How to spend quality time with your kids when you're a busy mum

You spend so much of your time cooking, cleaning, and taking care of everyone that sometimes it's easy to forget about spending time with your kids. Whether you're just chatting or having fun together spending quality time with your kids is important. Finding the time though, when you're a busy mum, can be difficult - there's always something to be done. But it IS possible to do it all...



How to spend quality time with your kids when you're a busy mum




What is quality time?


First of all you need to think about what you classify as quality time - because really any time spent communicating with, or even just being with your kids, can be classed as quality time. If you're having fun, chatting, being together, it's all good for them - and you.


How To Spend Quality Time With Your Kids When You're A Busy Mum | Laugh with your family - it's all quality time.
Don't forget to laugh together!



Spend quality time with your kids while cooking or cleaning


Have you ever noticed how the kids get all excited when you ask them for help? I'm talking younger kids here - the teens will likely roll their eyes at you or think you're being mean (and that's a whole other thing!). My youngest, who is now 10, loves to help with everything. If I asked him to help me with cooking dinner he'd love it - and the great thing is if you use a simple recipe, as suggested by Real Mom Help in her post 10 Simple Ideas for Spending Quality Time with Your Child, they can do a lot of the work too. If I asked for his help with the cleaning he'd jump at the chance - despite not ever wanting to do his own chores!


How To Spend Quality Time With Your Kids When You're A Busy Mumn | Make breakfast together - and eat together too!
Make breakfast together. And eat together too!



The thing here is to get the kids involved in the things you do on any normal day. By involving them in your mum duties you're not only teaching them about the cooking and cleaning, but you're also showing them what you do when they're not around. You get to spend quality time with them, chatting and doing work, while also teaching. That's a parenting win right there!



Get errands done and spend quality time together


Everyone knows that most errands you have to run when you're a busy mum are pretty dull. Food shopping, nipping to the pharmacy, even birthday shopping, it's almost never for yourself and no one thanks you for it - but they're jobs that have to be done. So instead of leaving the kids at home, or waiting until they're at school, why not just take the kids with you?





Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised and today is short.

Unknown





With the food shopping you can send them to look for something you want. I usually send LP off to get bread. But while you're shopping you get to talk to them too. You can wander up and down the aisles, and sometimes it will even spark a conversation you weren't expecting. I remember once discussing race and the differences between food and cultures after LP spotted curry ingredients in one of the aisles and then asked why different countries like different foods. It was an interesting, and sometimes difficult, conversation to have but I feel like we connected and LP learned something. 



Spend a day together and you'll get quality time


Have a day - probably during the school holidays - where they spend an entire following you around. Whether that's watching/helping you with household chores, going on errands with you, or just sitting with you while you fold and iron clothes. They may get bored during some of it, but they will learn and you can spend the time talking. 


How To Spend Quality Time With Your Kids When You're A Busy Mum | Get the kids in on the chores!
Get the kids involved with the chores and it goes quicker as well as you get to spend time together.



Again by sharing what you do with them they're learning that you don't just sit home all day waiting for them to return from school. You have your own jobs and while you do stay home it's not to watch TV all day - unfortunately. It's healthy for your kids to see the things you do for them, but it's also good for you to show them how much work you do. It will make you feel better, because we all feel a bit rubbish sometimes don't we? And again, you get to talk about all kinds of things while you spend the time together.



Crafting can help you spend quality time with your kids


I'm not really much of a crafter, but I do have lots of craft equipment in my office. I even have a craft drawer downstairs that the boys can access whenever they want. They don't choose to often but it's there if they want it. And when they do choose to, they often want me to get involved too.

Crafting is a great way to spend time with your kids. You can all get messy creating something beautiful (or something messy if that's your thing), you laugh as you make mistakes or go wrong, and most importantly you have fun together.


How To Spend Quality Time With Your Kids When You're A Busy Mum | Paint - fun for all the family.



When both my boys were younger we used to have messy days. I'd get the paints out and let them go nuts and they loved it. I have a photo of BP after one of our messy days and he has paint all over him, on his face, in his hair, even in his ears! And BP still remembers that day - he laughs when he looks at the photo and can't believe he ever did it. At 15 I think it's great that he remembers this kind of thing, it sparks good memories for him and that makes me smile.



