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5 Time Management Tips for Parents

Simple, straight-forward tips for parents to streamline their day!

Being a parent is tough and managing time is hard. Managing kids and the clock together can be a recipe for disaster but it doesn't have to be! Here are 5 simple tips you can start implementing today.

1. Have a contact sheet with important information.

A one-page contact form with everyone from your kids' schools, the pediatrician and specialists, other car pool parents, the Sunday school teacher, the sports coaches and the camp counselors can be a lifesaver. Quit wasting time looking for phone numbers and keep this handy for reference. You can create a hard copy form to be taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet (and then take a picture with your cell) or a google doc that you can access via your mobile devices. Here's a helpful template to get you started.

2. Create an evening routine and stick to it.

The saying goes, "An organized day starts the night before" and I believe this to be true. Put in some routines during your p.m. schedule to make the following day run that much smoother. Make lunches after dinner while the kitchen is still a mess. Put the kids to work for a 10-min tidy session each night before bed. Lay out clothing and pack backpacks or camp bags with the soccer gear, bathing suit, science project, etc to make sure nothing is left behind in the a.m. rush. While putting the kids to bed do a recap exercise like "Roses & Thorns" where you talk about one good thing and one bad thing about your day and what you're going to do tomorrow to make things better.

3. Have your children do chores.

I'm giving you permission to put your kids to work. Have them pack lunches - my son was making a PB and J sandwich at 4-years-old. Give each kid a quick chore to do before bed - wipe down the bathroom counter, put away the shoes by the door, or run the dishwasher. Here's one of my older posts on chores you can reference.

4. Meal plan.

My family jokes that they know what we're having for dinner by what day it is, ie; Meatless Mondays (equals salad), Fish Friday, Soup-er Saturday, Thursday night leftovers. Once I started assigning each night a meal my evening routine and my grocery shopping became so much easier. You don't have to be as rigid as I am, but sitting down each Sunday evening and planning out dinner for the next few nights can be a lifesaver and can save you from last minute grocery store runs! Here's a great article to get you started.

5. Schedule It.

This sounds so simple in theory, but I think it's the one we overlook the most! There's a saying in the organizing business - "A to-do not tied to a to-when never gets done!" In other words if you don't schedule something you're less likely to do it. So if you need to pick up a gift for teacher appreciation day, be sure to mark it down in your calendar. If you have to get a birthday present for the party on Saturday, block off time on Thursday afternoon to swing by the store and then schedule time on Friday to wrap it and have your child sign the card. The more you can put things in your calendar the less likely you are to forget them and the more likely you are to actually do them! Here's a round-up of some to-do list apps to help.

I've written some other posts to help with time management: list making, saving time, and to-do lists.

Please share this with a busy parent or caretaker who could use some time saving tips!

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