Remember the days when your officer would come home after a long night shift, head straight to bed and you would keep the house perfectly still in fear of waking him? Nah, me either. Those memories are in the FAR distance. Now all I know is that on most days my house sounds like a circus and the word ‘quiet’ is pretty nonexistent. Keeping my kids quiet, well okay, fairly quiet, takes A LOT of planning my end and I am left most days feeling like I wrestled lions.
So I think it is fair to say that having to keep our children quiet when our spouses need rest for their very important job is no easy feat.
It can put a lot of stress on us as mothers AND police wives when we are trying to stay organized, balanced and in control. Making sure that our spouses get adequate rest (because we are solo parenting and feeling like we say “shh” 1,000x/day) adds a lot of pressure on top of the stress we already feel. I can’t tell you how many times I felt “responsible” for my husband’s lack of sleep because I felt like I wasn’t “doing a good job” on the mothering end.
I want you to put those stresses and pressures behind you. Please know that no one has this all figured out. My best advice is to try to be as prepared and organized as possible with fun, sometimes messy activities for your children. (And sometimes messier means quieter little ones). Playing with my kids helps on the noise level a lot and when I need to do household chores or make food, I save the less messy activities for another time.
I wish I could say I have the “magic” answer to solve this dilemma, but I don’t. Kids will be kids and quiet frankly, I don’t want to force my kids to be quiet all the time- it is NOT natural and they can’t live in a bubble. So I am left trying to find this perfect balance between fairly quiet, engaged, happy kids and a happy, well-rested husband.
What I have found works best, is rotating activities and changing environments frequently. I also think giving my children options for the activities we do at home helps because they tend to play longer with an activity they have chosen. To keep track of the activities I plan, I write them out on this tracker. Feel free to download the children’s activity tracker, too!
Tired of struggling with night shift?
You CAN find balance while your officer works night shift! This handy NIGHT SHIFT ACTIVITY LIST & TRACKER will help prepare you for any long nights ahead. Join over 12,000 fellow police wives and download your copy today!
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.
These are the ways/activities I use in my house to entertain my 3 busy children:
- Designate a “quiet” area of your house. Your officer is sleeping, so where in the world are you supposed to take your kids so they don’t wake him? Naturally, I would pick an area furthest away in your home. If you have the space, a small play area or play room is ideal. Or a designated “quiet time” area filled with engaging activities.
- Change environments/ activities frequently. Now, obviously you can’t spend all day in the designated area, but if you play for small increments of time then change environments for a snack or movie time then you can always go back into the play or quiet area. Or have a few toys or activities planned in case your kids are getting bored or loud and need something new.
- Rotate toys. I have been rotating my children’s toys for a few years now. It is super easy once you have it organized. You buy 6-7 storage totes and fill them with various toys, puzzles & books. You then store these somewhere your kids do not have easy access to them, like your garage, basement, storage area, or closet. The idea is, a few times a week (or whenever you kids are ready for a new bin), you pull out a tote for your children to play with and because they have not played with those toys for a while, it feels like Christmas all over again. They will learn to appreciate their toys more and be more engaged while playing with them because they seem new and exciting. Once they seem bored with those toys, you pack them back up in the same tote, store it and move on to another. This idea also helps with the amount of toys you have around your house!
- Sensory bins. I love these! These are small bins filled with anything safe that your children can touch, play with & explore. If you need some inspiration, check out these Dollar Store sensory bin ideas from Mostly Under Control. Sensory bins are great for rainy or cold days. I love to make holiday or seasonal themed bins, too!
- Outside play. Weather permitting, of course. But I try to run my kids wild and only come inside for snacks and rest times
- Play dates outside of the home. You can trade hosting play dates and offer your home when your officer is working. You can attend a play date on the days your officer needs to sleep.
- Water play. My kids love to play with toys in a bin of water, play in the sink, or enjoy splashing around with their bathing suits on in the bathtub
- Library time. Check out new books and/or attend a library reading session.
- Finger painting.Yes, it is messy, but then you can jump straight to water play (#8) for a new activity.
- Play-doh or slime making.
- Make cards or letters for friends/relatives. Quiet coloring time or card making is always fun!
- “Quiet” dance party. Just like a regular dance party but I keep the music on a much lower level.
- Tea party.
- Decorate old boxes. My kids can do this for hours. They love to get inside the boxes and decorate them all over!
- Shaving cream play in the shower or bath. I buy a jar of shaving cream and let them paint the tub or shower. I will also add food coloring for added fun!
- Play doctor. I literally just buy my kids a box of band aids and they do nuts. They act like they are stickers and they love to play doctor with me, each other and all their dolls.
- Dress up/imaginative play.
- Cooking. Pretend or let them help in the kitchen. Again, it can be messy when they help but you are making memories.
- Ball pit or small inside trampoline.
- Plan extracurricular activities for this time. This works best for the summer or if your children are still small.
- Puppet show. We have this one but you can make your own, too!
- Scavenger Hunt.
- Fine motor activities. You can find a TON of ideas on Pinterest.
- Make a fort.
Another way to stay organized is with a concept called time blocking. It is where you plan out your day in 30 minute or one hour increments. If you are interested in this strategy then you can read about it here from Melissa at Blessed Simplicity. She has a basic time blocking template you can print for free.
Remember that you are doing the BEST that you can. Just keep those kiddos moving and provide new opportunities for a quieter home! If you still feel stressed, then sharing these feelings with your officer may be really helpful. I always let my officer know I am trying the best that I can and it helps me for him to realize the pressure I may be feeling.
Night shift doesn’t have to be hard. I hope you have found some new ways to stay sane and keep your little ones quiet but happy! What are some tricks you already use? Let us know in the comments!
Grab the All-in-One Police Wife Reference Guide
Grab this handy reference guide for all things police wife! From important dates & events to resources for law enforcement- all in one place! Subscribing also gets you access to my weekly newsletter full of tips and encouragement.