Engage in the things they like in order to spend quality time with your kids


Whether it's Fortnite or Minecraft, Teletubbies (are they even still around?) or Thomas the Tank Engine, showing an interest in the things they like will bring you closer together. I was just talking to BP yesterday about how much he used to love Ben 10, and we reminded him how many Ben 10 related things he had. His school bag, his lunch box, clothes, toys, even his watch was Ben 10 branded. And as his mum and dad we knew all the characters names and their special abilities (not that I could tell you them now!). These days it's more about Fortnite, and the Hubby plays too. He knows all about V-bucks, "skins", and Battle Passes (all Fortnite terms), and while I know a little about it I'm no expert - which is a good thing according to Parent.com who, in their post How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Child, say that letting your kids "kick your butt" is showing you are human and vincible. 


How To Spend Quality Time With Your Kids When You're A Busy Mum | Get in on the gaming!



The thing is, because we know a little about the things they like our boys enjoy talking to us about those things. If we had no idea what they were talking about they'd wander off and chat to friends, or keep to themselves. By engaging in their hobbies, or their favourite shows, we're showing them we are open to learn and they are more likely to talk to us about their other likes and dislikes because of that.



Spend quality time reading to your kids at night


For years I read stories to my boys before they went to sleep at night. It was our quiet time together and I know they both enjoyed it. BP, my eldest who is now 15, used to love listening to the different stories but would fall asleep after I'd been reading for 10 minutes or so. I tried time and again to read Dr Seuss Sleep Book to him but we never managed to get to the end - he was always asleep before we got to "goodnight". LP, now 10, was completely different. He would stay awake until I had finished the very last page and then he'd ask questions about the book. His favourites included The Dinosaur that Pooped series, Dr Seuss was a regular, and the Mr Men books featured often too. Because I'd always wanted to read Dr Seuss Sleep Book and actually reach the end I tried it with LP, and of course we got to the end - every time. And every time he would ask different questions about what he'd heard. He recognised characters from other Dr Seuss books, his vocabulary increased, and we had at least 30 minutes quality time together every single day. I will always cherish that time - and I know they will too.





Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

Regina Brett





While my boys are no longer at the age they want me to read to them I know that by spending time reading with them before bed I got to spend quality time with them every day for years. I read to my boys from the day they were born, with BP I stopped when he was around 6 years old because he asked me to, but by then I was reading to LP too. I didn't stop reading to LP until he was 8, and that was only because he could read himself by then and wanted to move on to bigger stories. 

When your kids settle down for the night, and you're reading their favourite - or what could become their favourite - story, you're showing them how much you want to spend time with them. You want to put in the time, and even if they ask a million questions when you're finished - it's worth it.



Any time with your kids is quality time


As I said before, any time you spend with your kids is quality time. They are more likely to remember the times you spend laughing and playing together, than how much time you spent in the kitchen making dinner. Spend time with your kids and your bond will strengthen, you'll make connections that will last a lifetime, and when - if it happens - you have grandkids, you can smile because  it was all worth it.


How To Spend Quality Time With Your Kids When You're A Busy Mum | Get out and about with your family - and ignore the cleaning.
We love walking in Wollaton Park.



If you prefer listening to podcasts I've been listening to The Girl Next Door Podcast and while their kids are younger than mine I can totally relate to them. The episode Quality Time with Kids is great, it's full of good ideas and chat about spending time with your kids, and if you do listen let me know if you would love to try the cocktail they mention at the start of the podcast. I can't wait to try it!


How To Spend Quality Time With Your Kids When You're A Busy Mum | Spending time isn't just about the big things, involve them in the little things too.



What are your favourite ways to spend quality time with your kids?




Grab the colouring page and spend quality time colouring in with your kids.


9 Self-Care Activities You Can Do in 10 Minutes

Making time for self-care activities when you're a mum can be tough. With kids running riot during the day, and the chores and your partner wanting your attention at night, it's easy to see that finding time for yourself is difficult. But you can spend time on yourself with these 9 self-care activities you can do in 10 minutes!





There is no picturesque version of what self-care looks like; it's different for every person who wants to practice it.

Jenna Wortham





Take a shower




9 Self-Care Activities You Can Do In 10 Minutes | Take a shower and you'll feel a ton better!
Taking a shower can make you feel like you again.



