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How To Spend Less Time On Your Kids

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Spend Less Time On Your Kids

Does the crush of modern life often leave you with no time for yourself? Are you afternoons and weekends spent orbiting the activities of your children? Do you wish you had time to read Reese’s latest Book Club pick (I just finished Romantic Comedy and could not put it down) or go on a walk with a friend or binge watch White Lotus and finally understand what the big deal is? If you feel like a hamster running furiously on a wheel to nowhere I have 3 potential offramps to offer up. They all involve spending less time on your kids. Wait…what? Yes, spending less time on your kids. There is a difference between spending time on your kids and spending time with your kids. Spending less time on them entails cutting down on some activities and using that newly free time to do something for yourself. When you prioritize time for yourself to recharge your parenting batteries, you have more positive energy to bring to your time with your kids.

So how do you do this? Here are three places to edit down:

Drive Time

Carpools Save Time

 Count up the number of hours in the week you spend driving your kids to the many places they need to go. I bet it’s a lot of time. What if you had just half of that time back? I understand (and have experienced) the wonderful magic of time in the car with my children. But it isn’t always magical and it takes up a lot of time, especially if you have multiple children. I recommend carpooling. By participating in a carpool you can cut down your drive time by at least half and use that time to cook a recipe that takes more than 30 minutes, or curl up on your couch and read or meet a friend for coffee. Carpooling requires leveraging community and a little coordination but if you can make it happen you’ve just opened up multiple hours in your week.  And because you will always have at least one leg of a carpool you’ll still have the opportunity to experience the magic.

Game Time

Do You Attend All Of Your Kids Games?

Here’s something: You don’t need to attend every one of your kid’s games/meets/practices. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to any of their games, just not all of them. I understand that you likely enjoy watching your budding athlete do their thing out on the field or court, but it’s important to find a balance for multiple reasons. Not only are you benefitting from time spent on yourself but you are also teaching your child that you are a fully human person whose interests don’t revolve exclusively around your children. The kids might be upset at first but ultimately they adjust and come to have respect for your time. 

Homework Time

Coach Independent Homework Habits

This one is hard, especially if you have a kid who hates homework or has a hard time with school in general. It’s tempting to make a comfortable habit of working on their homework together but over time it can become a dependency that impedes your child’s ability to do their own work. Instead support their Homework Time by doing something yourself (reading, cooking, listening to a podcast) in the vicinity, quietly available if they get stuck and need some help.

Organizing your time so you have a good balance between yourself and your kids is possible, you only have to look for the clutter in your calendar. And while you nourish your own soul you’ll be simultaneously raising strong, independent humans. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity, and carving out time for yourself elevates the quality of the hours you spend with your children.


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