The school bells are ringing again. Welcome to a new school year. Whether you are sending off your little one for the first time, are lamenting over the fact you now have a high school senior, or anything in between, with a new school year comes a new rhythm. If you are like most families, getting kids up and out the door is now as challenging as the schedule shuffle that takes place after school with all of the extracurricular activities kids participate in every week. Do any kids just come home after school and get time to play? No kids we know!
To help manage the craziness of the back to school grind, we offer these helpful tips:
1. It’s all about the schedule – get organized! Make sure everyone in the family has access to the same family schedule and you note every practice, game, performance, rehearsal, school nights, test dates and major projects. Don’t forget to add Mom and Dad’s schedules too. This will highlight any transportation challenges that might arise.
2. Get organized in the kitchen – after a long day at work, followed by the after-school shuffle of activities, the last thing you want to do is come home to the burden of deciding what you want to cook for dinner. Plan ahead with weekly menu planning and go old school – bring out your Crock Pot and let the cooking happen while you are away.
3. The dinner table is sacred space – put away your cell phones, turn off the tv and engage as a family. As a child, my parents created an environment where the time around the dinner table was the most memorable. It was a place where we could talk about our days, laugh at memories and talk about family issues. To this day, the whole family comes home to my parents house on Sunday nights for family dinner. It is a cherished tradition and provides a safe space where after all the running around and juggling of balls we do all week long, we know all is right with the world around the dinner table.
4. The Rapid 15! Make a game about getting organized for the next day. Set a timer for 15 minutes before bed time and challenge everyone in the family to get organized — all backpacks by the door, school clothes laid out for the next day, all sports bags and school lunches packed. You could make it a family competition and give points to the family member who can get organized in the rapid 15 the fastest.
5. Take time for you! I remember the days when my parents would actually drop us off at soccer practice and come back 2-hours later to pick us up. There was never a line of parents lined up on the sidelines just to watch our practice. Hello helicopter parents! I know my mom cherished that 2-hours she had while we were at practice; whether she ran to do errands, went home for free time or jammed to the gym to get in a workout, my mom took the time for herself. It’s perfectly fine to be the parent that just does the drop off and actually takes practice time to focus on you! Go for a run, take a yoga class, grab a coffee with a friend or just go home and enjoy the peace and quiet. We promise your soccer star is going to be just fine at practice without you watching every shot on goal!
What other tips have worked for you? We want to know! Share your tips in the comment box below!