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Three tips to maintain a social life while parenting


Looking after our children can be great fun. It’s an opportunity to connect with them emotionally, to follow their progress and to show our affection for them. But let’s not forget that, at times, childcare can be very overwhelming. We’ve all had those moments where we wished we could just press pause and step out of our noisy, hectic family life. We’ve created this short page of tips and tricks to help you find the right balance between looking after your children and taking some time out for yourself.

Find some trustworthy professionals

When you are socialising with friends, the last thing you want is to be worrying about your little ones. You need to be trust that your children are in a safe, warm and nurturing environment.

What can I do?

*  Find a trusted babysitter!

-  You want someone who has experience working with children, and who can confidently cook, drive, etc. Check that he/she is fully background checked and CRB-certified.

-  Ask friends and family for help, or contact a babysitting agency. You will be much more relaxed if you can find a babysitter who is “tried and trusted”.

-  Babysitters are ideal if you need someone to look after your child for just a few hours at a time, a few times a week.

*  Find a nanny!

-  For those of you who prefer round-the-clock childcare, a stay-at-home nanny may be a better option.

-  He/she will always be free to help you out and look after your little ones, so avoiding any unnecessary stress that can arise if you suddenly need to rush off.

-  Again, ask friends and family, or contact a nanny agency.

*  Find a nursery!

-  Nurseries are fantastic because you can be confident that your child is with experienced professionals, in an environment that is specially adapted for their safety and welfare.

-  An extra advantage of nurseries is that your child will also be in the company of other children, allowing him/her to develop both his social and creative skills.

-  When looking for a nursery, you can ask friends and family for recommendations. You can also look at websites and make a shortlist of nurseries that have received awards (e.g. Nursery Chain of the Year, Ofsted reports…) or that are close to home.

-  Remember to check that the nursery is open until late in case you need your child to stay longer certain evenings.

Ask friends and family for help

*  If you live close to your parents, you can organise yourselves so that they regularly come and look after your little ones. You will probably find that they will be delighted to spend some quality time with their grandchildren!

*  If your siblings have children too, you can arrange to alternate the childcare. While your sister/brother takes care of the children, you can have some time off (and vice versa)!

*  Arrange playdates (preferably with children whose parents you are close to so that you can chat). Otherwise, you can go off and do your own thing while the children are playing! Go to the cinema with another friend, go shopping, go to the park…

Plan ahead and stay organised

*  Try to plan the upcoming week(s). Be strict with yourself: pick out at least three slots during the week for you to take a break and socialise. For example, you can decide that you will reserve Monday and Wednesday afternoon for friends, and Saturday evening for dinner with your husband/wife/partner.

*  That way, you can ensure that you have already got some time out planned for yourself, and you can organise the childcare in advance.

*  Try to plan what you are going to do during these slots. The last thing you want is to reserve some time for yourself and then waste half of it deciding what you are going to do! You can go shopping, go bowling with friends, pick a restaurant/pub to try out, go to a sports match or the theatre… Or just take a walk in the park!

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