Single parents try to be both father and mother to their children. The other parent may be out of the picture due to many reasons, such as military deployment, divorce, or death. But no matter what the reason, it’s important for single parents to learn to manage their time wisely. If you are a single parent, these five time management strategies may help you get more time for your children and for yourself.
Create a central calendar
Think about the activities you and your children are involved in that require you to be out of the home. Placing these items on a central calendar that can be viewed by everyone will help you know when you have to take the children for practices or to visit their other parent if you are divorced.
You may want to use color coding to make your calendar more functional. By assigning each person a color, everyone will be able to see when activities are planned and whether there is room to add another. Having a central calendar will also help you learn to say “no” when you simply can’t fit anything else in your day.
Ask for help
You’re only one person so don’t feel bad if you have to ask for help. If the ex-spouse is involved in your children’s life, be sure they are helping when necessary. You can also ask from help from the grandparents, aunts and uncles, or friends if there are two activities planned for the same time. You can’t be in two places at once, so you’ll need help if you don’t want to let one child’s activity slide.
Do your best to be organized
Besides having a central family calendar, it helps to be organized in your home so you can easily find items that are needed. If your child is always losing their homework, designate a special place for their book bag at the end of the day. Then go through their assignments to ensure they’re done and returned to the book bag before your child retires.
Having an in-box for papers you need to sign for your child will also help you be more organized. You can also immediately transfer any important dates onto the family calendar so you don’t forget about them.
Delegate to others
Your children may be without one of their parents but that doesn’t give them a free pass for helping around the house. Asking and expecting your children to help you may seem like two totally different things, but it’s important for your children to pitch in with household chores. Not only will they help you, which will make you less stressed, but they’ll also be learning life skills they’ll need when they strike out on their own.
Learn to say “No”
This one tip, saying “no,” may seem like an obvious time management tip you can follow as a single parent. However, many single parents have a hard time telling anyone no, especially their children. You’re not doing anyone any favors by saying “yes” to every request, though; in fact, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. You’re allowing all of your time dictated when you need time to take care of your own needs as well.
No one doubts that single parents have a more difficult time than dual parent homes. These five time management strategies for single parents can be used with good results. Not only will you be more organized, you’ll also be able to take much-needed time to meet your own needs as well as those of your children.
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