In our house, the day starts pretty early- at least one child is wide eyed and bushy tailed at 6 am, leaving behind remnants of what was the brief calm before the storm. Some days, there is no denying that I feel like I’m doing a myriad of things all at once, while being teacher, lunch lady, janitor, chauffeur, etc and still just, ya know, being a mom..and more recently, freelance working in the midst of it. The number one question I get is.. “do you ever get “me” time?” or the common concern of…” I really want to home-school BUT I would NEVER get time alone.”
Listen, free time is completely attainable with a little bit of planning and prioritizing.
Here are 5 practical tips to getting that time in:
1) Stay up a little later- I LOVE the stillness of the night- its perfect for regrouping my thoughts, working, reading, whatever I want- after the kids go to bed.
2) Wake up a little earlier- I use this time to workout and have tea/coffee, so by the time I start doing things for everyone else, I have already done something for myself. This makes all of the difference!
3) Schedule in down time- we have scheduled nap and reading times in our home.
4) Teach your children to work independently- I don’t check anyone’s work until it’s all complete, which means that after teaching them the lesson, there’s 45 mins- 1 hour that they work independently.
5) Create structure and set expectations- We focus the first couple weeks on learning how to read and follow directions, how to use an index, table of contents, etc- which eliminates a lot of the constant “neediness” during school time. I also ensure that all pencils and crayons are sharpened prior to the school day. This also extends to my preschooler, he has a series of work books and constructive activities that he can work on while i’m working with the older kids. Recently, he has gotten into the habit of sitting with them and working alongside them; meanwhile the 1 year old doesn’t always get it but she mostly hangs out with her toy under their desk or snags a crayon and paper.
Another thing that has worked exceptionally well was purchasing planners for the kids this school year. I schedule in all of their activities, along with their lessons for the week every Sunday. They can work as fast as they want or ..as slow as they want, but everything has to be completed by Friday.
I guarantee you that if you place “ME” time on your priority list, and plan well- it will be achieved!