None of us have enough hours in the day. By the time we’ve lost hours trying to get kids to sleep, preparing food, tidying up, entertaining kids and changing nappies us parents are in serious need of some extra me-time.
As parents we spend way more time doing things for other people than taking care of ourselves.
That’s why we need to cut corners wherever we can. Grabbing back an extra five minutes for ourselves here and there can make all the difference. These are the tips that have helped give me a break:
Buy your most used goodies in bulk and make sure you have them dotted all round the house, in the car, the buggy and changing bag. For me this includes wipes, suncream, and nappies. Having them to hand everywhere you could feasibly need them means you’ll save time hunting for them.
Make lunch the night before
Sounds obvious but I guarantee at 7pm you’ll be putting it off until tomorrow. Making sandwiches is way easier when your toddler isn’t underfoot demanding to eat it right now. Do it in advance. It gives you more time to get yourself ready the next day.
Pack bag and lay out clothes for the next day the night before
I’ve often done this and thought “why am I bothering, this is such a quick job?”, but actually when you’re racing round in the morning having hardly slept the night before it’s great to not have to worry about remembering everything. Plan what you need for the day the night before and you won’t panic in the morning. Same goes for picking outfits for the kids. Just make sure you check the weather forecast first.
Put paint in a sealable freezer bag for no-mess finger painting
This will save you time and tears on cleaning up, as no toddler likes having their hands wiped. Just don’t leave them unattended. Your toddler will decide to open the ziplock just as your back is turned!
Measure shoe sizes at home and buy online
Stores such as Clarks offer a printable measuring guide so you don’t have to drag a bored toddler round the shops.
Use wipes for cleaning
These baby essentials can quickly get rid of dust on window sills, tables etc. You can also use them to quickly wipe down the bathroom sink, handy if guests are imminent. They’ll mop up dropped food around a high chair and I even use them to wipe the cat flap.
Portable easel for on-the-go entertainment
Nothing wastes more time than trying to fend off boredom in a restless child. Use an old DVD case to solve the problem by gluing a small notebook on one side and a small pack of pencils on the other. It slips in a bag easily and can be used in the car, cafe, restaurant, airport etc.
This one is obvious but if you plan ahead you can really save time, and money. When I’m planning meals for the week I think about what will be appropriate for all of us, baby included, and buy double the ingredients. That way I get a meal for us all on the night then I can freeze it in batches for baby (after putting it through a blender) and toddler or in one big plastic container for us all for another night. I recommend my spag bol and turkey meatballs for this type of planning ahead. Simple chicken pasta bakes and lasagne are also good to do in bulk.
Rotate toy baskets to keep mess down
I have four medium sized toy storage bins. I keep one downstairs in the lounge where we spend most of the day when indoors. I rotate it with the other three weekly so toddler has a constant changeover of toys and hopefully is not getting bored. It also means she doesn’t get every toy she owns out every day, so there’s less to tidy up.
Coat hook for keeping bibs accessible
Stick a coat hook to the back of your baby’s high chair. Use it to hang bibs so they’re always ready to hand at feeding time.
Buy socks in one colour
Laundry is a pain in the arse but a necessary evil. Buying socks in one colour sounds boring but it makes putting the pairs together way easier.
Dots on clothing labels
With more than one child clothes can all get jumbled up quickly. Get a clothing marker pen and put one dot on your youngest child’s clothing labels and two dots on your eldest etc. This saves time when sorting your laundry into the right places.
Put away outfits in freezer bags
My drawers are usually a mess of clothes that I’ve stuffed in there in a rush. By getting the clothes divided into outfits in individual large or medium freezer bags it looks tidy and you save time in the morning when you need the children dressed five minutes ago!
Get your child involved in tidying up
Use stickers or a homemade reward chart as a bribe. It saves the arguments over picking up toys at bedtime.
Do you have any parenting hacks? I’m always looking to save some time and love trying new ideas to make life easier!