Staying at home to care for your kids is certainly a rewarding opportunity, but it is also a lot of hard work! No matter the age of your kids, staying at home all day with them leads to plenty of challenges. Taking care of them and their needs is forefront to this task, but it’s important to take care of you, too. Here are the top six survival tips for stay at home parents.
1. Make sure your home is safe for your child.
This is certainly important if your kids spent all day at school or at daycare, but especially important if they will be there all day long with you. Besides child safety products like the ubiquitous cabinet latch or outlet cover, you may also need swimming pool alarms, motion detectors to let you know when they come out of their bedroom, or a range of other security devices to make your life as a stay at home parent easier.
2. Take time for yourself.
Don’t feel guilty about taking time away from the home to meet up with a friend, go shopping, or have a cup of coffee. At least once a month, connect with your friends, the world outside your home, and your personal self. Grown-up time is especially important when you spend all day with children.
3. Work on your own personal development.
Outside of the workforce, it’s easy to become comfortable with who you are at the present. Whether you plan to go back to work once your kids are in school or not, work on professional skills, hobbies, and personal skills. Volunteer with a local organization, take classes online or in the evenings, or take a self-defense class to build self-assurance.
4. Budget carefully.
Being a stay at home parent doesn’t just mean that your income has been taken out of the equation; it often also brings with it the temptation to spend more. You’re at home all day long—why not take the kids shopping? Or maybe your hours in the living room have made you see the benefit of buying a new TV? Especially as you transition into this lifestyle, it’s important to pay attention to the financial reality.
5. Be aware that you’re the only adult home.
Be cautious about who knows this fact and who you let inside while you’re caring for your kids. You’re chasing after your toddler when you hear a knock at the door. In your rush to answer it, you don’t bother to look through the peephole to see who’s there. It could be a burglar—even dressed in the uniform of a delivery driver or a repair worker—and you’ve just let him walk right in through your front door. Some criminals target homes during the daytime, when most adults are away at work, putting you in a particularly vulnerable position.
6. Take your kids out of the house frequently.
Kids and adults alike begin to feel cooped up if they spend all of their days at home. Take your kids to children’s museums, story time, and other child-friendly events around the town. Just be sure to do it safely. Dress kids in bright colors so that you can spot them in the crowd, consider giving them panda bear-shaped alarms so that they can alert adults if they are lost or in danger, and of course, keep an eye on your children wherever you go.
Becoming a stay at home parent can be a dream come true, but many new parents struggle to enjoy it to its fullest. Being home alone with the kids—whether you have one infant or half a dozen teens in the home—is certainly a challenge for any parent, no matter how experienced, to handle. When you are a happy and confident stay at home parent, you will interact differently with your children, leading to a happier home environment.
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