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Copyright 2005

Saving time for parents
by Tash Hughes

Until you have a child, it is hard to understand just how much time it can take to organize yourselves.

Not counting time for playing and doing fun things, parents spend a lot of time doing things for their children and trying to be organized. Add in work, household tasks, family commitments, hobbies and friends, and it becomes obvious that parents need to save more time wherever they can.

The following tips can help you save precious moments; although some are somewhat tongue in cheek, all have been used by parents to save their time and sanity.

  • Dress your child in the next dayís clothes at bedtime. This saves undressing and dressing time in the morning, so can be very useful for early starts or important days.
  • When making school or childcare lunches, make them in bulk and freeze them. Each night, pull out a lunch, add some fruit and youíre ready for the next day.
  • Colour code underwear and socks for children. Itís much quicker to grab blue undies for Sam and green ones for Mary than to look at each pair for sizes. For those you canít colour code or to use hand-me-downs, make them different in another way. For example, when your older child grows out of socks, sew on a little ribbon or bow to show they belong to the little sister.
  • Have a whiteboard or notepad in the kitchen and write your childís spelling words on it. As you cook, you can test your child on their spelling, leaving your free time for playing rather than homework.
  • For basic items, have one per child. These is no bigger time waster than kids fighting over whose hair brush it is and whose turn it is to use! Sharing is a great value to teach them, but not when you are trying to get things done in a hurry!
  • If items like hairbrushes are often being mislaid, tie a piece of elastic through the brush and onto a suitable place. Make it long enough to use it but not long enough it can go very far from where it is tied to. No more searching for brushes every morning can save you hours over a year!
  • Instead of flicking through meaningless magazines in waiting rooms, take the time to read with your children. That way, you arenít wasting time waiting but spending some quality time together.
  • Give the kids big containers for storing toys. The easier it is for them to put toys into containers, the quicker theyíll get it done and the less youíll have to ask them. Keeping toys in fiddly compartments might make it easier to find things but only if someone can be bothered putting things into those compartments.
  • Find or create a shelf somewhere high for storing wallets, keys, mobile phones and the like. Not only does it help you find your own things, but having it out of reach will prevent little fingers walking your things around the house.
  • Leave the kids with someone else when you go shopping, especially grocery shopping or when you need to move between many shops. Even the best behaved kids will slow you down, and they would have more fun elsewhere anyway.
  • Write down all the phone numbers programmed into your home phone and keep it somewhere safe. Next time the kids accidentally wipe the phoneís memory or you have a power failure, youíll be able to quickly restore the information.
  • Find a discipline method you like and stick to it. Once you and the kids know the rules, control can be gained quickly and major disruptions avoided. For example, once children know you count to 3 for misbehaviour, they will often stop as soon as you start counting.
  • If your kinder or school doesnít arrange it, get a class list of parents and keep it somewhere obvious. Itís the quickest way to find someone to swap duty days with you or arrange a play.
  • Keep bed linen in the kidsí bedroom, even if its just one set. It helps everyone get back to sleep faster after any accidents at night.

Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and assists businesses in preparing all written documentation and web site content.

Tash also writes articles for magazines, newsletters and websites.




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