Being a parent in 2019 is not for the faint of heart. If it’s not the general safety of our children that keeps us wide awake at night, their nutritional intake or the mound of homework, it’s the endless stream of content available to them on a number of different screens.
The mental load that parents carry is often spoken about but largely unseen. On top of work responsibilities and the basics of running a functional household, the responsibility carried by a mother or father to ensure the happiness of their children is extensive – show-and-tell, projects, assignments, bake sales, colour-coded outfits, tours and more.
Parenting hacks to get you through Monday to Friday unscathed
In the event that you’re struggling with this administrative load, we’ve compiled the best hacks possible to get you through Monday to Friday unscathed.
1. Timer-led tasks
International studies have shown that the most effective study sessions include up to 25 minutes of work followed by a five-minute break. The use of a timer is critical to stop your child asking you repeatedly if the period is up yet. Reward each session successfully completed. Hopefully, after just one or two sessions (age-dependent) the work for the day is complete and you’re free to continue with your own tasks instead of hounding your child to do their homework.
2. Streamline transactions
Many South African schools make use of platforms and apps to communicate with parents and assist with remembering things like payments and special events. These things are critical for parents that don’t often visit the school to read a noticeboard or chat with a teacher. One good example is an app called Karri. Between fundraising drives, bake sales and ballet outfits, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of small payments going to the school. On Karri, payments are quickly loaded by the school for parents to approve (even school fees if you choose). The app is available for download on iTunes and Google Play and registering an account takes less than a minute.
“A shared Google calendar can solve the miscommunication and ease up the amount of information sharing before the week starts.”
3. Keep everyone on the same page
When it comes to older kids, keeping tabs on their activities in and out of school can be challenging. When there are different parties involved in fetching and carrying, it becomes even more of a nightmare. A shared Google calendar can solve the miscommunication and ease up the amount of information sharing before the week starts. Family members and caregivers have access to the full calendar, requirements for each day and reminders for items to have with them i.e. goggles.
4. Eliminate artwork-related guilt
Throwing away the very precious red smudge that your child brought home is always accompanied by a tinge of guilt. Luckily, there’s an app to help. Keepy is an app available for iOS and Android that allows you to organise, save, privately share and treasure your kids’ memories as they grow. The app keeps artwork, schoolwork, certificates and awards safe for as long as you need and makes binning that gorgeous creation that much easier.
5. Invite all ‘the feels’ around the dinner table
South Africa is full of bad news at the moment and, sadly, our kids are just as exposed to it as we are. Take the time each evening around the dinner table, or even in the car on the way home, to chat to your kids about the good part of their days. Highlight moments to be thankful for, achievements to be proud of and relationships to nurture. Breeding an environment that celebrates the small things will make for happier kids and parents.