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15 Productivity Hacks For Stay-At-Home Moms

15 Productivity Hacks For Stay-At-Home Moms

Being a stay-at-home mom is far from easy. More often than not, unless you have a very good idea of how to make the most of your time, it can be quite chaotic and incredibly stressful. The thing to remember is that you need to stay motivated in order to be more productive, and being more productive will leave you some more free time to do the things that make you happy, which in turn helps you get through all the chores efficiently. So, let’s look at a number of great ways to boost your productivity, and make you a happier mom in the process.

1. Get up earlier

If you want to have a productive day, you need to get up a bit earlier. This way, you will certainly have more time for yourself. Use this time to take a shower, relax and prepare for the hard working day. Moreover, it happened to all of us, because we want to sleep more, immediately when we get up we start doing chores. This is really stressful and will only exhaust you. When you get up earlier, you will have time to drink coffee alone in a quiet environment, while your children are still asleep, and can then see everyone off to school with a lot less stress and drama. Try it out and you will soon realize that you are in a better mood and that all house chores seem a lot easier.

2. Get ready for the day – put some make up on

Stay-at-home moms have very demanding tasks, and opposite to common belief, they are always busy. As you are trying to manage all your obligations, you somehow never have time to do your hair and put on some makeup. So on the way to the supermarket or a shopping mall you are always nervous because your look is sloppy and you don’t have time to fix it. However, there is always a solution and all you need are waterproof mascara, hydrating foundation and some quality lipstick.

Purchase a quality foundation that will at the same time hydrate your skin and keep it healthy. By using quality products you will make sure that the makeup doesn’t negatively affect your skin and you will be able to have it till the evening.  Apply the makeup in the morning and it will certainly make you feel better. It will boost your confidence, and you will always be ready to go.

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3. Learn a 5 minute manicure

Make up will boost your confidence but don’t forget your hands. Since you have very little time and you need your nails to look good, you can learn a 5 minute manicure and have beautiful nails in no time. Soak your hands in the warm water, massage them with a scrub and remove dead skin cells. After that file your nails and apply top coat. This will give your nails a shiny look but also the protection they need.

4. Start your own blog

It is important to understand that you are not alone. You can share your experience with other moms all over the world and you can do that by creating your very own mom blog. You can write articles on important topics and you can ask or give advice to other stay-at-home moms. Moreover, if your blog becomes popular you can also earn some money.

5. Do exercises in the morning

Physical activity is very important, because as a stay-at-home mother, most of your time you spend standing and walking. Going to the classes can take a lot of your time, because you waste your time in the car and that time you can certainly use for something else such as going on a massage. When you get up do some exercises to stretch your muscles and prepare your body for the busy day full of house chores. If you are into yoga, take a few classes to learn how to properly perform a certain position, and then continue working out alone at your home. This will save you a lot of time, help prepare for the day and won’t make you tired.

6. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help

Once a month, it happens to all mothers that they have to do laundry, prepare meals, vacuum, iron clothes, wash dishes, do homework with children, take them to the playground – and all that in one day! When this happens, stay calm and hire a nanny or a maid. Whatever option you choose, they will help you go through the day. Being a mom is a full time job, so why not outsource one part of your tasks?

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7. Hunt for discounts

Saving money is often very difficult and not lot of people know how to achieve it. One of the best ways is buying on discounts. You will be amazed how much money you can actually save, if you just try this. It won’t give you millions but it will help you to save just enough.

8. Teach your kids to do chores

If your kids are old enough to learn how to do house chores, then do that – it is better to do some smaller chores like dusting, than spend that hour in front of their computer. They need to see what you do all day and realize that it is not easy as it seems. If you want to teach them to be responsible, you can put some new rules – everyone cleans their room. This can be applied only if your kids are old enough to dust and vacuum. On the other hand, if they are not, you can teach them to put away their toys on their own.

9. Find small opportunities to relax

Hard work can make you feel stressed and under pressure. This is why is very important to have a time just for yourself. In those small holes in your schedule, e.g. after making lunch, but before the kids get back from school, take a 15-30 minutes to relax your body and your mind with a nice hot bath and enjoy every moment. You certainly deserved it.

