We share 9 of our favourite readers’ tips for parents looking to squeeze more quality family time into their busy working lives:
- Plan your meals a week or fortnight in advance. Let everyone choose at least one favourite meal and don’t forget to freeze the leftovers (if any) for lunches.
- If you can, change your work schedule to suit your family’s needs – work from home, part-time or at different hours, such as from 10 to 6 or 8 to 4, instead of the regular 9 to 5 – this could buy you more time for the morning or evening routines.
- Create a budget and try your best stick to it. Make sure you only buy what you need, have your bills paid automatically, and put a little put aside for emergencies. Not having to worry about money, takes the pressure off you (and the family) so you can be happier and more productive.
- Ask the kids for help:
- Assign chores to older kids who have a later bedtime (with or without pocket money – up to you).
- Cook with your kids to help you out – it’s a chance to laugh, bond and teach them a valuable life skill!
- Have ‘an hour of power’ (or shorter) where everyone has a different task to do to clean the house.
- Rotate the tasks and encourage everyone to keep their own space tidy to reduce the clean-up.
- Multi-task - if you’re watching TV on the couch, why not fold up the washing to save time doing it later?
- Clean as you go or leave a room better than the way you found it – it’s far easier to take care of small messes than it is to do a major clean up.
- If you travel by public transport, use your mobile and remote access to check work emails and review documents in transit. That way when you get home it’s strictly family time.
- Timing is everything - especially when you’re a busy family. Schedule activities like your baby’s nap with your toddler’s TV time to give you that much needed window to get things done.
- When all else fails, outsource!
- Paid outsourcing - if you can afford it, there are times when it makes more sense to pay someone to do a chore than to do it yourself.
- Unpaid outsourcing - if you can’t spare the cash, ask grandparents, relatives or neighbours if they can help – often you can simply return the favour.
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