2 of minced garlic and 1/2 a diced onion, cover 3/4 of the way with chicken broth, and then add some salt, pepper and a few TBS of cumin. Cook on high for about 6 hours. Shred the chicken then make burritos, tacos, or nachos!! Super yummy and easy!
- Savor the time with them! Savor the fact you don’t have to rush them off the school. I love our slow mornings at home! Take a minute to breath and slow down…even if you have a million things to do.
Here are some ideas (if you need them) of things you can do:
- Pack a picnic lunch and explore a new spot
- Build a fort and watch a movie with a projector. (See here for a good priced projector!)
- Pick a puzzle for the family to work on throughout break! My kids enjoy this puzzle and this puzzle! If you’re kids are a little older, click here and here for a few fun ideas!
- Try a new park or indoor trampoline place (especially if its snowing where you live!)
- Take them out for a treat. I love taking the kids to starbucks, letting them eat a bagel, and just hanging out together! It’s kind of our thing now. Sometimes it’s a little crazy, but its fun. I find if I’m away from all the tasks at home I can focus on them more.
- Have a “theme” day. The other day we talked, crafted, and read about reindeer! I also printed a world map and they colored in where reindeer live. It was a fun way to learn! This is the book we read, and then I used good ol’ pinterest to print some things out!
- If you are traveling, order a new book on CD! The DVD player in our car broke this summer and I’m actually glad about it! We now listen to a book on CD instead, and sometimes we mix it up with fun kid music. This is the book on CD my son is really enjoying, and these are some fun kid songs for the car!
- Have a day with no plans. I think its just good for everyones soul sometimes 😉
I hope my simple ideas were helpful in someway! And I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas celebrating with those you love!!!