5 Ways To Stay Sane At Home With The Kids: Checking Myself

A lot changed when we moved last month, not least the fact that I’m now at home 24/7 with the kids. This isn’t entirely new to me, but in a way it’s very new. I spent 7 months at home on maternity leave with Amelia when she was born, and I was out of work for 6 weeks when she  was around 15 months. I also spent 10 months at home on maternity leave when William was first born. The big difference this time around is that I am at home full time with both of the kids.

When William was born Amelia was at nursery 3 days a week, meaning that for those 3 days it was just me and Wills. When I was off work with Amelia, it was just me and her. I knew that being at home full time with both of them would have its challenges, and after just a week of our new routine I am beginning to realise the importance of just that; routine.


The Pramshed

I’ve always been a stickler for routine, and the kids thrive on it. But it’s way too easy to fall into the trap of wasting your days away when you’re at home full time. When we were all at home together just 2 days out of the working week, 1 crappy day didn’t really matter. Being at home full time is a different beast, and routine is the key to staying sane – for all of us!

5 Ways To Stay Sane At Home With Kids

  1. Get Dressed. It might sound like a no-brainer, but I’ve found the key to a successful and productive day is getting up and getting dressed. You’d find it pretty hard to get motivated if you went to work in your pj’s, and the same rule applies at home. If you’re up, washed, dressed and breakfasted it sets the tone for the day. That way, if and when you decide you want to pop out with the kids, it won’t take an hour to get ready!
  2. Don’t turn on the TV. I’ll level with you here; sometimes I think “fuck it” and turn the thing on straight after breakfast so I can get dressed, thinking it’s the easy option. But I always regret it. Wills isn’t at an age yet where it keeps him occupied for more than about 30 seconds, and there’s always a huge drama when I turn it off again, so usually I get them set up playing in their room before I do my thing. On a (rare) really good day, I’m up and dressed before they wake. As a general rule, I don’t switch the TV on until well after lunch and nap time, and most days it doesn’t go on until after dinner. Not having it on means the kids have to use their imaginations, they bug me less because they become absorbed in whatever they’re doing, and they’re more responsive when I need them to be. And the big bonus is there’s no tantrums about turning something off that was never on in the first place!
  3. Set a time for lunch and stick to it – every day! For me, this is a key part of our daily routine. Every lunchtime I ask Amelia “What happens after lunchtime?” and she replies “Naptime.” Lunch in our house is between 11:30 and 11:45. If we sit down any later than that, I know naptime’s going to be an arse. And I do not need to lose out on naptime! By starting early-ish with lunch, I don’t feel the kids need to rush, and they’re not yet so tired that they whinge and moan and don’t end up eating a thing. Usually by the time we’ve finished it’s around 12:30 and that, my friends, is holy grail time.
  4. QUIET TIME. Quiet time is so named because it doesn’t necessarily have to be naptime. Luckily for us it still is, most days. However, when Amelia really can’t sleep, the rule is that it’s quiet time until (at least) 1:30pm. This means that she finds something to do either in her room or her play shed and we are quiet for that period of the day. It might sound harsh, but we all really value that time, and let’s face it, we need it! It’s certainly not a bad thing for kids to learn to entertain themselves for a short while. I also think that the value of peace is a good thing for kids to practise too. I’m not going to lie, I’d go NUTS without nap/quiet time!
  5. The 20/20 rule. I’m all about allowing the kids to learn how to play together, without the need for constant adult input. I also have things that need to get done throughout the day, and trying to do those things while a 3-year-old thrusts a wooden cupcake in your face declaring it’s tea party time isn’t my idea of fun. So was born the 20/20 rule. 20 minutes of my undivided attention followed by 20 minutes of go-play-now-and-leave-me-the-fuck-alone. The 20/20 rule seems to keep everyone happy. The kids get regular attention throughout the day from me, and I’m more fun and playful having had the time I need to get things done, or simply drink a cup of coffee!