10. Join group classes

If you have a baby or a toddler, then the best way for your baby and you to socialize is to sign up for some classes. This way your baby will learn how to play with other children and you will be able to have semi-adult conversations with other moms. You will certainly learn a lot from other mom’s experiences and be prepared for every situation.

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11. Set a nap time or quiet time

Toddlers usually neglect your rules regarding the nap time and they tend to sleep whenever they want. In order for you to be able to rest, you need to teach them to sleep at certain time.

12. Teach your kids about independent play

You don’t need to play with your children all the time. If they learn independent play they will soon become more creative and you will have more time for your everyday activities.

13. Allow for a bit of chaos

Every mom’s nightmare is definitely the chaos in kid’s bedroom. You tidy up the room regularly but in no time the room is a complete mess once again. There are great cleaning hacks that can make the process easier, but don’t worry too much about this. Yes, they need to learn about responsibility and one way to teach them is to explain them that they need to take care of their stuff. In that way, you will have more time for yourself. Embrace the chaos and concentrate on other things.

14. Make a schedule

If you are having some difficulties organizing your day, try making a solid schedule. It will help you to finish all the chores and work on time, and it will be a lot easier for you to find more free time. Better organization will bring more productivity.

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15. Give your chores a soundtrack

Let your favorite song to become soundtrack of your chores. It doesn’t have to be just one but it will stimulate you and give you more positive energy. Everything seems to be much easier with a favorite song.

Being a mom is difficult job, make no mistake, but with a little bit of planing, a few tweaks to your schedule and some good habits, you can manage to get things done, and still have enough space to relax and work on yourself.

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Katarina Milovanovic

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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

Signs of Depression in Children (And How to Help Them to Overcome It)

Signs of Depression in Children (And How to Help Them to Overcome It)

Children, just like adults, can be depressed. Sometimes seemingly normal children with no major life issues can become depressed. It is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes clinical depression to occur. There are specific signs that you should recognize in your child if they are depressed. Getting them help and treatment is crucial to their mental wellness.

In this article, we will look into the signs of depression in children and how parents can help them to overcome it.

Signs of depression in children

The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder) is the widely accepted instruction guide that professionals utilize for diagnosing mental disorders. The DSM characterizes a Major Depressive Episode as depressed behaviors that consistently last for two weeks or longer. Therefore, if your child has been “down in the dumps”, feeling hopeless or having sadness for more than two weeks, it should be cause for concern and investigated.

Below are signs of depression according to the DSM manual. The individual must have at least five of these behaviors present for a period of two weeks or longer to be officially diagnosed as having MDD (Major Depressive Disorder). Below is a summary/generalization from the DSM manual:

  • Feelings of deep sadness or depressed mood that last most of the day (for two weeks or more). For children they can present as irritable rather than sad.
  • Diminished interest in activities (again majority of the day or all the time).
  • Significant weight loss (not through dieting), or a decrease in appetite. In children, they fail to make expected weight gains while growing.
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
  • Either a slowing of psychomotor abilities/actions or an apparent agitation of these psychomotor abilities. This means that they either have moments that lack purpose and seem to be done because of agitation and tension or there is a significant slowness/retardation of their speech and physical actions.
  • Fatigue and loss of energy.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt every day.
  • Difficulty thinking, making decisions, or concentrating every day. This may be reflected in their grades.
  • Preoccupation with death and dying or suicidal thoughts.

Please note that if your child is suffering from the loss of a loved one and is processing through the stages of grief, it is normal to have these signs of depression. If they seem to be stuck in the depression stage, then it is time to pursue grief counseling to help them along in the grieving process.

However, if they are not suffering from a bereavement or a medical condition that would cause the above symptoms, then they should be taken to a professional for possible diagnosis and treatment of MDD (Major Depressive Disorder).