A quick shower can do wonders for your mood. Washing away the stress and strain just getting 10 minutes to take care of yourself can set you up for the day. Whenever I get a chance for a shower it's like the sun is shining. The water flows over me and I smile because it's time just for me, no one bothers me and I'm completely alone.



Write in your journal


9 Self-Care Activities You Can Do In 10 Minutes | Write about your day in your journal.


Journaling can really help with your mental health, or even just to get ideas out of your head so you don't feel so cluttered. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by everything I write, I get the ideas and thoughts out of my head and when I take the time to do that I feel so much better. We spend so much time thinking about everyone else and storing information in our head that we can get "clogged up" and suffer as a result. Take 10 minutes for self-care, get things out of your head occasionally, and you might find yourself smiling a little more.



Put on make up


This could be a full face of make up or just a little lipstick. I don't do full face make up, it would take me hours, but I do like to wear a little mascara and shiny lip balm. These days, as I get older I need highlighter under my eyes too so I don't look so tired. But to be honest I like to keep it simple. Just using those three things I feel loads better. I don't have to spend ages putting on make up and I get that little boost to my confidence - even if I'm not going anywhere.



Paint your nails




9 Self-Care Activities You Can Do In 10 Minutes | Take some time to paint your nails!
I always enjoy painting my nails - it makes me feel good.



Like I said I'm not much for the beauty stuff, but I do like to paint my nails regularly. Somehow it just makes me feel good. I don't spend hours in a salon having my nails done, it's just normal nail polish (I like Rimmel Super Gel) and I do it myself. When I get 10 minutes I spend it on one of my favourite self-care activities - I paint my nails. Then, even though the rest of me may look shocking, I can look at my hands and smile, because at least something is nice and put together. 



Do your hair


If you're anything like me you get up in a morning give your hair a quick brush and then throw in back in a hairband or quick bun. Most of the time I like my hair to be out of the way, up off my shoulders and tied back so it doesn't get in the way when I'm cleaning. But sometimes I'll take the time to "do" my hair. And no, I don't spend ages on that either. Just 10 minutes is all I need to put some mousse in my hair, scrunch it up, and leave it. That's it. 



9 Self-Care Activities You Can Do In 10 Minutes | Do your hair, it'll make you feel a little better.



I've got curly hair, well wavy really, but I don't like to spend ages messing about with hairdryers and special products so all I do is bung some mousse in, scrunch, and done. And to be honest I love how my hair looks when I do that. 

Why not take 10 minutes for yourself and make your hair look nice? It's amazing the difference it can make when you can look in the mirror and say "huh, my hair looks good today!".



Meditate


If you can find 10 minutes this self-care activity can really help. Simply sitting in the quiet and breathing is therapeutic. It helps you let go of the things the aren't important, it helps you focus, but most of all it helps you centre yourself. 





I like to sit in my backyard. I go out on the hammock and sit in silence and kind of meditate. Nature is calming, and it's nice to go out there and clear my head.

Devon Werkheiser





The thing with the word "meditate" is that if you're anything like me you imagine sitting cross-legged with your hands out to your side, forefinger and thumb making a circle, saying the word "om". And it makes you giggle. But meditation isn't about finding the right pose, it's about getting a little time to sit and basically do nothing. To clear your mind, concentrate on your breathing, and calm yourself. When I get the chance (which isn't often) I do like to sit on my bed, eyes closed, and just clear my mind. I sit and breathe, and do nothing else. It's a calming experience and can really help with those hectic days.



Read a chapter


Nothing says "me time" like sitting to read a chapter of your favourite, or current, book. Taking 10 minutes for this self-care activity is not only helping you get time for yourself but depending on the book you're reading you could also be working on improving yourself (not that you need improving!). I'm currently reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F***: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson and it's quite different to my usual reads - like Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. My book is opening my eyes to my own thoughts and actions and I'm making small changes in my thought processes to try to improve things. That's not to say I think I need improving, just that the book has helped me see some bad habits I've got into. 



9 Self-Care Activities You Can Do In 10 Minutes | Read a chapter of your book - a great escape.
Escape adulting and delve into your favourite story.



Reading is a way of letting go of the day-to-day stuff. To escape, if you're reading fiction, into a far off land where you watch the lives of other people (or creatures). You broaden your horizons, you go on adventures, and experience all the emotions that go along with it. And taking the time to read during the colder months is brilliant because you can snuggle under your favourite fleecy blanket with a hot coffee and your book!



