Parenting Tips: 10 Ways Not to Waste Your Childcare

Temporarily child-free? Don’t use childcare to take care of these routine matters – do them with your kids instead

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Don’t bother grocery shopping when you’ve got childcare

When unexpected childcare gives you the gift of a few child-free hours, do yourself a favour and don’t waste them!

Sometimes a miracle happens. An angel appears and offers to take your kids to the skating rink. Your darling whisks them off to the first of three birthday parties.

Suddenly you’re facing four bare walls and the unfamiliar sensation of being able to complete a thought. Panic sets in. You’ve hoped, wished for, and dreamed of this time, but now that it’s here, you’re stuck. What do you do now?

I can tell you what not to do!

10 Things Not to do While You’re Child-free

  1. Housework. Yes, it’s pleasant to sweep the floor without a toddler trying to wrest the broom away. But let’s face it, despite the short-term pain, they’ll never learn that floors don’t get clean by magic – or how to sweep themselves – unless you teach them. 
  2. Laundry. See above. Do you really want this to be the highlight of your day?
  3. Grocery shopping. Again, it’s understandable that the absence of reaching little hands and candy-coloured meltdowns might appeal, but resist. 
  4. Paying the bills. You can do this on autopilot – and should, with a baby on your knee.
  5. Calls to tech support or your Internet provider. You know they’ll put you on hold for 20 minutes, so you might as well have the kids to distract you. 
  6. Watching TV. Save it for when the kids are finally asleep and you have zero energy left. 
  7. Routine errands. The drycleaner likes your preteen, so why not bring him along? Plus, if you walk, it counts as both exercise and family time. 
  8. Cooking. Despite the sharp knives and boiling pots, kids need to know where food comes from – they’ll be making it themselves someday. 
  9. Picking up. Kids should be doing this themselves, not waiting for the Tidy Fairy. 
  10. Updating your profile. To read “I can’t think of anything to do”? I don’t think so. 

What should you do with that precious me-time? Pamper yourself a little. Get some exercise. Take a coffee break. And if you find yourself with a whole weekend to yourself, why not take a mini staycation?