Organizing Tips for Single Parents
Written by: Pooja Gugnani
Being a parent is a tough role in itself, let alone when you’re playing the role for two. With double the work and half the time, it is necessary to have some effective organizational tactics in place. But these don’t have to be complicated; a few basic changes to your routine and your family’s lifestyle can really help alleviate the stress and create a happy household.
Here are some ways to reduce the challenges of having to play the dual role:
Food constitutes such a big part of our life and our living, as it should. Whether is shopping or cooking the food, it can be time consuming. Set some time aside once a week to plan meals for your family as this is can also be a great way to save money. And feel free to get your children’s input as you plan your meals. Especially for the single parent, meal planning can be a huge blessing as it can make trips to the grocery store more efficient & you can even prepare your meals in the morning before work (because you will always have all the ingredients handy and a plan in place).
2) Outfit Planning
On the weekend, prepare 5 outfits (one for each day of the week) for each child and for yourself. Trust me; in addition to meal planning, this will be the next thing to alleviate your stress during the week.
3) Chore Chart
Don’t be afraid to involve your kids to help out with chores, with more responsibility to the older ones. Rather than spending hours organizing, create a 15 minute Chore Box for yourself--& one for each child. Each person's box will contain a specific task to be completed written on a slip of paper, and will take a maximum of 15 minutes each to complete. Introduce a small reward or incentive for chores completed as this is a great way to help your children cherish task-doing and task-completion with a sense of accomplishment.
4) Personal To-Do List
For you, a well-designed to-do list can be a life saver. If needed, attach a dry erase board to your fridge, pantry or closet door to serve as a constant reminder for important upcoming appointments/events, as well as to keep track of inventory for certain items.
For everyday, essential items, it is important to have an assigned place for everything so that every family member knows where to reach for things when needed and to put away when done using. Compartmentalized trays for items just as keys, wallet, cards etc. work great. Have see through boxes by the door labeled with each family member’s name where you can store items such as shoes, schoolbags, lunch bags and any other items needed on the way out the door. This is to avoid any last minute searching and to also help keep your home decluttered.
6) Focus on You
As a single parent, it is so easy to neglect your own needs amidst the burnout wearing all the different hats. So be sure to carve out sometime in the day for you, by finding the best time in the day to relax…and make it a routine.
Finally, remember to keep it simple. This simplicity can only be achieved with a little organization. If you and your children can pull together as an team in the way you live and communicate, you will be able to enjoy being a family and reduce the challenges that single parenting can bring with it.
- Photo Credits: The Container Store
Posted on February 07, 2013 at 9:56 PM