Time management tips for busy parents

Need to carve out some time to help with homework? Try these organisational hacks.

Busy parent time management tips
Marina Cilona Young Adult writer and mum of two BA(Hons) Friday, 24 May 2019

You’ve got multiple small children, some form of paid work, and a gigantic pile of dirty clothes that, weirdly, won’t wash itself. There are dinners and swimming lessons, lost shoes, no milk, another tantrum, violin practice, birthday parties, broken goggles, school lunches, lounge room brawls, and it would be great if everybody went to bed at some stage before midnight.

Sound like a familiar evening scenario?

The thought of carving out a block of time in which to individually sit with your children and help with homework feels profoundly impossible. Getting across what they’ve learned in class, the bits they’re struggling with, how to help, and where to find the best resources really does take time.

Luckily, we’ve put together some handy tips and tricks to help you streamline the process.

1. Create a dedicated homework spot

A quiet, uncluttered corner of the house will not only give you and your child the space (both mental and physical) to focus on schoolwork, it will also save you time looking through backpacks and cupboards for that misplaced textbook. Creating a dedicated workspace also sends the message to your child that you take their schoolwork seriously and so should they.

2. Find helpful tools for organising and prioritising projects

There are a range of free online tools and apps that can help you organise your homework schedule, share feedback with your child, set reminders that keep both of you accountable, and speed up your progress. With project management and collaboration platforms like Trello or Asana you can list each task, attach documents, and update your progress. You might also consider a shared Google Calendar, which can be accessed from any device and will help you organise homework schedules.

3. Set realistic homework goals

There’s no point in aspiring to complete an entire assignment in one sitting, or reviewing half a textbook on a Tuesday night. Instead, break up homework tasks into attainable pieces, with no more than half an hour each night for younger students. Remember, you can always add more if you’ve got time at the end.

4. Avoid multitasking

All people, but children especially, will see better results when they’ve been given focused attention. What’s more, kids will often match your level of concentration. This means they will likely focus when you focus, and let their eyes wander off when you get up to stir dinner, or take a moment to write an email. Like we always tell our kids, homework can be quick and easy with a bit of concentration. Or there’s the other way…

5. Let go and delegate

Sometimes it’s best to acknowledge that there’s just not enough time in the day. We can’t attend all PTF meetings, cook a fresh dinner every night, and meet each and every deadline. We often need to decide what’s most important and run with that. Sometimes we need to outsource things, including help with schoolwork.

Cluey allows students to upload and work through their homework during sessions with their tutor. In these cases, an expert educator can answer questions, work through problems, and even draw on examples from our custom content, giving you back some valuable family time. Parents can choose to be present but let the tutor drive each session, or they can check over answers when they get back from work. The important thing is to find a balance that works for your family.

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