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Home/kids organisation and work(24 Posts)
I've just started back in teaching 4 days a week (well 4 .5 but the half day planning time I can take at home)
I'm trying to balance childcare, after school activities, food prep etc. Any tips?
2 days a week my kids have after school activities and it seems I have meetings 2 or 3 days after school so by the time were home is 5 /5:30pm and the kids are "starving" the house also has started to look like a bombsite! I'm seriously considering a cleaner! Dh does pick ups from school on the days I have late meetings otherwise I do childcare as hes not home until 6pm ish.
Do you meal prep? Get all planning/resources ready at weekend?
Slow cooker food so you can dish up as soon as you get in
You and DH agree to 20 mins housework daily where you put on some music and clean.
What housework does DH do on his pick up days?
It works wonders.
Slow cooker - so extra a freeze
Pasta is quick
Set the oven timer for jacket potatoes
I buy a cooked chicken sometimes it’s more expensive but saves time - I use it for curry and wraps
We’re are in a similar situation- generally get home having picked up the kids at 5pm (or a bit later on meeting days). I’m a tyrant with a very rigid system but it seems to work!
1) Kids take two snacks to school (eg cereal bars, soreen bars) with the understanding that one is for morning snack and one for after school. Dinner is not until 6 ish and I often find that they are actually more thirsty than hungry so give them a pint of squash on arrival home.
2) One we get in the kids have their jobs eg putting school uniform in wash, emptying bags of lunch/drink bottles/paperwork, throwing away rubbish from lunch box) Once these jobs are done (am increasing these as they get older) they have a golden 30 minutes of screen time. In these 30 minutes I give the house a blitz ie feed and clean up after pets, fold and put away laundry that has dried during the day, re-make packed lunches, refresh PE kits. You get the picture.
3) Once this is over and the kids are unplugged, I make dinner. However, it’s 20 minutes max. Egg based, pasta, heating up a batch cooked meal from freezer, quick stir fry. We are not talking Masterchef here.
4) By this point DH is home and we both do a further blitz after dinner - washing up/dishwasher, wiping down, hoovering, bins, next wash on, clothes laid out for next morning etc.
5) Because I’ve done breakfast, drop off and pick up DH then does the evening bathtime and reading routine . That allows me to plan and mark 7 to 9pm every night. If he wasn’t home for this then I honestly wouldn’t be able to keep on top of work and it would have to be done at weekends (I do work at weekends but not in long chunks as DH works most Saturdays so a bit miserable if I work all Sunday)
6) 9pm. Work sorted, house sorted, kids sorted, pets sorted. Bloody knackered and TF for school holidays.
The key in this madness is to have an iron clad list of shit that must be done. This applies to the evening blitzing but I have a similar one at 6.15am eg hanging up/out washing before the kids get up at 7am. The list is really important because when DH does a very rare drop off or pick up, he then follows the list to know what jobs go along with the childcare. Otherwise it all waits for me to come home!
You will think I’m a maniac (I am) but hopefully there is something useful here.
Definitely get a cleaner if you can afford it. I'm full time with a 3 & 4 yr old and DH works away - no way I would be without a cleaner!
Brilliant thanks for all the help. Great ideas. Slow cooker and army like organization starts next week.... still tempted by a cleaner! Dh does dishwasher every night and kitchen if I cook. General tidy up both. The squash idea is good- I think often my dd is thirsty not hungry.
I went back to work full time when my twins started school. Keys to staying sane were (and still are) :
1. Cleaner. She comes once per week and I don’t need to do much in between.
2. All the washing gets done at the weekend.
3. Minimal ironing only - I do it on a Sunday evening in front of the TV.
4. DH and I share the cooking and sometimes we have meals that involve putting something in the oven that was previously in the freezer. Not every meal has to be cooked from scratch
5. Kids are responsible for their lunchboxes. This means emptying them, washing them and then refilling with everything other than fridge stuff the night before.
Also, I joined a choir which meant I had a dedicated evening every week when no one called me “miss” or “mummy”. That was probably the most important thing - it made me remember I am still me.
Get a cleaner.
Batch cook at the weekend/holidays. I do stuff like chilli and spag bol which have quick accompaniments and just need warming through so max 15 mins from coming hime they are ready. Slow-cooker is ace too, often I do 2 days worth and we eat the same thing. On a Sunday I sometimes prep something for reheating on a Monday. Eg use roast meat for a curry.
Do your children have hot dinners at school? If so a tea like beans on toast or sandwiches is fine.
Washing is done and hung out in the evening. Even on the line if its not going to rain. Then I grab it off the line when I get home.
Do as much as you can at work. Mark in break and lunch. Can you become more efficient or cut corners anywhere? I've cut my own workload since having children just by cutting things that are over and above. No one has noticed!
