Working and raising a child on your own typically consumes all of your time. With having so much to take care of, it can seem like days are never long enough to get everything done. Having been a single parent to J for over 10 years, I had to learn to manage my time if I wanted to get things done in an effective and efficient way. Here are some of my suggested time management tips for single parents to help you get the most out of your days – and that includes having time to play with your kids!
Time Management Tips for Single Parents
Schedule your days
By scheduling everything you need to do in your day you’ll be able to visualize how your day will pan out. Doing this will allow you to see if there are ways to move things around in a more time-saving fashion – or even fit in another procrastinated chore. Don’t forget to pencil in your child’s schedule as well – days they stay after school for activities, sporting events, other school programs they’re involved in, etc. Keep all your important appointments in there too – like doctors visits. By knowing ahead of time what’s going on and where everyone will be, you’ll have a better grasp on what more you can do in a day. Writing everything down will keep you from double booking and taking on too much – schedule your days in a planner and keep it with you!
Make a meal plan and prep ahead
Spending time fussing over what to make for dinner and preparation can suck up a lot of time – time better spent playing with the kids, take care of the housework, or enjoying down time. There are different ways you could approach this. Create a meal planning menu on Sunday that will carry you through the week. Buy any needed ingredients needed during one shopping trip to avoid multiple trips to the store through the week. You could also invest in a crock pot – I LOVE MY CROCK POT, and either make freezer meals that you can just pull out and pop into the oven or crock pot the night you need them or throw all the ingredients into the crock pot the morning of. There will be no need to spend more time in the kitchen than necessary when your crock pot is doing all the work!
Delegate chores and housework
If your child is old enough to contribute, give them chores they can do that are age appropriate. Even younger children can pick up their own toys. Sweeping, vacuuming, washing dishes / loading the dishwasher, are all perfect for the older children. Having chores is a great way to show your child that working together as a team gets things done faster, and frees up your time to spend with them.
It’s okay to ask for help
It can be hard to get everything done when your child is home. As a single parent you are taking on a lot of responsibilities, and it’s okay to ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed. Asking for help doesn’t change who you are as a parent – you are still totally awesome. Check with extended relatives like grandparents, aunts, uncles or even a cousin can watch after your child for an afternoon. Alternatively, you can arrange a play date at your home – the children will keep each other entertained while you have a chance to chat with a friend, and sneak in some chores like folding laundry while doing so. Your friend might even offer to pitch in and help.
Raising a child as a single parent puts a lot of weight on your shoulders and it takes up all of your time. With a few changes and tweaks to your schedule and having your kids pitch in, you’ll find you have plenty of time in your day for your child, work, and the house.
Do you have any time management tips for single parents you can suggest that have worked for you?