5 ways for busy families to save time and sanity
Some great tips on keeping the madness of family life at bay.
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As the saying goes, we all have 24 hours in our day. How is it that some people manage to fit so much into their day and I feel like a hamster on a wheel all the time?

I asked around for a few tips from those who look calm and competent all the time. They assured me that I was just seeing them on good days, but nonetheless, their tips seemed on the button to me.

1. Stock nappy bags

Keep it stocked. Wet wipes, nappy sacks, spare nappies, spare warm and cool clothing, snack container for baby and for you, sports bottles of water for you both. If you formula feed, then pop in a flask of boiled water and a flask of cold water, some bottles and some formula before you go out. 

Read more: Baby's changing bag & toddler's backpack: what to pack

Make sure you get the nappy bag ready every evening so you’re ready to go the next morning, no matter what happens.

2. Pre-pack lunch boxes

Prepare them the night before and pop in the fridge. You can always add the sandwich in the morning if your child doesn’t like a sandwich that has been in the fridge all night. Bake vegetable muffins and other healthy goodies once in a while for easy lunch box fillers.

3. Buy birthday party gifts in advance

Thankfully as children get bigger you no longer get invited to every party in the class.  When they’re in pre-primary though, you’ll attend about 20 parties of school friends a year, plus a few more from your friends’ children too.

Bulk gift ordering online. That is all I have to say. Buy what’s on special. Even if you can’t buy in bulk, ordering online for delivery when you send the RSVP to the party, works well. 

4. Get a family calendar

You need one of those huge ones with columns. I have a column for each family member and the children’s nanny. Everything goes on there – business trips, school galas, doctor’s appointments, play dates, parties, neighbourhood watch patrols, teacher meetings, volunteer organisation meetings, school projects, test and exam dates, school outing dates, scout events, swimming and ballet events, leave days, recording of sick leave, asylum renewal dates, vaccination dates.

Read more: Run your family like a boss

As a school notice (or any invitation or other meeting notice) comes in, I complete the reply, add it to the calendar, put the reply back in the homework diary and we’re done.

5. Get two car seats

Buying an extra car seat, this cuts down on a lot of driving around and swapping car seats and leaving car seats at places. We also each carry one of those safety cover things you put on a seat belt to ensure it doesn’t cut into a child’s neck if they have to use the adult seat belt – it’s handy when we unexpectedly have to lift an additional child. If our children have to go with others, we send these in their bag instead of the whole chair. We also gave one to my mother as she is very short and an adult seat belt doesn’t fit her either; she says travelling is far more comfortable now.

What other time saving tips have you found useful? Email us at chatback@parent24.com.

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