40 thoughts on “5 Ways To Stay Sane At Home With The Kids: Checking Myself

  1. […] Being at home full time with both kids has been a challenge on a level I have no shame in admitting I was probably only half prepared for. When I was working full time, I’d always empathised with my SAHM mum friends, knowing full well that what they were doing must be bloody hard (understatement of the century much?!) When I left my career and took on a part time role, I understood a hell of a lot more what those friends had been talking about. Making the decision to stay at home full time wasn’t an easy one, and I knew that I’d find aspects of it seriously tough. […]

  2. This is great, one of the most helpful parenting posts I’ve read in a long time. I love the 20/20 concept, and even more so that it made me realise that I don’t have to feel guilty about doing something for myself in amongst looking after the kids!

    1. It’s so easy to feel guilty isn’t it?! I just think it’s hugely beneficial for our kids to learn how to play independently in order for them to be independent in the future. I’m glad you liked the post, thanks for stopping by! xx

  3. This is brilliant, I did think it may just say; ‘wine, wine, wine, wine’ 😉 but it’s super helpful. I particularly like the 20/20 rule and I think I need to implement this at home. Thanks for being a part of the #bigpinklink this week.

    1. The 20/20 rule really is epic! Takes a while to get used to though, but is well worth sticking with! Also, wine..!! 😉

  4. Love this list, it is so true! We always have a bit of quiet time early afternoon while the youngest naps and I do a bit of whatever I need.. We do 1:1 time in the 30 mins before bed and that seems to work well 🙂 #dreamteam

  5. Brilliant tips and I especially love the idea of the 20/20 rule. I’m useless at imaginative play though and get so easily distracted! I’m more of a “let’s go out” kind of person but I definitely need to work on this. Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam x

    1. I generally just take my lead from the kids. Most of the time all they want is just for me to be present in those 20 minutes – really present with no phone, no distractions, no cooking or cleaning!!xx

  6. I love the 20/20 rule! I am definitely going to adopt this strategy! I need to get up early and get dressed otherwise I feel like I’ve wasted part of the day. Thanks for sharing this great tips! #ablogginggoodtime

    1. It works so well..! I find that a clear explanation and showing them on the clock when the 20 minutes is up each time really helps too xxx

  7. We are on the same sheet. I get up and dressed and feel like our day of business has started. We don’t have a TV, we have a projector, which my husband and I enjoy in the evening, she watched her 1st animation on Sunday on it and we will play films on it but because the doesn’t know anything else she’s so happy playing. She actually enjoys bring up books to be read, which I don’t think she’d do if we had a TV. Our lunch is at 12 and she naps after. I love the idea of quite time and 20/20. I’ll look into this. #BloggerClubUK

  8. This is so true! Love having some sort of routine otherwise 9am-9pm feels like a never-ending, crazy day. I like to take my kids to the library in the mornings for their toddler nursery rhyme program. It’s a great way to kill time and the kids are enjoying some activity that is educational.

  9. TV just like the internet or gaming can really suck your days away when there are so many more positive and life-enhancing things to do. I like your 20/20 idea especially as it involves mum getting a coffee!

  10. Quiet time is so important so everyone can regroup. Even just the kids reading a book or staring out their bedroom window as they do a puzzle. Be away from the group for a bit so you like them all again. #bigpinklink

    1. That’s exactly it… and gaining a bit of independence so we don’t end up with a bunch of grown kids who aren’t ever able to be on their own!xx

  11. I was nodding all the way through this and then I got to the 20/20 rule and was like ‘why the hell am I not doing this?’ GENIUS! Honestly, I think you’ve just changed my life for the better. Thanks so much for sharing such a fab post with #Blogstravaganza xx

    1. Haha! The 20/20 rule is a game changer, I’ll admit! I forget sometimes, and as soon as I do I remember how important it is for my sanity haha!!xx

  12. I love the 20/20 rule – what a great idea! If I don’t get dressed early enough, I do start to feel really lazy and can sometimes just end up slobbing out all day – which doesn’t really help anyone, so I totally agree with that! I’m on maternity leave at the moment and I’d agree that routine is key… I can imagine it is even more so when you have two young ones to deal with! Thanks for the advice and for linking up to #Blogstravaganza

    1. It’s mad how just a simple thing like getting dressed can affect your whole day isn’t it?! Routine definitely became more important with the addition of Wills!!xz

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