When you’re a single parent, your time is at a premium. You want to make sure that you manage your work and family priorities, all while making some time for yourself as well. Here are some time-saving tips for single parents.
Get things ready the night before
For many families, the morning routine is a hectic one, and there isn’t much free time to spare. To help you save time in the morning, prepare as much as you can the night before. For example, you can assemble lunches, pack backpacks and bags, lay out everyone’s clothing for the next day, or even set the table for breakfast.
Meal prep on weekends
Weekends can be an ideal time to cook for the week ahead. If you find yourself with an extra hour or so, you can chop vegetables, or even create large batches of easy-to-freeze meals such as chili or casseroles. These can be reheated for lunches or dinners during the week, when you might have less time to cook from scratch. You may also want to take a few minutes to plan your meals for the days ahead, which can mean less time wasted looking for ingredients at the last minute.
Write down your weekly commitments
Having all of your chores, meetings, and appointments written out will help you to ensure that you’re planning and using your time most efficiently. You can simply write these items in a weekly organizer, and some families benefit from having the schedule posted in a communal location like the kitchen. Be sure to include things you may not think you need to, such as picking up your children from school.
Enlist help and delegate
Asking others for help now and then can help to make your daily life run smoother. You can ask a neighbor to sign for a package you’re expecting, share carpool duties with another parent from your child’s school, or have your child spend one evening a week at their grandparents’ house. You can even give your children duties, such as helping to unload the dishwasher or putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket. This will not only free up some time for you, but your child will learn to feel included as well.
Don’t expect perfection
You’re just one person, so remember to go easy on yourself and pick your battles. It may not be possible to cook a hot breakfast every morning or have a spotlessly clean home. Instead, decide what things are most important to you, and try to not waste time worrying about the other things.
Learn to say no
Along with letting go of perfection, learning to say no is an important skill for single parents to develop. Every family has certain responsibilities they must meet, but it’s also important to carve out some unscheduled time. You’ll have more time to spend with your family, and reduce your overall stress.
We all have small tasks that, when added up, account for a significant amount of wasted time. Evaluate your own daily routine and schedule, and look for any ways you can maximize efficiency. For example, do you spend five minutes circling the grocery store parking lot for the best spot? Try parking a bit further away and walking – you may find that you save a couple of valuable minutes.
Parenting solo comes with its own set of unique challenges, and it can seem like there isn’t enough time to get everything done. However, with our seven tips, you may be able to find a bit more extra time in your day as a single parent.