Many parents will be sending their kids off to school over the next two weeks, making for a bittersweet moment whether they’re heading to kindergarten or college. But what most parents don’t realize is that when summer ends and the offspring leave the house for at least part of the day, the demands on their own time will ease.
Without the kids constantly underfoot, needing rides or foraging for food, parents will have additional hours during the day to pursue their own career, learning and life goals. If you are in this situation and want to make the most of this newfound freedom, you’ll need to plot out a few projects for those extra hours.
Time management is the first step, Project Me says; without a plan, those extra kid-free hours will evaporate fast. Start by listing the things you would like to do with your extra time, such as going to the gym, starting a new work project or going back to school yourself. Identify your most important tasks, put them on a daily schedule and get started.
Decluttering is an excellent option, the site says. Step back and take an objective look at your space, create a plan of attack (doing one room at a time, for example, or targeting a number of bags and boxes to donate to ClothingDonations.org), and dive in. When each step in the task is complete, reward yourself! You’ll be much more likely to complete it if you have your eyes on a prize.
Back-to-school clutter likely needs organizing, says All Parenting’s “20 Things to Do When your Kids Go Back to School;” many areas may be cluttered with new clothing, backpacks and homework. Household cleaning tasks probably took a backseat to summer fun, too, so now’s the time to catch up on deep-cleaning the refrigerator, ceiling fans, baseboards, bathrooms and floors.
A digital decluttering can also help you get organized for the season ahead. Go through all of the summer photos on your phone(s) and camera(s); download them to a safe place and print the best ones out for framing and display. And while you’re at it, clean up your desktop and delete the mobile apps you haven’t used in months.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or work full time, you’ll find that having the kids at school will free up a little bit of your time. Plan on making the most of it!