You have a lot of demands on your time. Between work, your children, your spouse, and your friends, it may feel like you can’t possibly fit everything in. Fortunately, there have been many parents who have walked this path before you, so there is a lot of advice out there for making the most out of the limited time you have. At Foundations for Learning, we are committed to making parenting easier for you through excellent child care. Here are also some tips you can use to save time in your daily life.
One of the areas where you can most certainly save time is for meals. Feeding a family can be like a full-time job. Between making sure everyone gets a healthy breakfast, packing up lunches, and getting the whole family to sit down together for dinner, it might feel like you are chained to your kitchen. Here are some tips for making sure mealtime goes off without a hitch.
- Make a meal plan. Once you get the hang of it, meal planning saves you hours of time. When you know exactly what your family is going to eat, you don’t have to waste time staring at the fridge, trying to figure out what to improvise.
- Keep a grocery list on the fridge. Take the guesswork out of grocery shopping by always having a list. When you run out of a certain ingredient, immediately write it down so you don’t have to waste time hunting around the kitchen.
- Rely on your freezer. When you have a family to feed, the freezer is your best friend. Cook in large batches and freeze leftovers for those inevitable days when things don’t go as you planned.
- Meal prep when you’re cooking. If you’re making dinner tonight, take a moment to chop up some veggies for tomorrow night while you’re at it. The more prepared you are for tomorrow, the easier it will be to throw everything together.
- Clean as you go. If you make a mess of your kitchen while cooking and then have to go through and clean everything, you’re taking twice the time. Instead, clean while you cook. When you’re done with ingredients, put them away. Put a bowl next to your prep area and discard any trash into it so you can easily dump it together.
If you feel like you can’t seem to make the time to get everything done, chances are, there are ways you could optimize your time management.
- Don’t multitask. People are often under the impression that they are getting more done when they are doing more than one thing at a time, but in reality, you are just taking longer to do both tasks. Though there is only so much control you can have over distractions, when you can, focus all of your attention at one thing at a time. This will greatly increase your efficiently.
- Tackle the toughest task first. Whatever on your to-do list that you are dreading the most, whether it’s making an emotional phone call or cleaning out the attic, do it before anything else. Procrastinating is a waste of your energy. Get the tough task out of the way first, and you free up more time and energy for the rest of your list.
- Don’t forget “you” time. As they say, you can’t pour from an empty glass. If you are solely filling your schedule with things for your children and leaving no time for yourself, you are just asking to burn out. It’s essential that you schedule in things for you. Find something that makes you feel rested and refreshed, whether it’s going to a yoga class, curling up with a book, or watching your favorite TV show.
- Fill “in-between” minutes. There are inevitably small bits of downtime in your schedule, and you can accomplish more than you realize in these moments. Make a list of small tasks you can get done during these times, from wiping down the counters to responding to emails to planning your schedule for the next day. Then, when you have five minutes, consult the list and check one or two things off your list.
- Learn to say “no.” Chances are, you get asked to do many things that you and your family don’t actually want to do. Don’t say “yes” to anything out of obligation. When you’re busy, time is a precious resource that you shouldn’t waste on things that aren’t going to be worth it. You don’t have to give any excuses, just say, “Thank you, but we can’t make it.”
Being organized is the difference between a stressful, frantic home environment, and a calm and peaceful one. While you may be busy, your life doesn’t have to be chaotic if you approach it in an organized way.
- Have a place for everything. You’re already late to take the kids to school, and you can’t find your keys anywhere. If this sounds familiar, it’s time for a key bowl that you keep next to your entryway. While you’re at it, have special stations where the kids keep everything they need for school, including backpacks, homework assignments, jackets, and shoes. This will significantly decrease the amount of time you need to spend searching for lost items before you head out the door.
- Get the kids involved in cleaning. Too many parents try to do it all, but even your very young kids can get involved in housekeeping to help you stay organized. Assign everyone age-appropriate chores. For example, your toddler can help you dust, set the table, or fold laundry (like small washcloths). Everyone should be contributing.
- Organize the night before. Are mornings like a circus in your household? If you are scrambling to get everything done before going to school, it’s a lot more likely that you will end up running late. Work together as a family to get everything ready the night before. Pack lunches, pick out outfits, and make sure you have everything in their allotted space before you head to bed for less hectic mornings.
- Cut down on clutter. Get the kids involved in helping you sort through the clutter in your home. Have three piles: keep, toss, and donate. Simply living more minimally can cut down on the time you waste trying to find things, and will also teach your children important lessons such as responsibility, decreasing waste, and generosity.
One thing that will be invaluable to you as a busy working parent is the right childcare. At Foundations for Learning, we provide caring and compassionate child care to residents of South Windsor. If you are interested in touring our child care center, contact us!