Small Steps to Finding Work-Life Balance

Small Steps to Finding Work-Life Balance

Sher Warkentin headshotPosted by Sher Warkentin, guest blogger

Ironically, we’re always too busy to find work-life balance, especially when work can be done on your smartphone and your kids have more activities scheduled than there are days in the week. But when you’re drowning in e-mails and soccer practices, don’t worry; there are some very simple things you can do to make plenty of (quality) time for your family.playing in the leaves

Little Moments

One of the easiest ways to balance your family’s hectic schedules is to make the most of little moments throughout the day. Bath time, for example, is a great opportunity to reconnect with your kids. One relaxing bath can help settle your little one down for the evening and give you some time to talk about the day before bed. I like to ask engaging questions to my daughter: What was your favorite part of the day? She inevitably asks me the same thing. Even something as simple as brushing your teeth can be a good bonding routine. Grab your toothbrush and natural toothpaste and brush right along with your child. It’s an easy teachable moment you can share to make brushing teeth more fun for your child.

Screen-Free Time

Limiting screen time isn’t just important for kids; grown-ups can often use a break too. With e-mails pinging constantly in your inbox it can be tempting to address tasks outside the office, but it is also a tremendous distraction from the necessary time you spend at home with your family. Unless there’s an emergency that requires your attention, invest those precious hours between school and bedtime in things that don’t ask you to be connected. One of the simplest things I’ve ever done to reconnect at home was to remove my phone from my pocket and set it to silent. Instead of wondering and worrying at each little buzz, put yours aside where you can’t see it and check it until after they’ve hit the hay.

Of course, don’t forget your spouse in this equation either. Just because the kids are asleep doesn’t mean you should spend the rest of the evening glued to the screen. After you’ve checked your notifications, set it aside again and spend a few minutes having a real conversation with your partner.

work-life balance screen free time

Turn off the ringer in you phone so you won’t be tempted to check every sound

Say Goodbye to One Thing

Sometimes balancing work and family means having to let something go. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, you might just be overbooked. Activities like sports and playdates are fun and important to growth, but it is possible to do too much if you’re unable to fit in downtime. Take a look at your schedule and identify one thing you can take out in order to enjoy the company of one another.

Also, keep in mind family time doesn’t always have to be a choreographed event, like a trip to the zoo or visiting a museum. Sometimes it’s nice to hang out in sweats watching a movie, throw a ball around in the backyard, or even rake the beautiful leaves that are about ready to fall. They may not be Instagram moments, but they’ll surely be the ones you remember the most.

Bond over the Routine

Things like cleaning, cooking, and even driving to school can seem like chores that have to get in the way of quality time, but they’re an easy opportunity for bonding time in and of themselves. Rather than sending the kids off on their own while you cook dinner, for example, involve them in the process. Even young kids can be true helpers in the kitchen, grabbing utensils or stirring ingredients while you prepare the more granular parts of the meal. Besides spending time together, your kids will also be learning about the things they’ll do on their own one day.

child bakingDriving to school or the grocery store can be great for connecting over conversations or fun games, as well. There’s nothing my daughter loves more than a round of “I, Spy” when on a long errand.

What simple things have you tried to find a good work-life balance? Share your ideas in the comments!

Image source: Sher Warkentin | Flickr

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.