Colour in




9 Self-Care Activities You Can Do In 10 Minutes | Colour in with your kids, you'll both have fun!



A while ago adult colouring seemed to take off in a huge way, and while it seems to have died down again I think it's a great way to spend 10 minutes. The other thing about colouring is that you can involve the kids too! Give them a colouring page, grab your own colouring book or page, and get colouring. It's a great way to spend time with your kids but you're also getting that all important self-care time.



Waste time


Whenever I look at self-care activities that people suggest it almost always consists of taking care of yourself activities like the ones above. It's about making sure you get time to make yourself feel better. But sometimes what you actually need is just time to switch off - to stop being mum, even if just for 10 minutes, and to "waste" time. To be able to sit and mess about for a while instead of feeling like everything is your responsibility and you have to be an adult all the time. 



9 Self-Care Activities You Can Do In 10 Minutes | Grab your iPad and have some fun!
Spend some time on your favourite game.



That's why my last self-care activity is to waste time. Grab your iPad (or other tablet), download a game, and waste 10 minutes. Play games, do a puzzle, whatever it is you like to do. There are lots of games I use to waste my time and at the moment I like Merge Dragons (on the iPad) and Zelda on the Switch Lite. It's nice to just switch off and be me.

To be honest you don't have to play games, however you like to "waste" your time - do that. Because it's all about letting go of the responsibility of adulting. Let it all go for 10 minutes and you'll feel so much better!



9 Self-Care Activities You Can Do In 10 Minutes | Got a spare 10 minutes? Try out these things to look after yourself.



Self-care is an important part of life, and as mums we neglect ourselves far too much. Give yourself 10 minutes per day for self-care activities and you'll soon get into the habit of looking after yourself. Of course there'll be blips in your routine, but that's okay too, as long as you get back to it. The key is learning that it's okay to take care of yourself sometimes.



Further reading


I've been reading about self-care and how we should be looking after ourselves and found a few posts I think you might like. Sara over at Get Mom Balanced shares her ideas for 15 Minute Self-Care: 15 Quick and Effective Strategies. And if you're looking for a quick read full of ideas check out the guys at Good Therapy who have 134 Activities to Add to Your Self Care Plan.



Which self-care activity will you spend 10 minutes on today?



Keeping momentum with your routine, despite blips

Routines can make life easier, they help you stay organised and keep on top of your housework. But when the kids are off school, or you're ill, your routine takes a hit and you (and your household) fall into chaos. The kitchen doesn't get cleaned, the washing mountain continues to grow, and dust piles up everywhere. When the kids go back to school it's difficult to get back into your routine because there's so much to catch up on. But there is a way to keep momentum with your routines, despite these blips. Read on to find out how...



Blips in your routine don't make you a bad mum


First of all you need to know that we all have these blips in our routines. We fall ill, half-term arrives before we're ready for it, or a family member needs our help, and our routine takes a hit. But suffering a blip in your routine does NOT make you a bad mum.



Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | My son's bedroom is messy all the time!
My youngest's bedroom - a whole day's job!



It's taken me a long time to realise that an untidy house doesn't mean I'm rubbish at being a mum. I used to beat myself up every Monday morning when I looked at my kitchen and saw the chaos. Plates piled high waiting to be loaded into the dishwasher. A laundry mountain to rival Everest. It would get me down that even over a weekend I couldn't keep up with the routine and give my family a tidy house to live in. But then I saw what that chaos meant.

By allowing the plates to pile up, and the laundry to stay unwashed, I was actually prioritising my family over the cleaning. I spent time with my boys and the Hubby rather than doing the cleaning. I was enjoying playing board games, watching our favourite shows, or going out for family days. So why on earth was I beating myself up about being a bad mum? Is prioritising your family a bad thing? No of course it isn't.



Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | You can keep up with your routine, no matter what.



So if, like me, you have blips in your routine, and every week you feel bad for not being a better mum, just take a moment to think about what you've spent your time doing. 

Because the truth is you DO AN AMAZING JOB. You just need to see it.





Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

William Arthur Ward





You can always get back on track with your routine


The blips that happen can throw your routine and mean you have to spend a little extra time on your chores. But you can always get back on track. Spending a little extra time each day will get your routine back on track and come the weekend you'll be back to normal again - just in time for taking the weekend for your family!



Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | Having fun with your family is more important than your routine.
Family fun - much more important than sticking to a routine.



That describes my daily life at the moment. I spend the week catching up on chores only to take the weekend for the family - and then I'm back to where I started. But that's okay.

You can always catch up, there's always going to be time for those chores - and to be honest if there isn't you're probably doing something more important like caring for a sick child.



Keeping momentum with your routine


The key to keeping momentum with your routine is to do chores a little at a time, more often. I have a giant list of chores to be done, but I never try to do all the chores at once - that would overwhelm me and I'd give up. Instead I break my chores list down into smaller chunks so they're easier to tackle. 

In a morning, after the kids have gone to school (or while they're getting ready), I'll wander around the house collecting the dirty dishes or glasses and load the dishwasher. It usually takes less than 10 minutes.



Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | A tidy lounge makes me feel so much better!
Tidying the lounge takes much less time if I do it a little bit at a time.



The laundry is another task, that I'll tackle later. Loading the laundry into the machine takes 5 minutes and then I can leave the machine to do its job. Another job done.

Cleaning the kitchen counters is next on the list, and depending on what day it is it can take anywhere between 5 minutes and 15 minutes. But once it's done I can smile because my kitchen looks great.

I do these small jobs almost every day (not counting weekends) and usually manage to keep momentum with my routine because I'm staying on top of the chores and they don't build up too much over the weekend. 



Use checklists to keep momentum


Whether it's paper checklists, something stuck to your fridge, or reminders on your phone, using checklists to help you keep track of your chores is a great way to keep momentum with your routine. Think of all the jobs that you have to do every day and list them. Then each time you finish one of those chores you can tick it off - not only does it feel good ticking something off a checklists but you can see that you're making progress every day. And when you're a stay-at-home mum any kind of progress makes you feel better.

I use reminders on my phone. I have a list of jobs I do every day, every week, and every month, and they pop up regularly so I don't even need to think about it. I have set days for each room, for example Mondays are my lounge days, Tuesdays are for my office. That way I can concentrate on a  room, do all my chores for that room and then stop - so I'm not overwhelmed with all the cleaning that needs to be done. That routine also helps with keeping everywhere tidy, because no room gets a chance to get overly untidy. 



Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | My phone helps me stay on track every day.
I wouldn't be without my phone - it helps me stay on track.



Admittedly sometimes I ignore the reminders. Usually at a weekend. But I know they're there and it does encourage me to tidy up when I can so that the chores don't pile up.

You may like to use paper, or your phone, but having a reminder of the chores you need to do is a great way to keep momentum with your routine. Especially if it pops up on your phone every time you look at it. It's like that nagging little voice that never lets things settle. And while nagging is annoying - it works doesn't it?



Know nothing is set in stone


No matter how many days you keep momentum with your routine you're always going to suffer blips. Holidays from school, an unexpected visitor, or illness will pop up and your routine takes the hit - but that's okay. If you happen to have your lounge cleaning day pop up, but the bedrooms desperately need tidying then tidy the bedrooms. YOU are in control of your routine and you can always switch things around if necessary. 

They key is taking control, knowing that it doesn't matter how many blips happen you can always get back on track. You can always keep going with your routine, even if it's just the essential things like loading the dishwasher because you have no clean dishes! 



Keep momentum with your self-care routine too!


Despite blips to your chores routine you really need to make sure you're taking care of yourself too. Only when we fall ill do we realise we've been neglecting ourselves and that's why we're ill. I've done this so many times that I finally realised taking some time for myself occasionally meant I was ill less often. Don't ask me how that works - but it does!





Self-care is really about taking care of you and focusing on feeling good about yourself - mind and body.

Franchesca Ramsey





I take time out to read, to have time alone (while the boys are at school), and I spend time doing things I enjoy - like playing games. I have down time and as a result I am more relaxed about everything else. I don't stress about the dishes, I don't worry about the laundry. I take care of that stuff according to my routine and I have time for me too - win!



Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | Your routine keeps you going, you just need to know how.



Please make sure to allow time for yourself when you're working out your routine - it's just as important!



Do you manage to keep momentum with your routine?





Keeping Momentum With Your Routine, Despite Blips | Grab the Organised Mama Pack to help you get organised!