Sanity-Saving Tips from a SAHM of Young Kids

Before becoming a mom, I worked full time as a dental hygienist. While I wouldn’t trade being a SAHM, I do miss a few things about being in the work force. One of the things I miss is a feeling of structure and routine to my days. As a SAHM of two young kids (ages 3 and almost 5), I often feel the days are chaotic and unstructured.

To offset that, I implement some things to make our days go more smoothly at home and help me maintain my sanity. It is a work in progress, and I am learning as I go!

Below, I share some of my sanity-saving tips as a SAHM of young kids. Most of these can be used by any parent, whether stay-at-home, or otherwise!

Don’t be a referee.

One of the things that causes me the most stress as a parent is my kids fighting. When we’re home all day, and the girls are with each other all day, it definitely becomes more of an issue. In the past, I found it difficult not to get involved in their squabbles by playing the referee. I am trying to get away from this, because it leaves me frazzled.

I back off when I can and let them work it out, which they often do. However, my kids are still young, so I intervene if there is a safety issue or someone is starting to get physical. But jumping in and micromanaging every time they start bickering is something I’ve let go, for the sake of my sanity.

Embrace a little screen time.

When my oldest was very young, I was big on the whole no screen time thing. I’m not sure why; I think mom guilt made me feel guilty for putting on the TV so I could get something done. Now my girls are a bit older and I’ve let go of that idea, at least somewhat.

When they’re watching a show in the morning is when I can take a shower. Afternoon TV time is when I get dinner prepped or made. Or sometimes I just have a snack and sit down while they’re occupied with a show. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break when you need it!

Get yourself some Loop earplugs.

Let’s be honest, kids are loud. If you are like me, and find yourself overstimulated by noise, a pair of Loop earplugs may be the solution you’re looking for. I’ve had mine for a couple months and use them often. They don’t completely block out sound, but they definitely take the edge off. When the symphony of whining or general chaos get to be too much, I pop them in. I can still hear my kids talk to me and can respond to them, but the volume is turned down, which keeps me feeling more calm.

Keep a tote bag in the car.

My kids have outgrown needing a diaper bag. But as a SAHM of young kids, I keep an empty tote bag in the car to carry things into the house: their water bottles we brought with us, empty snack containers, jackets that have been shed, sunglasses, etc. This is something I just started doing and I’ve found it so helpful. Once we get home and unload our things, the now- empty bag goes right back into the car for our next outing. This prevents me from having to carry armloads of stuff out of the car!

Leave the house on most days.

When my kids were really young, getting out of the house felt impossible. But these days, I find that leaving the house on most days, even just for an hour or two, is necessary for our well-being. They love an outing, whether it’s the playground, the library, or even just the grocery store.

It gives us something different and fun to do, which keeps them happy and cooperative (for the most part). It also reduces fighting (at least during the outing!). For me, getting out of the house means I’m not stuck in the cycle of trying to keep up with never-ending housework.

Make sure you have a snack bin for the car.

I’m embarrassed how long it took me to figure this out. Instead of grabbing everyone a snack on our way out the door, I keep a plastic bin in the car stocked with portable snacks. Our favorites are granola bars, raisins, and individual bags of crackers or pretzels. It definitely saves us a lot of hunger-related meltdowns. Best of all, it gives me one less thing to worry about when heading out of the house! Definitely a sanity-saver!

Prep, prep, and prep some more.

Prepping for things ahead of time has been one of the biggest sanity savers for me as a SAHM of young kids. It’s taken me some time to get out of survival mode and to be able to actually plan ahead, but now that I’m (mostly) there, it’s easier to maintain.

The things I prep ahead of time are usually meals, but any little thing I can do ahead of time usually works out to my advantage. I don’t always have the bandwidth to do prepping every day, but I do what I can! Prepping is one of my biggest sanity-saving tips for stay-at-home parents.

Morning Prep

I have discovered that my girls will occupy themselves for longer stretches in the morning than they will other times of the day. To take advantage of this, I prep their lunches after we eat breakfast and they’re playing. This might be cutting up fruit or veggies, or assembling a sandwich or an English muffin pizza to stick in the toaster oven later. The less I have to do at actual lunchtime, when everyone is hangry, the better. This is especially helpful if we’ve been out in the morning and are just getting home at lunchtime.

Afternoon Prep

By afternoon, my energy and motivation are usually fading. But I may get some dinner prep done while my kids are watching a show in the afternoon. That makes a bit less to do at dinner time.

Nighttime Prep

I get out the girls’ refillable water bottles for the next day and set them on the counter. We love these–they’re the only kid water bottles I’ve found to be truly leak-proof. (Another sanity-saver!) If anything for breakfast can be done ahead of time, such as scooping dry oatmeal into bowls, I do that. If it’s a preschool day for my oldest, I get her backpack ready for the next day and her lunch box out.

I hope these tips from a a SAHM of young kids are helpful for you–whether you’re a SAHM or not. Even if you just implement one or two tips, it’s a start! And remember, each day is a new day to start fresh once again.

Looking for more ideas to keep your kiddos having fun? Renee shares activities to promote kindness that your kids are sure to love!

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