How to help your child with depression

Depression is not to be taken lightly. Especially if suicidal thoughts are present. The child’s feelings and emotions are real and must be taken seriously. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), suicide is the number two cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 34.[1]

Professional help is recommended if you believe your child fits the criterion for MDD (Major Depressive Disorder). You can take your child to their paediatrician for an evaluation and referral. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, they may benefit from medication such as anti-depressants.

Most professionals do not dispense medication as the first remedy for depression. Instead therapy is the first line of defense against depression, with medication being paired with therapy if the therapy is not enough or the symptoms are severe enough.

Testing

There are assessment tools that professionals can utilize to help in properly determining whether your child is depressed. The three tools used in assessing depression in children are:

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  • The Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS)
  • Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI)
  • Clinical Global Impression (CGI)

Taking your child to a professional mental health counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist can help ensure proper testing and assessment occurs.

Therapy

There are many types of therapy available today. It is important to find a professional that specializes in childhood depression and the treatment of such.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the leading therapy methods in treating childhood depression. For younger children, play therapy is useful in treating childhood depression as children are often able to better communicate through play than conversation alone.

What parents can do at home to help their depressed child

Besides seeking for professional help, there are a couple of things that parents can do at home to help their depressed child:

1. Talk with your child about their feelings in a compassionate and empathetic manner.

It can feel high pressure to sit face to face and ask your child about their feelings. However, going on a walk, playing a board game or playing alongside your child (chose whichever is age appropriate for your child) can allow them to relax and open up about their feelings.

Ask your child open ended questions that require more than a simple yes or no to engage in more meaningful conversations. Never judge while they are being open and honest with you because it will inevitably cause them to shut down and move away from being open with you.

It is okay to allow for periods of silence during the conversations because sometimes the child is processing their thoughts and emotions during your time together. You don’t have to fill the space and entire time with talking as silence at times is helpful.

2. Provide activities that help them relax and de-stress.

For smaller children, there are simple ways to help them relax.

Provide play opportunities that they find relaxing such as coloring, painting, working with Play-do or clay, or playing with sand and sand toys. Again, find activities that interest your child and are age appropriate are helpful in making them relaxed.

3. Limit screen time.

Technology is not helpful in making your child less depressed. It can often be an escape that keeps them from further opening up about their feelings and emotions.

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Limit time in front of the TV, laptop, smart phone, video games and tablets, etc. Any electronics that seem to prevent your child from face to face interactions should be limited. Ask Dr. Sears cites that researchers have found kids who have higher levels of screen time are at greater risk for anxiety and depression.[2]

Provide alternate activities to replace the screen time such as hiking, crafting, drawing, constructing, biking and playing outside, etc. Some children may be so dependent on their screen time as their source for entertainment that they may need you to participate in alternate activities alongside them in order to get engaged in the activities.

You can’t simply tell your child to go outside to play if they are suffering from depression, lack friends and are used to sitting down and playing video games each day after school. Go outside with your child and do a nature hike or take your child to a playground and have fun together to get them engaged in these alternate activities.

4. Promote outdoor time and physical activities.

Encourage your children to take part in activities that especially involve nature such as nature hikes. Do these activities with them to help them engage in the activities. Again this is an opportunity for open conversations to occur and quality time to take place.

5. Help your child when problems and difficult tasks arise.

Assist them by helping them break down the task into smaller and more manageable parts. Children with depression often have difficulty taking on large problems and tasks and find them overwhelming. Helping them by breaking down the task into smaller and more manageable tasks will assist in helping raise their confidence when the small tasks are mastered.

Small tasks mastered lead to bigger tasks being mastered over time. It is a process over time, patience and a willingness to work alongside your child. This does not mean doing the task or taking on the problem solely yourself. Many times all the child needs is for you to break down the larger task into smaller more manageable tasks and for you to patiently talk your child through the completion of these smaller tasks.

6. Help your child reduce life stress.

When children are depressed, they have greater difficulty handling life activities in general. Cut back on activities that cause stress to increase and look for ways to help reduce stress in your child’s life.

7. Foster a positive home atmosphere.

Reduce or eliminate negative attitudes, language and conversations. Also avoid raised voices, passive aggressive behaviors and any form of physical violence in the home.

