Time Flies! Easy Time-Savers for Parents
Let’s face it: Being a parent in today’s busy world is far from easy. In fact, some days can be downright crazy! From making healthy meals for the family each day and running kids to practices, to paying bills and fitting in a little time for yourself, time is of the essence. Unfortunately, there just never seems to be enough of it to go around. The good news is that there are ways to sneak in an extra hour or two each day. Here’s how:
- Make lists. While a long to-do list can look dreadfully daunting, you’ll find no simpler household management tool. Some cool mobile apps are available to help busy parents, however, many people find it much more satisfying to mark off tasks on a simple pen-and-paper checklist or calendar.
- Delegate chores. Divvy up the responsibilities each day among family members. Showing the eldest children how to wash their own clothes or the youngest how to fold and put away their own clean clothes doesn’t take long. Create chore charts for each child so he knows his chores each day. This allows kids to see what chores are expected, plus gives them the satisfaction of checking things off as they’re completed. Sharing the household chores builds responsibility and self-esteem, helping your children become more successful adults.
- Manage the mornings. Are you running amuck each morning trying to get everyone out the door? Lessen the stress by packing lunches in the evening. Try putting single-serving containers of applesauce, carrots, cheese sticks and other lunch items in a basket on the counter, then let your kids pick what they’d like to put in their lunches. Choose the next day’s clothing, checking the weather the night before and having your children (and you) select the following day’s outfits ahead of time. This little step will alleviate morning arguments over proper clothing.
- Prep in advance. While you’re making breakfasts, prep what you can for dinner ahead of time. You can mix dry ingredients to have them ready, and wash and chop veggies.
- Make extra. When making a family favorite for dinner, double the recipe and freeze the other half for another night. Voila!
- Take shortcuts. Does the recipe call for chicken? Buy rotisserie or frozen grilled chicken breasts from the store. No time to make homemade sauce? Don’t be afraid to buy it from the store.
- Have your groceries delivered. For a small fee, most grocery stores will deliver right to your door. Online grocery shopping also can cut back on impulse buying—especially if you’re shopping hungry.
- Have breakfast for dinner. When there’s no time to whip up dinner, serve the family one of their quick breakfast favorites! Scrambled eggs are quick to make, and a serving of fruit on the side makes it that much healthier. Not egg fans? Let everyone fill a bowl of cold cereal, with a cup of fruit on the side.
- Invest in an extra freezer. Having an additional freezer will allow you to buy in bulk so you make fewer trips to the grocery store each month. Even easier…head to Social Suppers (SocialSuppers.com) and purchase entrées from the express fridge. Click here for a coupon for a FREE entrée from the Prairie Village location.
- Control clutter with baskets. Purchase some pretty baskets and designate one for each family member. At the end of each day, have everyone gather their toys, books, socks and other items in their baskets to put away before bedtime.
- Multitask. While waiting for dinner to finish cooking, clean the kitchen. Scrub down the bathroom after you shower or fold laundry as you remove it from the dryer.
- Treat clothing stains ASAP. Doing this is much easier than trying to inspect every item of clothing on laundry day. Pretreat stains as they happen so, when the time comes, you can just toss everything into the washing machine.
- Do shorter cycles. If the clothes aren’t that dirty, choose a shorter cycle during the wash and rinse phase. You’ll get laundry done much more quickly, and as a bonus, a shorter cycle is better for the environment and your water bill!
- Purchase wrinkle-free fabrics. Unless you really enjoy ironing, look for clothing labeled “wrinkle-free.” Stay away from fabrics such as linen and rayon that crease easily.
- Put a tape dispenser and scissors in every living area of your home. When you have kids, these come in handy and seem to be needed a lot. Plus, with multiple sets, you spend less time running around the house looking for them.
- Take a “Busy-Mom” Shower. “What is this?” you ask. Washing yourself using the sink, washcloths and soap rather than taking a full shower every day. Almost every busy mom has done this. Dry shampoo is handy, too. However, if you’re someone who needs to shower every day, try showering at night to free up some time in the morning.
- Pay bills and bank online. Most banks now let you deposit checks online instead of having to do it in person. Plus, setting yourself up to pay bills online will save you both money on stamps and trips to the post office. Double whammy!
- Purge. The more stuff you have in your home, the more cleaning, dusting and organizing you must do. If you have more than you need, it’s probably time for a garage sale or a big donation run to your local thrift store or the Good Will. Some organizations even offer free donation pickup services in certain areas.
Freeing up time in your daily life really can be this simple! Just remember: No household has ever fallen apart from parents’ consolidating tasks and cutting a few corners. Instead, happier, lower stress homes were created.
Kansas City mom Gina Klein is a writer and author who thrives on cutting as many corners in her day-to-day life as she can for her family’s sanity.