Finding balance during the school year
Sep 5 • 2014
Between supervising homework, driving kids to practices, getting dinner on the table and making sure everyone gets to bed on time, the school year can keep you running 100 mph.
Stop, breathe and take a moment to prioritize.
- Make a list of the absolute “MUSTS” for your family. Is it having family dinner together every night at 6:30 p.m.? Or maybe it’s Friday pizza and movie night, or church and brunch on Sunday. Creating a list non-negotiable activities can make for good dinner conversation and get the whole family engaged and on board. Once the “must list” is established, make sure everyone in the family knows these priorities for your family and there are very few exceptions to the rules, but you must be realistic. If Susie has a band concert at 7 p.m. and has to be at the school by 6:30 p.m., it’s OK to move dinnertime for one night.
- Share the responsibility. Consider a creating a carpool schedule for the neighborhood. It’s beneficial to you and other parents so you’re not the only one driving your kids to soccer practice. You can use that extra hour and a half to get dinner ready, do some cleaning, run to the grocery or take some time for yourself – read a book, exercise or take a nap.
- Cook once and eat all week. Take a few hours on Sunday afternoon and prep your meals for the entire week. Clean fruits and vegetables and prepare any meals that can be cooked or assembled in advance. This will save you from the stress of figuring out what’s for dinner while you’re picking Susie up at soccer and dropping Alex off at his study group.
- Establish daily schedules. Set expectations early in the school year and establish daily schedules for your kids to help you stay on top of tasks. For example, when your kids arrive home after school, allow them 15-30 minutes to relax and have a snack before working on their homework. Also, as part of bedtime routine, include tasks such as packing tomorrow’s lunch, packing up backpacks and selecting outfits for the next day.
- Don’t overschedule your family. As hard as it is, it’s OK to say “no.” You don’t have to attend every school fundraising event and your children don’t need more than one or two extracurricular activities. Family time and schoolwork need to come first. Be sure to have some unstructured time on the calendar to have fun together.