Make your home a safe haven for your child instead of an atmosphere that is ever volatile (in words, emotions or physically). Make it a calm environment that makes your child feel safe and secure mentally, emotionally and physically.

8. Help your child see the positive in life situations.

Point out the positives in a situation rather than the negatives. Help them see the bright side of any situation.

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Be a model of seeing the positive in life by speaking words that are uplifting, encouraging and positive. Resist the temptation to voice negative thoughts that come to mind as your child can feed off your emotions and words.

9. Believe your child when they talk about how they are feeling.

Listen to them patiently and take their words seriously. Do not discount or minimize their feelings. Express empathy and compassion when they do open up about their feelings. Help them utilize “I feel” statements in expressing their emotions.

10. Keep watch for suicidal behaviors.

Such behaviors include your child/teen researching this topic online, them giving away their possessions and a preoccupation with death.

Seek professional help immediately with the presentation of suicidal behaviors or thoughts. Keep this number on hand and use it when in doubt: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number 1-800-273-8255.

11. Keep all prescriptions, alcohol, drugs and weapons locked and away from children and teens.

This is a given for all children, but even more imperative for children who are depressed as they have an increased likelihood to abuse drugs and alcohol. They also have an increased likelihood to attempt suicide. So keep weapons and tools such as ropes and knives that can used for suicide out of the child’s ability to use.

12. Spend quality one-on-one time with your child.

Make the time during your day, every day, to spend quality time with your child. You may have limited time and cannot provide an hour or more a day to dedicate to one-on-one time with your child, but you should provide a minimum of 20 minutes a day with your child spending quality one-on-one time together. Try the suggested activities listed in point #3.

13. Be an encouragement and supporter of your child.

Show love and not frustration or anger because of the situation and your child’s condition. Help keep your attitude positive so your child can also see the positive.

Provide daily words of affirmation that are not based on end results (such as a grade or a win) but instead praise the effort they put forth. If you praise the outcome, they will be disappointed when their efforts don’t pan out. If they are praised for their efforts regardless of the outcome, their confidence is built based upon something that they can control (the effort they put into things).

14. Help your child to live a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep is a very important factor in your child’s mood. Not getting enough sleep can cause an entire day to be upset. According to Sleep Aid Resource, children between the ages of 3 and 18 need between 8 and 12 hours of sleep each night:[3]

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    Ensure your child is eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting physical activity/exercise daily and plenty of sleep time.

    15. Help your child foster positive relationships and friendships with their peers.

    Set up play dates for your younger child and encourage older children to invite friends over to your home.

    16. Talk about bullying.

    It can be one of the causes of your child’s depression, so discuss their life outside of home and their interactions with their peers. Help them recognize bullying and discuss how to handle bullying properly.

    17. Help your child follow the treatment plan outlined by their doctor, counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist.

    Make sure you know the treatment plan that your child’s health care professional has outlined for child. This may include counseling session recommendations, medications and recommendations to follow through with in the home. Completing the plan will help provide optimal results for your child in the long run. A plan doesn’t work unless it is followed.

    18. Recognize that professional treatment takes time to show results.

    Don’t expect results for the first few weeks. It may take a month or longer, so be patient and understanding with your child.

    Depression in children is curable

    Depression in children can happen for a variety of reasons. It is quite treatable.

    Professional help is recommended if your child can possibly be diagnosed with a depressive episode. There are interventions that can be implemented in a professional setting, at home and at school. The key is having a plan of action to help your child.

    Ignoring the problem or hoping the depression will just go away is not a good plan. Treatment is imperative to curing depression in children.

    The first step is talking to your child’s paediatrician to get the ball rolling. He or she will refer you to specialists in your area that can help your child overcome and conquer their depression one day at a time. With you by their side, each step of the way you will get through it together and it is quite possible for your relationship with your child to be strengthened in the process as well. That can be your silver lining or positive outlook on the situation at hand.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] National Institute of Mental Health: Suicide
    [2] Ask Dr. Sears: It’s a Virtual World: Setting Practical Screen Time Limits
    [3] Sleep Aid Resource: Sleep Chart

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