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10 Time-Saving Strategies From Parents Of Many, Many Kids

Source | FastCompany : By Laura Vanderkam

One child can introduce chaos into your daily schedule. So it seems like large families would never make it anywhere on time. Yet talk to parents of big broods and you find that their households often function quite well. Their secret? These 10 time management tips that help them do more and stay calm.


Meagan Francis, mother of five and host of The Mom Hour podcast, says, “One thing I’ve always done is group like tasks together. If I’m signing permission slips, for example, it’s easier and faster to go through a big stack all at once then deal with them one by one as they trickle in.” To be sure, “This has necessitated some ‘training’ for my kids,” she says. “They know they can’t just wave papers in my face, but need to put them in the inbox on my desk so I can take care of them all at once.” 


House policies cut down on the whining. “For many years we had a universal bedtime of 7:30 p.m. for all the kids,” says Abbi Perets, a mother of five who lives in Israel. It might be early for the older ones and late for the younger ones, but you can always let people read with a bedside lamp. Perets says, “You have to have some unbreakable rules. For example, no sleepovers in the middle of the week, or all play dates end by 6:00 p.m., or you can only do an extracurricular on Tuesdays.”


Keeping track of one’s own schedule is complicated enough, let alone half a dozen other people. That’s why you need a system. Tammy Metz, a Colorado-based mom of 10 (nine of whom still live at home), uses Google Calendar for her family schedule, but has other systems, too. “We have a paper calendar on the wall in the kitchen and a lovely dry erase board that lists in detail what is going on that week plus what’s on the menu,” she says. “This cuts down on the constant stream of questions that come our way each day from the children asking what we are doing that day. And if people are motivated, they can start a meal.”

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