Dear Dr. Renee,
I saw one of the other questions this week and decided I had to write, too. Parenting two young children was a bit crazy before the pandemic, but after a year, I’m tired. Honestly, some days I am drop-dead-exhausted. How do I do this while not feeling comfortable about having a babysitter in my house?
I just need a break!!!
Parenting can be exhausting and overwhelming when you don’t have simple systems or plans in place – even when we’re not in a pandemic! So many parents right now are, as you put it, drop-dead-exhausted.
I have a small tip to help you catch your breath, at least for a little bit each day.
In our house, we used to have “Feet Off the Floor” time.
It was similar to “nap time” or “quiet time” but my kids liked it much better as they grew out of naps.
There were certain quiet activities they could choose during that time or they could rest.
You have to teach “Feet Off the Floor” time and it won’t happen overnight.
Here are a few steps to get you started:
- Before you begin, think of a few quiet activities your children can do without supervision (i.e., reading/listening to a book, listening to music). I do not recommend electronics for this time!
- Start by introducing the idea to your children and make it seem ‘cool.’ You are ALL going to be doing this. They don’t have to nap, but everyone will need to be quiet and settled.
- Decide if you want your children to stay in their rooms (doors open or doors shut?) or in the main area where you can see them. It is a bit harder to be in the same room unless they are willing/able to read on their own or listen to the same audiobook.
- Begin with a short amount of time, such as 10 minutes, the first few days, and slowly build up to 20, 30, 45, and eventually 60.
Some days my children stayed in their rooms longer than the planned time, especially if they were reading good books or in the middle of a story/activity with their stuffed animals. But it took time to build up to that. There was definitely some push back at first, but it was time we ALL needed to unwind. It helped us regroup and make it through the rest of our day.
This is a great opportunity to Take Care of the Care Taker!
If you need help figuring out how to make “Feet Off the Floor” happen for your family, feel free to contact me. I’ll walk you through it.
Hang in there! You can do this!
– Dr. Renee