5 Time-Saving Tips for Working Parents
The mornings can be rough for anyone, but they’re all the more challenging when you’re trying to get kids ready and out the door, too. Here are five tips that will help you get going with a minimum of stress.
(Photo Credit: muffet/Flickr)
Nothing’s worse than waking up stressed and scrambling to get yourself and your family ready for the day. It seems that the morning hours are made for absolute chaos to ensue and for Murphy’s Law to slap you in the face and say, “I told you so.” However, it doesn’t have to be that way – or, at least not every morning. We’ve compiled a list of five time-saving tips to help working parents get a grip on their morning routines and start the day off right.
1. Make meals ahead of time. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner can all be prepared or made ahead of time, thanks to crockpot cooking, once-a-month meal planning, or simply easy-prep meals that take less than thirty minutes to prepare. In today’s social media age, it’s so incredibly easy to find recipes to fit your family’s needs. Check Pinterest or Facebook for users who dedicate their social media efforts to providing followers with time-saving meal planning tips. Meal planning includes your morning cup of joe, too. Grind the coffee beans, fill the water reservoir, set the timer, and get the to-go coffee cups cleaned and ready the night before. You’ll be surprised how much time and frustration this little step saves.
2. Lay out everyone’s outfits and belongings the night before. We mean everything – clothes, socks, shoes, bags, purses, briefcases, lunchboxes, and the list goes on. Having everything laid out and ready to go is such a time- and stress-saver during the rush to get out the door. Have the entire family pick what they’re going to wear the night before so that you don’t have to hear the dreaded, “I can’t find anything to wear,” on your way out the door. Side note: Don’t forget to iron the night before, too. You’ll thank us later for this reminder the next time your morning throws you one of those hilarious little curve balls at the most inopportune time.
3. Keep one family calendar. Something that is overlooked, but highly effective at organizing a family’s hectic schedule is a consolidated family calendar that is out in the open (e.g. on the refrigerator). By having everyone’s schedules in one spot, it saves the confusion of the last-minute “who has what when” dilemma that often arises. There are also many mobile-friendly, like Cozi, that help digitally manage a family’s calendar on-the-go. There’s nothing worse than having to rearrange your family’s day or week simply because someone double-booked the calendar. Save yourself the time and implement a simple, handy scheduling system that works for you and your family.
4. Divvy up household responsibilities. No one is superwoman or superman, so don’t try and take on a full-time job plus keep a house and home – it’s impossible. You will either drive yourself mad or into pure exhaustion if you don’t ask for help around the house. If your kids are capable of cooking or preparing meals, then give them the simple task of making one meal a week for the family. Likewise, if they are mature enough to handle sharp objects, then assign them to dishwashing duties at night. As for mom and dad, sharing the household duties (laundry, dishes, cleaning) will eliminate a great deal of stress and, in turn, lessen the number of arguments resulting from nothing getting done around the house. And husbands, remember, “Happy wife, happy life.” If you don’t believe us, then find out the hard way at your own risk. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)
5. Wake up earlier. As dreadful as it sounds, waking up early can eliminate a majority of the typical stressors that you and your family face in the mornings; like rushing around, trying to find the lost car keys, or desperately trying to locate your son’s left shoe … again. Enjoy a bit of peace and quiet while you sip your coffee and read the daily news. You will find that you will not only get more done in the mornings after waking up earlier, but you will also be a happier person, too. Studies show that early birds are simply happier and more energized than those who stay in bed until the very last minute before tackling the day ahead. Rise and shine!
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How do you ensure that your mornings go off without a hitch, if that’s possible? Share your secrets to dodging the chaos of the mornings with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.