In many ways, our society espouses the freedom of individuals to pursue their goals and maintain an independent existence. This is great news for anybody’s career, but modern parents can sorely miss the reliable support from neighbors or members of the extended family when raising a child. Societies with more traditional aspects can make effective use of social support, but many of us have to make do with increasingly expensive childcare or alternative solutions.
No doubt matters will get easier when you can send your kids off to college or boarding school in another country. They can continue to grow in a safe environment without occupying too much of your attention. But while you’ve got a young child to take care of, the easiest way to get things done is to use synergy to shape your daily routines.
Time management and task prioritization are two skills we often need to develop to succeed in the workplace. But not everyone extends their application to their personal lives and running a household. It’s tempting to just sit back and unwind as soon as you get home, but parents know that’s not an option. Even if you’re a full-time freelancer or have a remote working arrangement with your employer, juggling household tasks with your workload will become a way of life.
Being on the lookout for potential synergy will help you to lump tasks together for efficiency. It can be a simple thing like making a list of everything you need to buy for a week or two and grabbing them all in one supply run instead of several. Or it could be an opportunity for you to merge an item from your personal to-do list with your kid’s needs. Turning child’s play into a secret workout for you to get a daily dose of exercise, for example.
Of course, you’ll also need a basic system of organization to be in place. This way, you’re aware of current and pending needs on all fronts. When you can combine priorities, you create the extra time you need to get things done.
Every parent wants the best for their child. And in the age of information, we are inundated with advice on what we can do to help our kids become better learners. When children love learning, they get the most out of various experiences throughout childhood and into their adult lives. It also gives them an advantage in terms of confidence and skill, which can set them up for greater success later on.
The list of activities that some parents might have lined up for their kids can seem endless. Even young children can be taking dance or vocal lessons, on top of extracurricular engagement in art or sports. It’s all done with the best of intentions, but every activity of this sort is another inflexible block of time in your schedule and most likely another round trip on your agenda. You’ll have to deal with traffic and plan your day around these commitments, to some extent.
Why not take a step back and streamline a bit? Instead of formal lessons, make space around the home so that your child can still engage in these activities. Your yard or the neighborhood park might not be a real soccer field, but it could give them enough space to practice various drills and improve their movement.
With some art supplies and rearrangement of furniture, you can put up a makeshift studio at home. You don’t have to compromise on your child’s interests. Simply identify areas where they can overlap with your home’s functionality, and you can streamline various activities by bringing them home.
Kids as partners
It’s often said that good leaders know how to delegate effectively. At work, however, people can consider delegation to be shorthand for passing unwanted tasks down the line. Likewise, some parents might feel that involving kids with housework is equivalent to cutting into their fun.
While childhood is a time to be enjoyed, young kids can also benefit from an increased sense of responsibility. Teach your child to manage their time and follow routines. It will help to create a sense of structure throughout their days, avoid problems with discipline and self-control (especially around electronic devices), and set them up nicely for their future at school and beyond.
And it will certainly help you to get more things done each day. When you have your kid as a partner in even the most mundane household tasks, you’re helping them to grow, saving time, and creating moments in which you can bond together. Now that’s some synergy at work!