As a single parent of a preschooler, you don’t get much of a chance to switch gears between work and home. As soon as you step through the door, you’re on parent duty. There’s dinner to get on the table, other household tasks and a preschooler who is eager to share his day with you. Set the tone for a less stressful evening by applying the following tips to transition from work to home.
Turn off the TV
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The blare from the television adds to the noise level, distracts your attention and may depress you with pessimistic news reports. If your favorite program comes on at the same time you get home, record it to watch later.
Give your preschooler a simple task while you change from business attire to something comfier. This action signals your brain to transition from work mode to downtime.
Start with an appetizer
Enjoy a small snack to take the edge off of hunger while you prepare dinner. Healthy choices include apple wedges, carrots dipped in ranch dressing, pretzel rods dipped in peanut butter, or cheese and crackers.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re stirring mac and cheese on the stove, singing rhymes with your preschooler and opening the mail all at the same time. Save distracting tasks like paying bills, returning phone calls or checking your email for later in the evening.
Set the timer for 10 minutes
Single parents handle everything on their own, so each minute counts. Set a timer for 10 minutes to play with your preschooler. You’ll prevent yourself from getting sidetracked, and be able to enjoy the time without watching the clock.
Rely on routine
Life is easier when parents and preschoolers know what to expect. Teach your preschooler to put his backpack away in the same place every night, enforce a “no TV until after dinner” rule and eat supper close to the same time each evening. Structure enables preschoolers to accomplish simple tasks without nagging and eases transitions since they know the drill.
Use a crockpot for meal preparation. Keep a box of coloring books or puzzles near the kitchen table to entertain your preschooler while you cook. Check your child’s backpack upon returning home. Single parents who learn the art of organization will have an easier time managing the busy end of the daily routine if they’ve prepared for it.