It’s no secret that all parents have a busy lifestyle, especially early on in their kids’ lives. Surveys actually indicate families are busier than ever. Finding time to raise and feed kids with a packed schedule can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! If you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, Tame the kitchen chaos with these fab meal planning tips for busy parents.
Stick to a routine
Maintaining a consistent routine every single week is impossible, the life of a parent is full of interruptions. However, by at least establishing a basic weekly schedule, with set times for various essential tasks (particularly those which involve prepping meals), you’ll generally get more done. A routine simply provides a sense of structure that allows you to use your time more effectively.
Make more than you need
Feeding kids quickly is much easier when you have leftovers from a previous meal. Thus, it’s a good idea to cook more than you need, especially when you’re making something nutritious that the kids also happen to love. After all, plenty of healthy kids meals can serve double duty as dinner and school lunch the next day.
Staying organised is key to avoiding stress. It can also help you save a lot of time as a busy parent.
For example, when cooking dinner, make a point of putting every item and ingredient back in the correct cabinet or space when you’re done using it. Doing so will make it easier to find items when you need to use them in the future. It may seem silly, but taking little steps such as this can save you more time than you may imagine in the long run.
Prioritise your to-do list
Creating a to-do list is an important step if you’re trying to save time. It’s easier to complete tasks when you have them written out.
That said, creating the list is just the first step. You also need to go through the various items on the list and prioritise them from high-importance to low-importance. Saving time isn’t just about completing tasks; it’s about completing the right tasks in the right order.
Make the kids help
Don’t fall prey to the assumption that you need to handle every major task in the home. Start teaching your kids how to assume responsibility by getting them involved.
This may seem to take more time than it’s worth at first. For instance, teaching your kids to help with cooking requires patience as they learn various skills. That said, once they reach a certain level of competence, you’ll end up saving time by enlisting their help in the kitchen.
It’s also smart to make sure the kids have daily and weekly chores they’re always responsible for, whether you tell them to do them or not. Keep a calendar on the wall with everyone’s chores listed on it so the kids are fully aware of their responsibilities.
Learn where you can consolidate
Having a weekly routine is valuable. However, don’t assume yours is perfect. It’s a good idea to spend some time during the weekend reviewing your schedule to find if there are ways you can improve by consolidating various steps of a task.
Maybe you’ll find your Monday and Wednesday night dinners tend to involve very similar prep work. With a little extra meal planning, you might combine the work for both into one day to work more efficiently. If you take the time to look at your schedule closely, there’s a good chance you’ll find ways to improve it.
Remember these meal planning tips if you’re trying to save time. Again, being a parent may keep you on your toes, but with the right time management skills, mealtime can become a lot less stressful.