By Melissa Uhles and Amber Roshay
Are you trying to figure out how to hold a baby, wrangle a toddler and write a few hundred words a week? A follower of our blog had this issue and asked if we’d we'd give some time management writing tips for parents with kids. So that’s what we’ve done.
Below seven writers share time management tips for writing with babies, toddlers and grade-school kids around.
And as a way to help you CRUSH your writing goals, get your FREE PRINTABLE.
(Mom of a baby and a toddler):
Amber Roshay is co-founder of Pen and Parent, an author, freelance writer and teacher.
Get Up Early
- I get up before my kiddos because it's the only time I have for my writing. Rising before 6 am was tough at first, but now I look forward to my creative time and it's consistent. I get more done in those two hours than I would with five or six otherwise.
Consistent Nap Schedule
- I can't stress the importance of having a set kid schedule with naps and quiet time. My toddler has started to resist naps, but I have switched it to independent time with books. I find that the best writing time management tip that I follow is to have a consistent schedule.
Get Your Partner Involved
- I think a lot of families think of the weekend as family time when both parents and kids spend time together. My husband and I have some of that but other times we split the days in half. I do the morning, he does the afternoon, so that I can write or go to Pilates. But, it's tough to get away when the kids are literally crawling up my legs.
Embrace Television More
- Another option is to embrace television more and use it wisely. For example, when my baby has her first nap, my toddler gets Peppa Pig. I either shower or write/work on the blog.
Prioritize Your Plans
- Another option is that writer parents have to prioritize; meaning the house gets messy or you have to limit outings. I have a set schedule, and I try my best to NOT plan anything during my writing and pilates time. Some days I feel selfish, but I know that change comes from consistent actions over a period of time.
Write in Small Bursts
- Remember even writing for 20 minutes counts. Some writers/bloggers look at a page a day as their goal, so give yourself a pat on the back for even the little bit you get in. But it's hard.
(Mom of a 2.5 and 5 year old)
Tiffany A. Ingle of Savvy Mocha Mama is a lifestyle and educational blogger for mothers has a few great tips too:
Create a Mobile Craft Station
- I have a 5 year old and a 2.5 year old who are with me all day. My husband and I have decided to homeschool and we don't have any relatives where we live, so I don't have the option to outsource any of the care. I have created a mobile craft station that I set up for my children so they can create while I work.
Use Educational Apps
- I resisted screen time for a while, but I have found some high-quality educational apps that I will let them use on my tablet only during my work time. My younger child really enjoys sitting next to me at my desk and doing his "work" alongside me.
Invest in a Baby Carrier
- When my elder child was born, I was in a master's program. The only way I could get my papers written—or do anything, for that matter— was wearing her in a carrier. I think investing in a baby carrier is a wise move for a parent with very small children.
(mom to a toddler)
Jessica Szekalski of Sane Momma, a blog about sanity and self care for moms shares her tips:
Utilize Nap Times
- If you are lucky enough to have a little one who still takes a nap, dedicate this time to your writing. I used to try to get all of my housework done during nap times until I realized how much easier it is to include my little one in the housework activities than it is to write while he is awake. Now he helps me sweep the floors and when he goes down for for his nap, I get the time I need to myself.
Practice Independent Play
- Teach your toddler to practice independent play - when my son started crawling, we bought him a large playpen. From that point forward we set aside some time each day after breakfast for him to play independently in his play pen. If I sit where he can see me, he will usually play for quite a while without needing my full attention, aside from the occasional hug and kiss 🙂 This is my favorite way to work.
Create a Schedule
- I’ve found that the only way I can survive as a stay at home mom blogger is to have a solid routine. A structured schedule can not only ensure that you stay on track, but babies and toddlers usually respond well to routine also!
(Mom to a toddler)
Kim Poteat blogs at Happy Mommy Tired Mommy and says:
- Write while your toddler eats lunch at the table
- Create busy boxes and let them explore while you write.
(Mom to a baby)
Jordyn D’Arco blogs at Kettle bells and kids and shares:
- Use your smartphone! I have the Writer app by zoho and I jot down little notes all the time as well as draft blog posts while I’m breastfeeding my daughter (like right now haha)
(Mom to baby, toddler and pre-schooler):
Alice Kaster is a Mom, Musician, CSTFL Car seat reviewer and Office Assistant Extraordinaire.
Here are her tips:
- My best tip (which doesn't work for all blog types I know) is to incorporate the kids when possible. For the car seat reviews I write, that's easy since I need pictures of the kids in their seats. And they can help me measure things, etc. I usually use bribery to get them to be extra helpful.
- If they are not helping me, a parallel activity so they can "pretend" - like playing an alphabet game on their tablet, or coloring/workbook activities works too.
(Mom to a grade-schooler)
Melissa Uhles is co-founder of Pen and Parent, an author and a freelance writer.
When my son started kindergarten I finally started writing a novel and finished before he was out for summer. Now in addition to books, I blog here at Pen and Parent.
These sorts of highly focussed writing tasks require quiet/distraction free time. If that’s not possible, I find myself not writing or parenting well.
Now my grade-schooler is better at entertaining himself. It’s much easier than getting things done when he was a baby and a toddler. But he’s an only child and there are many times when mid-sentence he walks in and asks me a thousand questions.
Here are my tips:
- I’m working on teaching my son boundaries. I let him know we can have “talk time” in ten minutes when I’m finished with my writing task.
Hire a Babysitter
- Hire a babysitter for a few hours a week or do an exchange with another mom. I hired someone for a few hours per week in the summers and it was well worth it.
Make an Artist's Date
- Make an artist’s date, as Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way advises. Find one hour each week to write something, anything. This might be on a weekend if you have a partner who will watch the kids while you go to a coffee shop for an hour or two.
This way, your writing doesn’t become one more thing you have to do. It’s fun like getting away and going to a movie. That’s enough time to write one blog post each week or one book chapter per month. Slow and steady wins the race.
Remember Survival is Okay
But my advice to moms if I were totally honest might be...just try to survive and take care of yourself until the kid’s in preschool and then start committing to your writing practice more consistently.
There is time at night but I know I was mentally exhausted at the end of the day and my kid was always an up at 5AM kind of kid. Because mamas gotta juggle a lot and stay sane before conquering extra things.
In summary, the season of life when kids are tiny doesn’t last forever. There will be time as they get a bit older to write more. Hopefully, these time management writing tips will help. Remember a few minutes here and there may have to do for now but that can increase over time. And they may start writing stories with you.
Want more inspiration? You may wanna check out our eBook, How to Make a Living as a Writer: Publish Books, Articles and Blogs
What are your tips for getting writing done? We’d love to hear them in the comments.
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