When you have little ones there are some things you should never do – if you don’t want to create more work for yourself that is!
1. Staying up late
We’ve all been there. You’re exhausted from looking after children all day and yet when they’re in bed, instead of going there yourself you end up taking your precious relaxation time a bit far. We get it, you’re finally YOU again for a moment and there are just way too many awesome Netflix shows on, but there’s a big problem with this. When your head does finally hit the pillow, it might only be ten minutes before someone is crying out and needs your attention. Even if there isn’t too much night interruption, the kids are still up at the crack of dawn and you haven’t managed to catch up on any sleep at all. Forget about bingeing on television shows, just watch one episode then put the remote down and get that all important shut-eye.
2. Stimulating kids before bed
It might seem like a good idea to let them watch TV or play the iPad right up until bedtime (gives you a chance to clear the kitchen and throw a load of washing on after all), but we can guarantee the bedtime transition is going to be a nightmare if you do. They’re now wired, excited and over stimulated. Why should they go to bed when they can stay up and watch more screens?! Also, don’t be foolish enough to let your child eat a whole packet of jelly snakes or the like before bed, you really don’t want them to be in the crazy sugar zone at this time of day.
3. Leaving the dishes at night
Everyone’s in bed and you just want to relax or go there yourself and then you realise the kitchen looks like a bomb hit it. Total. Nightmare. But you know what’s worse? Waking up to that, with the added bonus of food now firmly cemented on plates and cockroach poo sprinkled everywhere. Picture this before you decide to ‘stuff it’ because the kitchen can wait til morning. No it cannot – unless you want the added pressure of trying to find clean baby bottles and fix breakfast for everyone among a crime scene of chaos.
4. Leaving things out
If you leave something valuable or breakable out then this one’s on you, because little kids have a knack for grabbing anything they’re not supposed to, then they either hide it, break it or choke on it. And heaven forbid you leave those chocolates you ate on the lounge after they went to bed lying around the next morning. Cue complete meltdown when you have to tell your two-year-old they can’t eat chocolate for breakfast.
5. Letting kids stay up late
It’s a Saturday night, you’ve been out for pizza as a family and whoops! It’s past your toddler’s bedtime. It’s all good though, a little break in the routine can’t hurt anyone, right? WRONG! Your threenager is now an overtired and wired little monkey who does not want to go to sleep. And when you do finally get them down there’s a good chance they’ll wake up throughout the night or earlier in the morning than normal, because their body clock, which is used to regular sleep times, has been disturbed. If you break the bed routine, expect the unexpected.
6. Prioritising your agenda
Parents have a lot to do between looking after kids, the house, work, and finding time to have our own lives as well. Sometimes we have no choice but to disturb our kids’ sleep or forgo the park if fit in a trip to the doctors or do an urgent grocery shop. However, there are times when things aren’t necessary. Did you REALLY need to see that girlfriend for coffee again this week when your child normally has a nap? Or drag the whole family out for dinner right on bedtime just because you had a craving for sushi? No. Children’s needs come first so work your own agenda out around their needs, or you’ll pay for it in tears and lost sleep.
7. Drinking booze
Hangovers and children DO NOT MIX. Alcohol should come with warning labels, just like when you’re pregnant, because lord knows we need the reminder. Often the challenges of parenting small kids is exactly why some people hit the bottle to begin with, but remember this: there is zero chance of sleeping in, kids are hard work even when you’re not hungover, they’re super noisy, and you’re already a sleep deprived parent so you really don’t need to add a hangover to your woes. You might also have to get up in the night if they’re sick and who wants to be reading thermometers with bleary eyes? If you have small kids, drink at your own risk!
Have you committed any of these parenting sins or any others?