Mommy-tasking: How to find more time to spend with your kids

Jun 17, 2011 at 2:30 p.m. ET

One of the most difficult tasks as a mother is finding a work-life balance that allows you to spend time with your kids, as well as have enough time for yourself. If it seems like there are never enough hours in the day and your children are getting the short end of the stick, follow these time management tips to find more time to spend with your kids.

Mom and daughter hanging out in bed

1Wake up earlier

If you find yourself losing touch with your kids, wake up 15 minutes earlier every day. You won't notice 15 minutes of lost sleep, but your child will certainly notice the extra 15 minute with you. Spend the time cuddling in bed, reading to the child or drinking a cup of chocolate milk together. You might think that 15 minutes isn't a lot of time at all, but to a child it can make all the difference in the world.

If you have more than one child, assign each of them one night a week where they get to stay up 15 minutes later than the rest of the kids. Use these extra moments to create some special one-on-one time together.

2Cook ahead

If you find yourself in the kitchen from the time you get home from the office until you put dinner on the table, start cooking ahead in bulk. Spend Sunday afternoon preparing a week or two's worth of meals, then freeze them, freeing up some extra time during the week. While you're in the kitchen, allow your kids to help out. Older children can chop vegetables, stir the pot on the stove or run the mixer, while younger ones can help by washing the salad or setting the table. Make cooking a family experience, where you can sneak in a little time together and your kids can talk to you about their day.

3take a day off

You have vacation and sick time at work for a reason. If you aren't saving up for a long vacation this year, take off a day a month instead. If school is in session, allow your child to miss the day, so you can spend it together. Sleep in late, cook breakfast together, head to the zoo or park, then go out to eat. At home, you can read together, learn their latest video game, or just veg out on the couch and watch a movie. You don't have to do anything special or expensive to make your children feel loved.


The computer is probably the biggest time-waster for adults (and kids) in the evening. After dinner, get off the Internet, turn off the TV and unplug your cell phone. Get back to basics with family game night, go for a family walk together or head to the ice cream parlor for a scoop or two. Spend a little quality time with your kids and spouse -- updating your Facebook status or checking your e-mail can wait until morning.

5Make it a date

If you still can't find enough time to spend with your kids, put it on your appointment calendar. Since you can find room for that client dinner or your nail appointment, you can find a timeslot for your kids. Make a date with your kids at least one night a week -- and don't cancel, unless it's an emergency. If your kids are involved with sports and extra-curricular activities that take up every night of the week, you might be overscheduling them. Allow them to pick one sport (or activity) per season, rather than sign up for everything and anything.

6Get help

Cooking and cleaning can take up a lot of your free time at home. If you have a little extra money put aside, consider hiring a cleaning person or mother's helper to take care of the housecleaning, laundry and meals. The extra expense is worth the reward of spending a little more time with your children and finding some "me time" for yourself.

Spending quality time with your kids provides them with the opportunity to be heard, to learn and to be loved. It allows you and your children to make connections that will last a lifetime. So next time, you tell your child, "Not right now," think about it for a second. An unmade bed or pile of dirty laundry can wait -- your children won't be little forever.

More time management tips

Juggling work and family
Timesaving tips for busy moms
Reasons you're always running late