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parental energyRaising children of all types requires a lot of mental and physical energy.  Just like we need to conserve nature’s energy, parents need to monitor, regulate and conserve their own parental energy for their own sake and for the sake of their children.  There are a variety of shortcuts that you can implement and share with other members of the family to help conserve everyone’s energy.

Here are some general ideas that may help you in your daily doings:

More Means Less when Conserving Parental Energy

More supplies in one place means less steps!  Think about cleaning supplies, child’s daily clothes for quick changes, fidgets, etc.

Keep more necessities in the car and throughout your home.

For some kids more structure means more confidence.

Less Can Mean More to Conserve Parental Energy

Consider a quick hand wash rather than machine wash.  This allows for favored clothes to be more readily available, which equates to less struggles when getting the kiddos dressed.

Allow for less focus on keeping the house in order. Use large bins and simply toss items into the bin, rather than putting them in specific places.  Less time focused on cleaning frees up more time for important things, like a stroll through the park with your child.  Added bonus, you may get more help from others because it is so easy!

For some kids less structure means less anxiety.

Save Time, Do It Now and Conserve Parental Energy

Sort the laundry as you pull it out of dryer rather than sort it later.

Clean up the bathroom right after your child’s bath so you do not have to come back later when you are tired.

Make the bed as soon as you get out so there is no need to return to it.

Cover the food you heat in the microwave to prevent unnecessary messes to clean later.

Tear off piece of an empty box of food and place it near the shopping list to be added later.  This is a great way to help remember what needs to go on the grocery list and you won’t forget a favored food item that is empty.

Save Time, Do It Later to Conserve Parental Energy

Let the dishes soak while getting your children ready for next activity, whether it is school, bed or bath.

If soft, moist food falls on floor such as rice or cereal, it is easier to sweep it up later once it is dry.  Or if you are lucky enough, let the dog get it!

Make a special place for mail to be reviewed later when house is quiet.  Keep a recycling bin next to you in this special place to save steps and time when throwing away envelopes and unwanted mail.

A Few More General Tips to Conserve Parental Energy

In addition to the tips above for your daily doings, here are some more general tips that I found helpful with 3 kids under the age of 8, one of whom was burgeoning child with isms.

Choose Your Battles

When my daughter fussed about taking a bath, I told her to just get in with her clothes still on.  After all, I knew they would get wet in the wash, anyway!  This crazy idea caught her so off guard that she happily got in the water filled the tub! As her clothes got heavier with the water, she eagerly took them off and the bath continued without a struggle for either of us!

Explore More >> Solution for Bath Time Battles with Your Sensory Defensive

Pack Car Necessities

My car always had two key necessities in it at all times – a nail clipper and a package of baby wipes.

Nail clipper – It is always easier to clip the nails when they fall asleep in the car.

Baby wipes – There is an endless need to urgent clean ups while on the go.

Don Clear Nail Polish

Back in the day, I wore clear nail polish rather than a color.  This way, I didn’t have to worry how it looked as it chipped off.  I still enjoyed the benefit of seeing my hands looking “dressed up” even if I was only wearing sweat pants, t-shirts and flip flops most days!

Release the Stress for All

When the challenges start to add up, I found that singing my words of instruction to my kids was a good release for both of our stress levels.   Sing using any familiar children’s song or just make up your own silly tune.

Explore More >> Get Your Child Singing – It’s Therapeutic

Remember, You Are the Parent

One important piece of advice to all parents – while you are your child’s support, advocate, and even his best playmate at times, you must still be the firm parent who provides important limits and guidelines at all times.

Implement “Mother Mantras”

I consistently used certain phrases to impress certain lessons upon my children.  I referred to these phrases as “mother mantras”.   My most used mantra was “when it comes to safety and health, no discussion”.  This was my way of letting the children know, there is a time and place for letting them make choices. Otherwise, the parents do.

Stock Up On Padding

Have lots of padded materials on hand for a wide variety of uses.

Foam insulation tubes placed on tops of doors will keep the doors from closing all the way if someone tries to slam it shut – protecting lots of little fingers!

Explore More >> Pool Noodles: Sensory Fun Outside the Pool

Secure good kitchen pads and place them by the sink, stove or any area where you stand for any length of time.  This will protect your back and legs!

Place gardening knee pads by the bathtub to make it easier on you when bathing your little ones.

Keep a Foot Stool Handy 

Foot stools are perfect as they allow you to sit low near the floor to be close to your child, while sparing you from the discomfort of the hard floor.

Prevents Splashes with Plastic

Wear a plastic coated apron when bathing your child.  It will help keep you dry from all the splashing!

Bend Less

Use a long handled dust pan to make life a bit easier – it will keep you from bending too often.

Make Friends with Gravity

Slide heavy laundry loads down the stairs, taking advantage of gravity when possible, rather than carrying loads down.

Pack It Up for Later

Words of caution – don’t finish any of your child’s left over food on their plate to avoid unnecessary weight gain.

There is a plethora of simple yet very effective strategies to simplify your daily doings with your children in tow.  Some of these suggestions, you are most likely implementing already.  Perhaps you have some suggestions of your own for other parents.  If you do, please share with us on Facebook!

Remember, all these little shortcuts can be shared with all family members to help conserve everyone’s energy.

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Joyce Cohen Olshan has been an OT for 35 years. She has worked with all ages, but most recently with children challenged with physical disabilities and those with sensory integration deficits. She created an interactive book, My Wake Up Book, for families to read in the morning with their young children who need some of our OT tools to help warm up their minds and bodies to start the day on their best foot.