Six Simple Parenting Hacks
At times, being a parent can feel a lot like being flung from one chaotic scenario to the next, with your toes on the rudder and both hands busy trying to juggle the different challenges of each day! Your schedule is crazy and your kids are brilliant, fun, unpredictable; loaded with such great energy that it can be hard to keep up with them.
Luckily these simple hacks have the power to make your household sail more smoothly. Why not give them a try and see if you can free up some precious time to enjoy being with your children? Who knows you may even make way for a little you time!
#1 Create A Super Schedule
So often we allow the timetable of activities pursued by our kids to catch us out on a regular basis. We lose track of which day football practice falls on, forget the judo demonstration, and parent teacher evening, sleepover, party and so on. The end result is rather stressful as we find ourselves ill prepared, running late and struggling to meet our own personal obligations. This is a slippery slope that is all too easy to get stuck on!
Address this challenge by investing your time in making a high quality schedule that you will enjoy keeping up to date. This might mean making a big and bright schedule in your home that the whole family can see and add to. You could opt to create a fun chalkboard calendar by transforming a section of wall with some chalkboard paint and bright chalk pens! If your children are a little older or you particularly want to keep your partner in the know regarding upcoming activities, try using an online calendar that you can all keep track of remotely. Make the most of features like the colour coding of different activities and leave the odd goofy message for each other, to make your schedule more fun and engaging. This way you will never forget a packed lunch or birthday gift again!
#2 Build A Readiness Routine
Introduce some discipline to your daily and weekly routines by making sure that some things are ready ahead of time. This could mean your kids picking out their school clothes for the week on a Sunday evening so that everything is ready to go, or becoming super strict about washing and repacking sports kit after each use so that sports bags can be ready and waiting to be grabbed as you head for the door, each time they are needed. Introducing some basic readiness rules can dramatically speed up your days and eliminate stressful clamouring at the last minute, making it impossible to get out of the door on time.
#3 Create A Food Plan
Choosing what to eat each day and making frantic runs to the shops for things we have run out of can cause an alarming amount of time to disappear. We’ve all stood in the middle of the supermarket staring blankly at the shelves wondering “what on earth am I going to cook today?” When meals are not organised, food often ends up in the bin, particularly when it winds up getting lost at the back of the fridge well past its use by date.
Try creating a meal plan for each week so that each purchase has a purpose – eliminating the guess work from the equation. Many families find it useful to organise their meals by picking out a certain style of dish for each day of the week; such as pasta on Mondays and casserole on Thursdays. Encourage each family member to contribute to what they would like to include in the plan, allowing everyone to have their own favourite night! Another approach is to have one night of the week where the meal is chosen collectively by your children, allowing them to find a recipe they want to try and prepare it themselves. Once you have your meals planned out you can make your shopping list accordingly. This organised approach will save you a great deal of time and money in no time at all.
#4 Share The Laundry Load
Introducing a laundry routine makes sure that one member of the household doesn’t find themselves lumbered with this tedious task. You might need to experiment to find the solution that fits best for your home, but options could include simply taking it in turns to sort the laundry into piles for each individual, or investing in a laundry basket for each individual and then washing these items as a personal load once it’s full. This way everyone takes responsibility for their own belongings and the process of separating items into each person’s pile becomes a thing of the past.
#5 Learn To Say No
It is crucial to be able to recognise when we have reached the point that we have taken on too much. Learning that it’s OK to say no to certain activities or social engagements for ourselves and our children is key in terms of reclaiming our time and our sanity! Take a look at the schedule you have made and ask yourself if there are things there which are perhaps not really worth investing yourself in. If you find that you need to trim things down, it’s time to sit down as a family and weigh up which commitments really matter. Make sure that your time and energy as a family is invested wisely.
#6 Block Out Quality Family Time
It might seem counter intuitive as we live together but it’s very easy to reach a point where whenever we are together as a family, someone is working, cooking, gaming, cleaning or doing homework and we are not truly present in a way that allows us to connect. Try blocking out one evening a week for totally focused family time. Pick an activity you can all do together. This could be sitting down for a family meal without phones or distractions, visiting a park or exhibition, staying home and playing cards, or anything else you enjoy doing as a group. Having fun together and making time to hear about what is going on in each other’s lives will leave you all feeling more relaxed, understood, and connected. An added bonus is that this improved connection makes it so much easier for you to work as a team throughout the rest of the week!