How to squeeze in family time during the back-to-school hustle

(NC) For most parents, back-to-school means the end of lazy summer days and the return of busy family routines. Parents are often juggling just to balance it all, so here are some tips that will help you and your family get back some more time in your daily routines.

Make a list. Although this might sound like another time-consuming task, it saves time in the long-run. A quick to-do list will help avoid last-minute dashes and can help you better manage your routes so you can group together errands that are close in proximity.

Plan school lunches ahead of time. Packing lunches can be an added stress, particularly if you don't know what to make or don't have all the ingredients you need. At the beginning of the week, plan lunches and leftovers so you can shop for the ingredients you need with the rest of your groceries and avoid scrambling last minute.

Use online grocery shopping. Instead of spending your precious family time at the grocery store, take advantage of online services like Click and Collect, which is available at select Loblaws, Zehrs and Real Canadian Superstore locations. You can choose to pick up groceries after work or with your kids in tow at a time that works best for you. Their personal shoppers even bring your groceries out to your car.

Be flexible with responsibilities. Although many families have dedicated chores everyone is in charge of, it's important to recognize when one family member might be overwhelmed. Whether it's a child who had soccer practice and extra homework or a parent who worked later than anticipated, pitching in when possible to load the dishwasher or take out the garbage can make a huge difference.

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