The moment you become a parent, the awareness sets in of how much down time you actually had before children. Everything accomplished without children, you now have to do in the same time-frame you did before, only now you’ve got a beautiful child to feed, teach, and spend quality time with daily. To do this, it’s important to implement some time-saving practices into your daily routine. Here, Julie Laviolette shares some of her favorite time-saving tips for parents:
“Many years ago, when I worked a full-time paying job, I remember how tight my schedule was – how I struggled to fit all my must-do’s in a day. Now, add two children and a work-at-home schedule that often spans morning ‘til night to the mix, and I seem to have more tasks than ever to fit into my dwindling free time.
So how do we moms and dads keep the home fires burning when we’re exhausted from homework, housecleaning, cooking (or fetching take-out)? Here are a few strategies:
Touch everything once.
When you get the mail, sit down and open each envelope. Put each piece of paper in an action pile: trash, recycling bin, file cabinet and take action. Throw the trash out, toss the recyclables in the bin, file what you need to keep and take action on the rest.
If you take something out, put it away.
It’s amazing how orderly this will keep your house. This was my own Dad’s mantra. Whenever I use it on my kids, it makes me think of him and smile.
Teach your kids to help.
You are not the house servant. Kids can sweep, wipe the table, put away clean dishes and clothes and empty wastebaskets. If you expect them to do it, they will help.
Find a home for everything.
In our house, the library books live on the coffee table in the office. If someone is reading a book, the book can visit other parts of the house. When they are done reading, the library books must go back to live on the coffee table until it’s time to return them.
Group your errands.
If you have to pick up a prescription at the drug store, stop at the grocery to get milk, and then fill up your car with gas on your way home.
Keep a calendar.
Write down everything in one place: Scout meetings, fieldtrips, lunch dates with friends. This will help you feel organized, even if you don’t think you are.
Keep a notebook by your phone.
Do not write on tiny, little corners of receipts that you tear off when someone calls to tell you something important. Keep your notes in one place, then transfer them to your calendar. See above.
Schedule errands like grocery shopping and going to the library. Work in last-minute tasks around tasks you need to complete every week.
Cook in bulk.
Double a recipe and freeze half. Cook a chicken and eat half tonight; use the other half in chicken salad or a casserole later in the week.
Take a look at how you spend your time.
Decide what needs to take priority. Maybe you’ll clean the bathrooms today. Maybe you’ll cook a gourmet meal. Maybe you’ll take the kids to the park. One of my favorite sayings is “You can have a clean house or a cooked meal or happy kids. Pick any two.”
The Reading Kingdom online reading program is an excellent way to help you get things done. Children use our reading software independently and have fun while doing it; they actually refer to it as a game. To sign up for a free 30 day trial, click here.
“There are so many great things about the Reading Kingdom…it’s really easy to use, it builds on success,
and your child really enjoys doing it.” – Cindy Crawford, supermodel and mom whose kids have used Reading Kingdom