10 Life Hacks for Busy Parents

Stay sane with these tips

Working while managing a household and kids can be beautifully chaotic — and chaos can increase when the kids go back to school and schedules get a little busier. Finding ways to become more efficient with household tasks and your children’s needs means you’ll have more time for the fun things in life, like playing tag with your kids or reading books while cuddling in bed. Here are 10 tips to increase your efficiency, both at home and work.

1. Hold family meetings

Hold a weekly meeting with all members of your household to review big events, check-in with each other and make sure that everyone is ready for the week ahead. Keep this check-in brief but do address issues that might be causing strife in your home. Most family meetings can be done in 10 to 15 minutes and everyone will be on the same page for the coming da

2. Keep a family calendar

There are a billion calendar apps out there for families, from Cozi to Google Calendar. And don’t forget basic paper calendars for the wall! Keeping one calendar where family members can note events that affect the entire household will keep everyone aware of what’s next.

3. Plan your meals

Making a weekly meal plan means fewer manic pre-dinner grocery store visits. Take a few minutes at the beginning of the week to plan your meals and then hit up the grocery store or order your groceries online through a food delivery service such as AmazonFresh, Instacart or Safeway. Also consider meal planning sites like Blue Apron that take care of both menu planning and grocery shopping (here’s a nifty list of food-delivery services). You just need to cook the meal once the food arrives by following their clear directions.

4. Use your lunch hour

Make your lunch hour productive by paying bills, getting a haircut, running errands or working out. Taking this break in the middle of your work day can mean crossing off those pesky to-dos. And if you work out, it’s a nice way to release some stress in the middle of your day.

If finding time to exercise is hard, consider using your commute by riding your bike or running or walking part of the way. Taking the bus halfway home and then hoping off to walk the rest of the way will give you time to clear your head and work your muscles.

Your kids aren’t the only ones who need scheduling

5. Schedule yourself

Developing a routine for household jobs means they’ll get done on a more reliable schedule without the added guilt of a to-do list. By doing your laundry on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you’ll have a set time for necessary chores, which means fewer things will fall by the wayside.

You can’t do it all

6. Hire help

No parent is an island and having a team at your beck and call only helps with world domination. Find occasional help through Neighborly, hire a weekly or monthly house-cleaning service and schedule walks for Fido. Perhaps use your favorite parenting listserv or Facebook parenting group to help you find the best help. Consider swapping dog-walking duties with your neighbor or hire your neighbor’s kid to help out.

7. Find back-up childcare

Sickness always arrives at the worst time. You and your partner might have busy weeks with major presentations and then your little one gets the sniffles or your nanny calls in sick. When you just can’t take time away from work, having great back-up childcare is necessary. Services like Bright Horizons and Spilt Milk Nannies can be a lifesaver. 

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