Ready to Make a Family Home Double as a Kid-Free Space? Here’s How
How You Can Have Your Family Home Function as Your Quiet Sanctuary
Whether you have a squad of rambunctious kids roaming around your house all day, you live in a multi-generational household, or you’re just a tired parent, these tips will help you create space to wind down and get some time away from the kids for a few moments of your day. Even the best parents get exhausted — and when we are tired, we can’t function at our top performance. To be the best parent you can be, you have to take personal time to rest and regroup.
The layout of your home and the way that you use space can help you find “me time” in between rounds of play time. A busy, nonstop lifestyle can affect your physical and mental health, so stay on top of things by making sure you get plenty of rest. Your kids are happier when you’re happier, so take the time and space to decompress at home so you can be the best parent you can be.
These tips will help you turn small corners of your home into safe havens for you to relax and just be you for a few moments of every day.
Make Some Rooms Off-Limits
While the home should be a sanctuary for your kids too, there are ways for you and the kids to be able to share the sanctuary qualities of your home. Keeping your bedroom or the office a “kid-free space” will help reduce the mess and clutter in those rooms, in addition to giving you a place to “take ten” when you need it.
Whichever room you decide to make off-limits for the kiddos, phrase it in a positive way so that the kids don’t feel like they are losing a privilege. Take time while the kids are at school or on a playdate to decorate your new space so that it really feels like your own safe space. For you, this may look like updating your linens, getting a bouquet of flowers, or just giving it a thorough cleaning.
Set an Earlier Bedtime a Few Times a Week
Without drawing attention to the earlier time or making it feel like a punishment, start putting the kids to sleep ahead of normal schedule a few nights a week. Take this extra alone time to share a special meal with your partner, get some exercise, or just sit down and read a book or a magazine with a glass of wine.
You can ease into the transition of earlier bedtimes by installing blackout curtains in the kids’ bedrooms so that they aren’t bothered by the sunset on summer nights. You can also encourage your older kids to have quiet time before lights out — reading in bed can help kids wind down independently, even if they aren’t ready to close their eyes at 8pm.
Organize, Organize, Organize
You may sometimes feel like there is an unlimited supply of toys that will never be able to find a home besides the floor or the kitchen counter. Take a deep breath and pick up some organizational items that will help you store all of those colorful, plastic toys when they aren’t in use. Storage shelves, plastic bins, woven basket boxes, and canvas bins are all great ways to keep unsightly toys out of sight when they aren’t in use.
Work with the kids to get them used to cleaning up their toys after they are done playing. This may be an ongoing process, so try not to get frustrated at first. It may help to set up a rewards system with healthy dessert or extra play time as an incentive to keep the toys relatively orderly.
Get the Kids in the Habit of Cultivating an Occasional “Kid-Free” Space
Set up a chore chart with the kids, with items like folding and delivering laundry, organizing shoe closets, and cleaning the bathrooms. Each kid can get their own chart; use stickers or “X’s” to mark off chores that they have completed. When they fill up their chart or get a “connect four”—however you decide to organize your family’s charts – they can get a reward.
This way, the kids will minimize their own impact on the home’s environment without even realizing it. However you decide to forge your “kid-free” space, remember that you’re doing it in order to create a better home environment for the whole family. When the parents are happy, the kids are most likely happy, too.
Listen to signs that your body is giving you; when you start feeling exhausted or drained, having this extra space at home will make it easier to give yourself time to regroup and recharge.