Most parents will agree that there just aren’t enough hours in a day! Regardless of whether you are a stay-home parent or one holding down a full-time job, it is a challenge to attend to the many responsibilities of caring for young children, on top of managing work, household chores, bills and other nitty-gritty matters.
So is it possible to handle everything that life demands of you, with time left over to actually enjoy quality time with your kids? I Love Children suggests 5 time-saving tips to maximise your time and become a more efficient parent!
1) Establish Schedules and Routines
When time is a precious commodity, it makes sense to create a system of sorts to maintain a semblance of order in our busy lives. Although scheduling everything to the last minute might be unrealistic and tedious, generally knowing what needs to be done at certain times of the week can make life less chaotic.
For example, doing the laundry every Saturday morning, or grocery shopping every Wednesday, eliminates the need to spend time planning for such mundane chores, while making sure that these get done on time.
On a daily basis, having a regular routine for meals, naps, baths and bedtimes not only helps you keep your sanity, but also is advantageous for your little ones, who thrive and find comfort in predictability.
2) Organise your Home
Turning the house inside out to hunt for something you need, especially when you’re already running late for an appointment, is frustrating as well as a big waste of time. Avoid such situations by keeping everything more or less in its rightful place at home.
While it is a tall order to keep the house impeccably neat (especially when toddlers are in the picture), it is easy to designate certain fixed places to keep important items such as keys, wallets and mobile phones; as well as other useful items. (For example, keys are always placed on the hook by the door, and scissors are always in the drawer in the kitchen, etc.) You will appreciate this when you need to rush out and are able to grab what you need in a flash.
Another tip for a more organised home is to have plenty of storage boxes for books, toys and other kid paraphernalia, so that clean-up time is fast, easy and relatively stress-free. Less clutter strewn around also makes for a neater, more pleasant home.
3) Create To-do Lists
Whether you prefer using a checklist app on your mobile phone, or just good old pen and paper, keeping a to-do list is one of the simplest and easiest ways to be effective.
This is how it works: once you realise something needs to get done, or certain supplies are running low at home, note it down on your to-do list. When it is time for your next run to the supermarket, there’s no need to waste time drawing up a shopping list.
In addition, having a to-do list helps take things off your mind. It is easier to refer to a prepared list for the errands you need to run, rather than having to keep reminding yourself all day that you have to pick something up from the dry cleaners in the evening.
4) Use Online Services
Take advantage of the convenience and flexibility of the internet, with the myriad of e-services available nowadays. Not only would you be able to avoid crowds and queues by paying bills, ordering groceries or ordering your food online, you can even do it in your pyjamas, at midnight, in the comfort of home.
In fact, a survey by PayPal (link: http://sbr.com.sg/retail/news/heres-how-savvy-singaporeans-plan-spend-their-time-saved-shopping-online-survey) showed that during festive seasons, Singaporeans are able to save up to 45 hours through online shopping! As an added bonus, moms who have given up all hope of going on leisurely shopping trips can once again enjoy retail therapy online, without having to risk a toddler tantrum in the middle of a busy shopping mall.
5) Identify and Minimise Time-Zappers
Do you start the day checking out the latest Facebook posts, or unwind in front of the TV after a long, hard day? Sometimes, we get so absorbed that we lose track of time, and then suddenly realise that an hour (or more) has flown by!
While it is healthy to have some “down-time” for relaxation, it is important to be aware of how much time is spent on these time-zappers. Being conscious of how you spend your leisure hours means that you could spend more quality time reading or playing with your children, rather than vegging out on the couch together.
Do bear in mind that these tips we have shared are by no means exhaustive, and as you examine your own household’s daily rhythms, you would be able to develop your own unique ways to make the most of every day. The bottom line is, a few time-saving strategies, adopted consistently, can make a big difference. We hope these tips have provided some food for thought towards making your parenting journey a little easier and more enjoyable!