Not a teacher but similar pick up times - I insist my DCs have hot dinners (DC1 is now in KS2 and complained but now he puts up) and then if necessary they have a packed tea (we leave it in the fridge all day), or else beans on toast, tuna w jacket potato done in microwave. DH and I have something a bit more relaxed later on.
Definitely a cleaner.
Get in the habit of looking in book bags
Put washes PE kits, swimming bags or activity kits straight in their PE bag and in the car - always handy and no searching for stuff
School uniform washed and ironed and put away so ready for the week ahead
Join mums WhatsApp groups or FB groups for any info you’ve missed for kids days out or forms that need sorting
Get in the habit of sorting this stuff straight away
Give the kids a purse with some coins in for bake days or dress down so they don’t miss out
Cut corners where you can.
Have a basket by the front door for school only, then on the morning they know exactly where they are and don't waste time looking for an odd shoe.
Have enough of everything uniform wise, as they get into secondary keep this going so more than five shirts, if they have PE twice a week buy two kits etc. This means you haven't GOT to do a mid week wash/iron or panic on a Thursday that there's no clean PE kit.
Sorry, that should read 'basket....for school shoes only' I've been a SAHM, TA and teacher with three kids and this really helped get them out the door on time. Train them to take their school shoes off when they get home and put them in the school shoe basket....nothing else gets put in there!
The other thing I find really useful is having a four cube kallax unit in the hall so they each have a 'cubby' (fabric box). These are big enough to
hide the crap fit their school bags into plus any other stuff that is theirs and possibly school related. It means it's all in one place and not strewn round the house. Mine are teens and it still works, each holiday one of their jobs is to go through their cubby and chuck out anything that doesn't need to be in there any more. Also means as I'm tidying I can go 'oh, Bob's pencil case' and chuck it in Bob's cubby so it's in a logical place.
Definitely make sure everyone in the household pulls their own weight. Kids like mentioned above to make sure they get in and sort own bags out and uniform for the next day.
Would also depending on ages allocate simple chores each ie one empties dishwasher, one feeds cat, one lays table for dinner etc.
I would bung kids a small banana on collection from school. Means when you get in you have a bit more time to breathe before dinner as they won't be 'starving' if they ate at 4.30-5pm. Then plan simple dinner for 6.30pm (leftovers, freezer food, quick egg or pasta dish etc. max 20 mins start to finish.) leaves you 5/5.30-6.30pm to then all do odd bits, kids reading, homework, relax, chores, prep dinner. And your dh is home 6ish so can help with dinner.
Online food shop.
I use a slow cooker too, but I also try and prep Monday and Tuesday's meals at the weekend. So, I chop veg, meat, place any spices/herbs etc in little pots, and it's like having a meal kit ready either in the morning when chucking in the slow cooker, or at least ready to go when we get in.
We have a family diary kept by the cooker which has a section for each person and a magnetic week board on the fridge. I update this on Sunday and we have a run through of the week (my kids are a bit older though).
Oo good ideas- we have a small kallax so I might move that to the hall- good plan thanks.
Going to batch cook this week for next week and buy a bit more uniform to last a week.... also look into cleaners.
My dd has hot dinner (year1) my ds (nursery)has packed lunch. But I think you're right sometimes a packed lunch for dinner for simple dinner might be good especially on nights we do after school activities too.
X posts -thanks , dc are 4 and 6 but can definitely be doing bits at home. 4 year old- only just 4 is quite tired after nursery though... might do a chores list for them - my 6 year old would love it.
Lots of great advice on here so nothing else to add, just that I’m about as militarily organised as @likeafishneedsabike and it’s the only way we function.
There is also a slow slide downwards during term time but keeping on top of the day to day means that I can blitz the rest at the start of the holidays. For example, this weekend just gone, I got rid of three bags of out grown toys from the playroom and a bin bag of rubbish/treasures from the DC rooms. Also tidied the cupboard under the stairs and the utility. I know they will stay pretty good until Easter now!
When we come in, I’m barking ‘coats hung up, shoes tidy, lunchboxes, water bottles, fruit pots to me please. Have you got any homework? Come here and I’ll listen to you read...’ all while sorting out dinner and clearing out and repacking lunchboxes.
I've been there and it can be overwhelming. Plan as much as you can at school and when your kids are at school. Get a cleaner but make sure she works while you're at home(I've had a cleaner with sticky fingers). Buy yourself a Kuhn Rikon Pressure cooker so you can cook a beefstew/curry in 15 minutes.Plan your meals for the week and shop once a week in the evening. Good luck and big mummy hug to you. You can do it!
Train them to take their school shoes off when they get home and put them in the school shoe basket....nothing else gets put in there
We also had a hat gloves and scarf box - even odd gloves for those snowy days.
Pigsy78 thank you so much! It is a bit overwhelming but all this advice has really helped. X
GreenTulips I did the same when mine were in primary, I had a basket for gloves etc by the door. Then as they got to secondary it became blazer......nothing else. Not cool, they'd rather freeeze
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