Babies and toddlers can demand a lot of attention. However, you shouldn’t be expected to drop all other responsibilities while looking after them. By learning how to multitask, you can get other stuff without having to wait until your little one is asleep. Here are a few tips on how to effectively multi-task as a mum of a young child.
Prioritize what needs to be done
Before having a child, you may have had time to regularly dust your home or wash your car every week. Now that you’re a parent, these are unrealistic expectations – you can’t expect yourself to multi-task all the jobs you did before while also looking after a baby. Focus on prioritizing the tasks that are most important and that cannot be overlooked such as making yourself meals and tackling laundry.
Set up a routine
It can be valuable to set up routines. Not only does this motivate you to get important tasks done, but it also gets your little one into a rhythm. They may eventually start to pick up when it’s time for you to do household chores and they may learn that they have to occupy themselves during these times.
Use timers and alarms
When waiting to take food out the oven or make a call at a certain time, consider setting yourself alarms. If you get sidetracked because you have to change your baby’s nappy or feed them, the alarm will help to remind you of the other task you were doing so that you don’t forget to return to it. Alarms can also be used to help let you know when you should be doing chores throughout the day.
Embrace remote technology
Being able to remotely carry out tasks could be useful if you have your hands-full or can’t leave your child alone. There could be tools such as automatic gate openers that prevent you from getting out of your car when opening a gate to your home. You may also be able to use voice commands for making calls or even sending texts when you’re busy changing nappies or getting your child dressed.
Keep things easily accessible
Make sure that you have easy access to emergency items when you need them. This could include keeping baby wipes or muslin blankets in each room for when having to deal with mess or keeping your keys on a chain so that you don’t have to dig around in a bag to get to them while holding your baby.
Put your baby in a sling
Slings and baby carriers allow you to keep your baby close while also having your hands free. If your baby doesn’t like being put down while you do chores, this could be a great solution. It could also give you more freedom to go places that may not be buggy-friendly (such as having to climb up lots of stairs or going for a walk in the countryside).
Plan shopping trips ahead
When you have a baby, you can’t just pop out to the shop. Leaving the house requires huge amounts of preparation. For this reason, you ideally want to be able to do all of your shopping at once. Creating a shopping list of everything you need can prevent you from forgetting anything so that you don’t have to leave the house twice. In some cases, it could be worth buying stuff in bulk to reduce future shopping trips.
Do it online/over the phone
Don’t think you can face going to the supermarket? Why not do your shopping online so that you don’t have to make that journey? There may be similar tasks that you can do online or over the phone. This could be perfect for those days when you’re feeling exhausted and don’t want to leave the house.
Use healthy distractions
Distracting your little on could allow you to get on with chores without them craving attention. This could include putting on a favourite TV show or giving them some food. You may be able to work these distractions into a routine – they may look forward to when you do the washing up if it means that it’s the only time they get to watch a certain program or the only time they get to have a certain treat. Just make sure that you’re not constantly distracting your kids with TV or sweets.
Turn it into a game
You may be able to turn tasks like shopping, tidying or cooking into a game. This could help to make these tasks more fun for your little one while ensuring that they still get done. There are lots of ways to turn chores into games from dancing along to music to letting them play along with toys.
Let your toddler help
Once your child becomes a toddler, they may want to help with various tasks such as laundry or cooking out of curiosity. You may be able to set them simple tasks to help you and also keep them occupied such as helping to carry clothes from the washing machine to the bedroom with you or letting them mix the bowl while baking. Sometimes their help will be more of a hindrance, but they’ll stay entertained and you’ll still be tackling the task.
Accept help from others
Sometimes you can’t juggle it all by yourself. In these situations, you need to be willing to accept help from others. If a friend says that they can help pick something up from the shop for you or offers to cook dinner, let them do it if it helps you out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help too – If you need someone to run an errand for you or you need someone to babysit the kids for a couple hours while you catch up with housework, make sure to ask the favour instead of hoping they’ll come to you.