Ahh, the Christmas holidays – such a joyous few weeks spending quality time with your little cherubs. That is, until you hear ‘but why, Mummy?’ for the 73rd time in the last 30 minutes.
Sometimes, you’d give anything for a minute of solitude, washed down with a cheeky glass of wine. When you can’t eat in peace, go to the bathroom in peace or even sleep in peace, give these tricks – courtesy of Jenny Vanderhoek, mother and CEO of the ingenious childcare finding app Mynder – a try.
1. Dial a friend
Does Grandma live out of town and isn’t around for babysitting duty? That doesn’t mean she can’t help! Next time you are desperate for a few minutes to yourself, call up a relative and put your child on the other end of the phone. They get some phone time and you get a bit of downtime – win-win!
2. Competition time
Set a timer for as long as you need (45-minute bubble bath, anyone?) and challenge your kids to complete a task in that time. Whether it’s drawing you a picture, building a Lego tower that’s taller than they are or even cleaning their room, if you promise a prize at the end, you’ll be rewarded with major me-time!
We’re not silly enough to think that you are actually going to be able to get your child to sleep at a convenient time – instead, have a compulsory rest time where sleep is not expected, but quiet is. Hand over a stack of books or some low-noise toys and lock that bedroom door. This is an oldie but a goldie!
4. Fold the laundry
Got a massive pile of laundry and a hyper child? Perfect. Ask your little helper to sort the laundry into piles for each member of the family. There’s a high chance that you will have to re-sort the washing but that seems a price worth paying for some peace and quiet. After all, turning chores into games is a trick as old as parenting itself.
5. Guilt-free screen time
If you’ve tried everything else and you still cannot move more than 30cm away from your child without a melt-down ensuing, it’s time to succumb to the hypnotic powers of Peppa Pig. Seriously, give yourself a break and turn on the TV for half an hour. It’s not a crime.
6. Make the ultimate dance party
What child doesn’t love music? The best part of growing up is playing your favourite tunes and dancing with your buddies, so clear the lounge room and make a decent size space for the kiddies to move around! Blast their favourite tunes and feel confident in the fact that you’ll will have at least 30 minutes of time to knock over your ‘to do’ list.
7. Set up a craft station
This one is bound to keep the kids entertained for hours. Whether it’s drawing or colouring in, painting, or playing with play doh, set up a new station for each child and swap them every 30 minutes to an hour. That should at least give you two to three hours of pure Zen.
8. Create a ‘Box of treasures’
My mum used to do this for me when she was on her last legs and after some serious relaxation time, and I know it was an absolute winner. Fill a shoebox with a bunch of miscellaneous objects that the kids either haven’t seen before or haven’t played with in a long time (figurines, old pics, buttons, a book you used to have as a child etc.), then sit back and relax whilst your kids get immersed in a box of random stuff. Hint: the more stuff, the longer the break.
“Parenting is unlike any other job in the world,” Jenny says, “it’s 24hr shifts and no-one really knows who’s boss!”. That’s why Mynder exists – to give you a break when you need it. With the help of Mynder, and these sneaky tips, you’ll be rolling in me-time. Plus, when things get rough you can always throw a tantrum – it seems to work for your toddler doesn’t it?