(So YOU can be more productive)
A guest post by SORTED reader Susie Parker
If you are like me and creating your business while raising preschooler or toddler aged kids, you may be feeling the struggle to actually find the time to work on your business (I know I do!). Our days are busier and busier and our time is limited (cue a tantrum at the exact same time when you were hoping to get 20 minutes to send out an email). They key is to get the time at night when your children are snuggled up in bed to be productive.
With these tips, you’ll be able to have your nights free in no time.
1. More Attention During the Day Yield Better Nights
Your kids are craving your attention…. so be mindful to fill up their attention tanks during the day so they aren’t only looking for that attention at night. I get it, you want to spend time during the day to get your work done too, so sometimes putting on Daniel Tiger seems like the best option. But, if you spend pockets of your day really connecting with your child you will find that cooperation to get your toddler to sleep at night will become easier.
Quick Tip: Take 10 minutes each day and have “special time”. This is a time that your child can pick what they want to do and you will focus without interruption to really connect (hint, hint, put your phone away – your clients can wait). Keep this dedicated time as a simple play time together. Build a tower together, color together or play hide and seek (really, anything goes).
2. Focus on Keeping Your Child Well Rested
Sometimes keeping your child up too late can be a disaster. You know that second-wind of hyper chaos that your child gets when you’re trying to help them wind-down? Well that’s because your child is over-tired and they get a spike of cortisol (the stress hormone) that actually prevents them from falling asleep. The key is to put your child down before they get into the hyper-zone. Focus on having your child asleep (yes actually off into dreamland) 10-12 hours before their natural morning wakeup time.
Quick Tip: If your child isn’t napping and in the 3-5 range, they probably still need about 11-12 hours of total seep… so move your bedtime earlier to get the sleep they need. So give yourself plenty of time to factor into the sleep time and bedtime routine.
3. Clear and Consistent Routine
Your bedtime routine should be seen not as a chore to get things done, but as a specially opportunity at night to really connect with your child. The faster you try and get through the routine to get on with your night, the more your child will resist (trust me, I’ve tried!). So just embrace the time by making the routine consistent and quite special for the both of you.
Your Routine should include the things you have to get done “teeth brushing, pajamas, potty and water”. But you should also include components that are not only enjoyable but relaxing. For example, you can read 2 stories, but also talk about your day, give cuddles and hugs and kisses. The key is to be consistent and don’t just let your child call the shots since they may want 10 more books…and that’s when the routine gets out of hand.
Quick Tip: Always end on a special night with a ritual. My daughter and I do “ugga muggas” (our version of eskimo kisses) but you could throw a kiss across the room and have your child catch it. Anything goes, just make it your own.
4. Set Yourself up for Good Habits to come
Always think of the end game when helping your child get to sleep. Sometimes it’s easier just to sit with our child to fall asleep but trying to end sleep battles and middle of the night wakings, once you realize you have a problem, isn’t always so easy. Same goes with allowing your child to come into your bed at night. I live by the mentality that only you decide what works for you and when it works for you, great. But, when you have a limited time to work on your business at night, think of the path of least resistance. In my opinion, it would be way easier to set your child up for strong independent skills than have to fix them down the road.
Quick Tip: If you already have some habits that you’re ready to break (bedtime battles, multiple night wakings or early morning wakeups), be prepared that there is a lot of conflicting advice out there…Don’t’ think you have to go it alone. Preschooler Sleep Made Easy is the proven system that I used not only for my daughter but my clients too. It really works!
Once your child is sleeping, you can get back to working on your business. And that my friends, is a beautiful thing.
About the Author
Susie Parker is a certified Sleep Consultant and founder of Sleep Baby Love, Child Sleep Consulting. She is a “been there done that” mom of two beautiful girls who have had her deal with many sleep challenges head on. Click here to download your Free Preschooler Sleep Made Easy Checklist for future great sleep.