University of Illinois Extension

Juggling Isn't Just for Clowns

Rachel Schwarzendruber, Family Life Educator

If you're like many grandparents who are raising their grandkids, your life is plenty busy, maybe even hectic. Sometimes, life becomes a juggling act; and just as a juggler who has too many balls in the air may drop one, so will the person who has too many things going on at one time. Here are some tips that may improve your juggling.

Decide what is important. Take the time to examine what you are doing. List the tasks that you want to get done. Divide them into three categories - very important, important, and nice to have done. Concentrate your energy on the very important tasks first, and then do the things that are important. Finally, consider eliminating the third category. Sometimes we get caught up in activities that are trivial, and that leaves little time for the important things.

Delegate. There may be the day when you walk into a room of hungry children, a sink full of snack dishes, piles of dirty laundry, and a dog that has run through the mud. You want to turn around and forget it. A better choice is to delegate to other family members. Delegating not only helps you get the work done, but also teaches the children how to do the task and be a team player.

While the older children may not acknowledge it, everyone ends with a sense of accomplishment. Remember that new tasks take practice, so you might have to settle for something that is less than perfect while the children are learning.

Make time together count. Quality time together does not have to be extra time. Talk to your grandchild while working together or riding in the car. Laugh and relax with them. By using the time that you are together, even a little time can make a big difference in attitude.

Practice positive talk. Feeling overwhelmed and hopeless leaves us exhausted and drained. Talk to yourself and others with positive statements. Happy words create happy attitudes. Say, "I will," instead of, "I hope to," and, "I need this done," instead of, "You should do this." Say, "I know you can," instead of, "can't you ever?"