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You make several calls a day to make sure that both children are where they should be and are all right. You need to buy groceries, go to the doctor, take one child to the dentist, meet with a teacher, pick up your clothes at the dry cleaners, make supper for the kids, do the laundry, help them with their homework, and still find time for play. How do you do it?
- If your pre-teen is responsible there is no reason why he and his sister can’t wait at the same place for you in the afternoon. Either both have to come back with the school bus, and wait at the neighbor’s house, or both have to wait at the after-care facilities. You might also consider hiring someone to come to the house in the afternoons. Driving from one place to another in rush hour traffic can be stressful and put you in a sour mood.
- Get a diary and space your appointments. Don’t make a doctor or dentist appointment for the same afternoon your child has a sports or other school activity. You want your child to enjoy the event and not have to rush off somewhere. If you have to meet with a teacher for parents’ night, use the opportunity to ask whatever other questions you have about your kids.
- Do all your shopping for the week in one day, except perishables. Make a list of what you need before you leave home or you will buy a lot of unnecessary things and still not come home with everything you need. When you buy fresh milk for coffee and cereal breakfasts, also buy one or two cartons of long-life milk in case you run out.
- Ask the person who looks after your kids in the afternoon to make sure the children start their homework. Pack in an afternoon snack and a juice box so the kids aren’t starved when they get home.
- Get the children into a routine where after they arrive home with you from after-care, that they have time to play or watch an hour of television, but also give each one of them a chore to perform, like raking up the leaves or peeling the potatoes for supper, or taking out the garbage. The little one might just pick up her toys and put things away. It teaches them responsibility and also frees you up a bit more.
- Spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with just your kids where you have something fun to do like go to a movie or visit the zoo or the museum. When their father has his turn with them on the weekend, use the time to pamper yourself or visit with your friends or go out and have a massage.