When do we get a break? When do we get time for us? How do we find time?

Parents balance multiple challenges within day-to-day living. Finding parental time to get re-charged and renewed are often few and far between. For the next month, try to fit one of the following mini-breaks into each day. And try to plan one BIG break during the next couple of months. All of these need to be modified, or utilized according to the age of your child (ren).


These range in length from a minute to a half hour.

  • Go into the bathroom, lock the door, turn on the fan to block out noise, and sit quietly.
  • Go into the bathroom, lock the door, and take a shower.
  • Occasionally, while your family eats dinner, walk around the block.
  • Get up 15 minutes early and sit quietly by yourself with your first cup of coffee.
  • Take your child to storytelling at the local library or bookstore. Spend some of that time sitting out of view of your child looking at a magazine.
  • Take your child to the local playground. Let your child play while you walk the perimeter of the park.

Big breaks:

These range in length from a few hours to a day.

  • Trade nights with another family. You take their child one night a month, and they take yours one night.
  • Call the babysitter to stay overnight. You go to the local motel for the night. Watch a movie and eat junk food. Sleep in late.
  • Call in sick to work. Take your kids to school. Go out for morning coffee. Take a walk. Go to a movie. Go home at your usual after-work time.
  • Check into the availability of “drop-in” child care. Many larger cities have short-term child care facilities where your child can be dropped off, spur of the moment. The play options are often limited and your child can only go a few hours per week, but it’s usually not very expensive. Drop your child off for a couple of hours on Saturday morning, just so you can do your errands unaccompanied.
  • See if your local YMCA has “Kid’s Night Out.” They’re usually on a Friday night for three hours. Your child stays at the Y for a few hours, and you have just enough time to go out for a leisurely meal.
  • Establish Sunday afternoon rest time for everyone. Your children have to be on their beds playing quietly until you tell them their time is up. While they rest, you read the paper or take a nap.

Susan M. Ward, an older child adoption specialist, provides parent coaching and resources for adoptive families. Susan’s training has focused on adoption issues relating to attachment, grief, and parenting. She’s also the adoptive parent of a child healed from RAD (reactive attachment disorder). Her website is Older Child Adoption Support.