Maybe it is just me, but when I added a kid to our household mix, I really struggled in the homemaking area for quite some time. Still do, in some areas…and our youngest is 3 years old!
So, I will just put it out there…parenting is more important to me than doing the dishes most days. Also a nap can take precedence over almost anything. But I still wake up and get frustrated with the fact that our home never seems to be as clean as I want it to be, and there are always more things that need to be done!
And I don’t have it all figured out yet, for sure. But I did discover that keeping my home with kids is almost always easier when I set up some simple (I mean really simple) routines.
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This month I have been sharing my tried-and-tested homemaking routines. The ones that I return to when our days get chaotic. I hope they are not a challenge to you to change your home to meet my standards. Rather, I hope they serve as some small spark of inspiration to help you problem solve in your home.
Since I have some well-honed routines for homemaking (pre-kids), I slowly worked on adding a few extra steps to accommodate for my little ones. Here are some SIMPLE homemaking routines I do in the evenings for a smooth start to the day. I do these the night before to make the next day smoother.
Clean/wipe down the high chair and set out a cup and plate for breakfast in the morning.
If your little one is still using bottles, make sure you have all the bottles you will need for the day cleaned and lined up, ready to go at feeding times. Sometimes this quick chore can be ignored for days at a time, leading to a big mess when it comes time to clean up. Getting into all those crevices of the chair and removing all those crumbs on a daily basis will keep this chore from getting out of hand. Having breakfast dishes ready to go first thing in the morning will give you one less thing to do in the morning before you have had your first cup of coffee.
Older kids may be able to help with unloading the dishwasher at the end of the day or early the next morning. Or they may be able to sweep the floor or wipe down the dining table. Older kids can also help the little ones But having everything ready to go first thing in the morning is so nice.
I also try to make sure I have easy breakfast options on hand. One of my favorites is our oatmeal packets. My kids love it when I make a batch of French toast and some jars of homemade apple sauce on the weekends. They can grab and go during the week; and I can help the little ones.
Plan one simple and quick activity for little ones
Thinking ahead with very basic activities for our little ones to enjoy can make preparing meals or getting something done around the house much easier. These activities don’t have to be elaborate – something as simple as getting a couple of bowls out of the pantry with some spoons and letting little ones at it.
Every activity we do around here is what I would call simple, requiring very little preparation. One of our most popular ideas is the What’s in the Bag? bag. And we have a ton more activities for little ones under the Growing Up tab over at Simple.Home.Blessings. For more inspiration, I really like these Instagram feeds:
Prepare to do laundry
I set the laundry hampers for my kids outside their bedrooms. That way I can be the “Laundry Fairy” at night or early in the morning. I can take the dirty laundry with me when I head downstairs after tucking in the little ones.
In the morning or at night if I have the energy at the end of the day, I can quickly run a load or two before the kids are up. Folded clothes find their way upstairs and are placed outside the door to baby’s room. In the morning, I can quickly put it away with the kids.
Staying on top of laundry and putting it away quickly just makes getting dressed easier. You can get out of the house a lot faster on the mornings you need to if you already have clean clothes ready to go and in their proper place.
Give a Kid an Hour
Ok, this routine is the hardest of my evening routines! Especially at the end of the long day. But when I do this, I feel more prepared, and honestly, like a better parent.
I dedicate an hour to preparing something for each one of my kids all week. That means I take an hour and make some project for them, prepare something for learning, or sit and think (and pray) about how to work through an issue specific to her/him. Each kid gets a night. Since we homeschool there always seems to be something I can create or prepare for my kids.
For the little ones, the items on this evening list can take up that hour nicely. I can prepare those simple activities for my little ones to do in their dedicated hour. Having some ideas of simple activities and having them prepared ahead of time helps tremendously during homeschool hours!
Go to bed early!
I don’t take advantage of this as often as I should! Getting the rest we need as parents definitely affects the day ahead of us. When I don’t get the sleep my body needs, I run low on energy and patience with our kids. When I do get my rest, my day is noticeably easier!
Going to bed early also prepares me to wake up early the next morning to work through my morning routines. I will address my morning routines for homemaking in another post.