Today’s 24/7 moms and dads tackle child care duties, budgets, food, finances, cleaning, and housework. With homeschooling and home-based jobs added to many to-do lists nowadays, stay-at-home parents have a lot of responsibilities. Keeping a schedule and following routines can help give at-home parents and their children stability and security. Parents expect their children to throw a wrench into their schedules, but there are ways to mitigate outside interruptions. Following these tips and tricks can produce excellent results for your home work environment – give it a try!
How to Avoid a Constantly Ringing Phone
Ever notice how young children love to cause mischief while their parents talk on the phone? Some stay-at-home parents feel frustrated when others assume they have excessive free time to chat and socialize. Several strategies come in handy for dealing with telephone interruptions:
- Choose priorities. Is story time worthy of an interruption by a telemarketer? What about phone calls during mealtime?
- Set a timer. If friends or relatives call regularly, suggest times to call. Decide on a time limit for social phone calls – say 15 minutes each – and stick to it.
- Set up a designated time of the day – such as naptime – to place and return phone calls.
- Subscribe to caller ID and utilize answering machines and voice mail. Don’t drop everything to answer the telephone. If it’s an important call, pick up the phone mid-message or return the call promptly.
- Take advantage of technology and assign distinct ring tones to important contacts such as children, spouse, babysitters, parents, school, doctor’s office, etc.
- Get on the local and National Do Not Call registries. Note that nonprofit organizations, businesses trying to collect a debt and political candidates are exempt from the national list. When an unwanted caller gets through, ask to be placed on the internal do-not-call list.
- When all else fails, take the phone off the hook or turn it off for an hour or two.
Dealing With Noisiness at Naptime
Stay-at-home parents cherish quiet moments. Naptime might serve as the day’s only quiet time, so moms and dads should take advantage of it. Some parents catch a wink themselves, while others do chores, exercise, read, meditate or catch up with friends. Nothing kills the joy of peace and quiet like an unexpected visitor who bangs loudly on the door and wakes a sleeping baby. Here’s how to prevent unwanted guests during naptime:
- Turn down phone ringers.
- Inform those who might call or stop by of the family’s scheduled naptime.
- Ask expected guests to knock lightly or plan to meet them at the door.
- Place a sign on the door between the knocker and the doorbell. Examples include: Shhh! Sleeping baby; Not a peep! Baby asleep; Naptime. Please knock; and Quiet, please! It’s naptime!
- Use a white noise machine or other background noisemaker in or near the baby’s room.
- As a last resort, consider disconnecting the doorbell.
How to Deal With Drop-In Guests
Ahhh … drop-in visitors. Timed just right, their visits often come just before naptime when fussiness peaks or as soon as the family sits down for a meal. They range from solicitors and friendly neighbors to beloved friends and relatives. And they can wreak havoc on a family’s schedule. In all fairness, they can come in handy, breaking the monotony of a stressful or ho-hum day. But on a day when their interruptions aren’t welcome, here are some ideas:
- Answer the door without inviting the guest inside. Politely ask to return a call or visit after the family’s schedule opens up.
- Meet the guest outside and offer a friendly greeting. Apologize and say that the family’s on the way out the door and will get in touch later.
- If the guest enters the house, stay in the front room or foyer and remain standing. This body language sends the message that the visit will remain brief.
- If the drop-in visitor makes frequent appearances, ask her to call first next time.
- If drop-in guests consistently show disrespect and ignore requests to call ahead, don’t answer the door.
Stay-at-home parents successfully manage family schedules by handling outside interruptions with consistency and tact. Excessive phone calls, naptime noise and drop-in visitors can turn into annoying disruptions that spiral out of control. Stay-at-home parents who handle intrusions with foresight and a positive attitude can lessen the frustrations brought on by outside disruptions.