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Time Management Tips for Parents

By Christine Louise Hohlbaaum

Whether you work in or out of the home, your life is a balancing act between meeting your own needs and those of your family. Like a garden, relationships need to be tended to in order to thrive. How can you find time to spend with your child with all the competing priorities in your life? Here are five tips to help you manage your time:

Make a list of priorities. Ask yourself what has to get done today? What can wait another day, week or month? Take on no more than five commitments at one time. If someone asks you to commit to a new undertaking, ask yourself which priority you could leave behind. If you cannot, say "No". Your priority list will give you the confidence to move forward without taking on too much. Piling too many things on your plate can break it! At the very least, it will break you.

Set a time limit for reaching your goals. Take a calendar and put down recurring events (for instance, take daughter to ballet class on Thursdays, pick up neighbor's child at school on Mondays). Include your goals on this calendar. Write down a weekly schedule of things you would like to achieve. Mark them off as you accomplish each task.

Maintain a success sheet. Placing all the accomplished goals in one place serves as a reminder of what you have achieved in a set time. It will boost your self-esteem as you see evidence of the things you have done!

Prearrange "special time" with each of your children. If you have a lot of kids, make time for one child per week or whatever your schedule allows. It can be thirty minutes of playing your child's favorite game, going to the ice cream parlour, or play a game of soccer. Let your child decide in which activity you will engage. Set a timer so the child knows when special time is over. Do not stray from the activity at hand (such as answering the phone, playing with the other children or reading a book). Focus your attention solely on your child. It will strengthen your relationship as you profoundly listen to each other.

Take time for yourself. The best parents are those who care for themselves as well. Mark a time on your calendar for a walk by yourself, a coffee date with a friend, or a bubble bath. You will be happier for it, and so will your family!

Spending quality time with your children can make a big difference in your relationship with them. Managing your time wisely will ensure you get the job done without the stress. Effective time management gives you the energy you want to do the fun things in life.


Christine Louise Hohlbaum, American author of Diary of a Mother: Parenting Stories and Other Stuff, has been published in hundreds of publications. When she isn't writing, leading toddler playgroups or instructing an on-line book promotion course, she prefers to frolic in the Bavarian countryside near Munich where she lives with her husband and two children . Visit her Web site:

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