Whether you have one kid or six, being a parent requires some serious time management skills! No matter how crazy your schedule may get while juggling getting dinner on the table, helping with homework and playing chauffeur (just to name a few!), if you know how to manage your time wisely, you’ll save yourself a whole lot of stress.
Check out our five time management tips for busy parents below and experience the joy of getting things done without feeling overwhelmed.
1. Create Routines that Work for Your Family
With the insanity that is parenthood, routines can help create some order in an otherwise chaotic day. Whether you’re establishing a new school routine for your older kids or creating structure for your toddler, having routines in place for regular chores will reduce the amount of decisions you have to make each day, freeing up mental space for work, play and creativity. Imagine having time to fit in a family walk or board game after dinner instead of having to catch up on laundry or run to the grocery store!
2. Make Your Calendar/Planner Your Best Friend
Whether you prefer a paper or digital calendar or planner, utilize this time-saving best friend on a daily basis. Enter all appointments as soon as they’re made, and carve out time every week to plan out the upcoming week. Schedule time for all of your random to-do’s—such as picking up dry cleaning, running on a grocery trip or even working out—around already existing appointments and tasks.
Refer to your calendar every morning so you know what you have scheduled for that day, and update it as needed throughout the day or at the end of the day. This will help you to easily stay on top of the various to-do’s and appointments for each family member!
3. Learn the Art of Saying “No”
Even though you might not be leaving your house much these days, you can still overextend yourself. While you may feel pressure to stay active at home, give yourself permission to say “no” when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Of course, if events are important to you, do them! But be sure to cut out other activities you’re not keen on so you can free up time for what is truly important (including self-care!).
We understand that saying no can be easier said than done, but turning down the things that aren’t top priorities will help you create the mental space to better tackle the things that do matter.
4. Share Household Responsibilities
Delegating household tasks can be extremely difficult at first. But after you’ve practiced flexing your delegation muscle a bit, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sharing responsibilities sooner!
Talk with your partner about the responsibilities each of you have and if there’s a better way to divvy them up (and if there are some you can outsource—see tip five below). Depending on the ages of your kids, you can involve them too! Preschoolers can help fold laundry and bus the table, and older kids can take responsibility for bigger tasks such as vacuuming, dusting and sweeping floors. While it will certainly take time and effort upfront to get everyone onboard, it will pay off in the long run.
Extra Tip: Think about creating a reward system the whole family can get excited about! Perhaps, each week your kids successfully complete their tasks, they get to pick a toy or craft out of a special box, or every month your family can celebrate a job well done by going to a favorite restaurant or on an adventure together.
5. Outsource Tasks
Some tasks are always going to be a necessity. But that doesn’t mean you have to be the one to always do it. Pick your least favorite chore (laundry, anyone?), and consider outsourcing! Part of being a parent is realizing where you need help—and for many people, that comes in the form of preparing healthy, kid-friendly meals three times a day, every day.
We know firsthand how much time that whole process can take—from meal planning and shopping to prepping and cooking, making your kid’s food can feel like a part-time job! If this is a struggle for you, think about purchasing a nutritious kids meal delivery service.