Being a working parent has its challenges – not least of which is where to find the time to get everything done in a day. We have some ideas to lighten the load.


Beat the breakfast blues
When it comes to mealtimes, it’s all in the planning. Make breakfasts fuss-free by laying out your coffee or tea, cereals and fruit in bowls and cups the evening before. Keep them covered and just heat up water and milk in the morning. This also helps with picky eaters – you are able to agree on what to have for breakfast the night before.

Lazy lunches
School or work lunches don’t have to be a last-minute rush. You can kill two birds with one stone – while preparing dinner, start packing lunches as well. Juice, fruit and other light snacks can be organised in the lunch box and sandwiches made in the morning. For example, leftover chicken from dinner makes a chicken mayo sandwich. Prepare your chicken mayo in the evening, then finish off the sandwich in the morning so that it isn’t soggy by lunchtime.

Dinner’s done

Plan a week’s menu. Set aside a few minutes, say on a Saturday, to plan your meals for the coming week, and make meals you can freeze. Also, plan at least two meals a week that can do double duty. For example, the bones and leftover veg from Sunday night’s roast chicken can be turned into Monday night’s soup.

Dishes like soups, stews and casseroles can be cooked once a week (or month) and frozen. Then all you have to do on a busy weeknight is defrost and heat, and maybe add rice or potato. Vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, beans, broccoli, corn and spinach can also be par-cooked and frozen for quick additions to week-night meals. You can also make tomato and onion sauce in advance and freeze – then all you have to do is cook pasta and grate a little cheese and you have a tasty meal in a minute.

Set aside time over the weekend for grooming. Shave, wash your hair, get the kids’ hair done, do the laundry and prepare outfits for the week. Simplifying your make-up routine by using products that require little effort – like a tinted moisturiser instead of moisturiser and foundation – will also save time in the mornings.


Bills, bills, bills!

Pick a day to pay all your bills. If received via post, find a spot to place them together or better, select to have them emailed, then save in one folder. Paying your bills online saves you time and money. Add all your regular creditors – such as schools, municipality, telephone service provider and any stores where you have accounts – as beneficiaries on your online banking profile. Then all you have to do, once a month is click on each one and insert the amount you want to pay. Most banks also have a scheduled-payment option. Use that facility to help make payments more quickly and on time.

Shop online
It sounds intimidating at first but it’s an invaluable time saver. Some grocery stores and pharmacies offer a delivery service for a small fee. Buying non-perishable foods such as canned goods online saves you from carrying heavy shopping bags. Order what you need and have it delivered to your work or home.

Rally the kids and make tidying up a family activity. Mark clear plastic containers for everyone to see what’s inside. Even the little ones can help tidy up by putting their toys in their containers before bed. If everyone chips in it will get done quickly and give you a few minutes to yourself before bedtime.

Preparation the night before makes a world of difference. Set out outfits for school and work, and press what needs to be ironed in the evening. This eliminates scrambling around for what to wear in the morning. Get kids involved by encouraging them to select what they want to wear the next day. Older kids can get themselves ready in the morning if everything is laid out in advance – and you avoid the ‘I don’t want to wear this!’ situation.

  • Health Wizz: For keeping all your child’s medical records in one place.
  • Fayr: Great for co-parents to track responsibilities.
  • Intuition+: Your Personal Assistant – for organising to-do-lists, appointments and even shopping lists in one place.
  • Wunderlist: Another good App for creating a to-do-list.
  • Ziplist: Create meal plans, get recipes and manage grocery lists.

Text Koketso Mashika
5 WAYS FOR WORKING PARENTS TO SAVE TIME 5 WAYS FOR WORKING PARENTS TO SAVE TIME Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on June 06, 2018 Rating: 5
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