5 things to do when you're the only parent on duty and the kids are driving you nuts!

By Nicole

Okay, so I think I have a pretty high level of patience. I know I can go a night with little sleep and function the next day (with an extra cup of coffee). But when life gets a little crazy and you're the only parent on duty for several days at a time, let's face it: the kids might start to drive you nuts!
 So ... here are a few things that work for me:

1. Put on music and DANCE. I love dancing and it's fun for me to dance with my kids--gets me out of my funk and they get out lots of energy! We play Michael Franti's "Hello Bonjour" and various versions of Star Wars electronica. (The boys are Star Wars fanatics!) Sometimes we even get a little crazy and do limbo using the broomstick...
Michael Franti!

2. Don't make dinner, take the kids OUT TO EAT, and be sure to order a drink. I know, sounds crazy to some people but I've been known to take 5 kids out by myself on numerous occasions. Lots of places have kids EAT FREE and my oldest is happy to eat an adult meal so his brother can get a free one!

3. ASSIGN tasks. When I have a house that looks like a wreck and I am the only adult in sight, it's easy for me to feel overwhelmed about how to accomplish it all on my own. I write down all the household jobs on note cards, and the kids each choose a card (younger kids pick first and get a card with very simple tasks). The trick is everyone has to finish at the same time so this way they help each other in order to get #4 (below)

4. MAKE EVERYTHING A PRIVILEGE. Well, not really everything, but definitely electronics! Our kids earn TV, computer, or video game time by first helping the family. When this time is earned (instead of expected) they are far more motivated to pitch in and also they work 3x faster!

5. TAKE A DEEP BREATH and remind yourself that a little chaos is alright. As my Dad always says, "This too shall pass." Unless one of the kids is sick or injured, it's not worth loosing your cool. When you're the only parent on duty--you're the only one they're watching! Practice mindfulness.

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