Every year it seems my small family struggles to keep up with all of our respective schedules. I have meetings once or twice a week. Some years my sons play sports after school. Add in grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, and homework time and we seem to always be on the go.
This year I am determined to keep our schedules under control. To do so successfully takes planning, lots and lots of planning. Here are my tips to getting your back-to-school schedule on track:
1. Keep a big wall calendar.
A wall calendar is the perfect way to see what is going on for all the members of your family each week. Fill in the entire month as soon as it starts, and continue to add activities as they come up. It gives you the big picture of what your month has in it, and fosters discussions early when you see there might be a conflict.
2. Plan for the week.
My weekend is sacred. It is my time to relax and recharge after a week of teaching to 160 high school teens. However, I can’t take my weekend totally off, and neither can you. Take an hour or so out of your weekend to make plans for the coming week, and then spent some time prepping so the week’s events don’t catch you by surprise.
My hour includes planning the week’s meals, making a shopping list, and deciding what days I can run errands, make phone calls, or take the kids to the park. Once my weekly plan is made, the next few hours include grocery shopping, house chores and meal prep for later in the week.
3. Shop for and prep your meals.
Making meals can take forever, especially when you are cooking from scratch. Cut down on your prep time during busy week nights by doing it ahead of time whenever possible. Chopping fruits and veggies, making sauces, and preparing lunches or other to-go meals can be done on the weekend all at once to make extra time during your week.
4. Involve the whole family.
Don’t take on all the planning and prepping jobs yourself. Do it as a family. Involve the whole household in your weekly planning activities. It is a great way to connect with your kids while teaching them time management at the same time. It is also a perfect opportunity to ask for their opinions about dinner choices, family activities, and to divide up responsibility for house and food prep chores.
Take your children when you go grocery shopping. Let them help you pick up the items on your grocery list. Use the time to teach them how to pick out the best fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. If they are old enough, give each an item to find and bring back to the cart. You’ll find shopping goes by much more quickly.
It may seem regimented but I find that it keeps the stress in my house way down when everyone know what to expect. Every minute you save is one more you get to spend as a family instead of caring for your family.