Today’s blog post is submitted by our summer contributor, Nicole Kalita.
Ah, the summer months have been so nice! As an instructor for LBCC’s Parent Education Department, I get to enjoy a break from my teaching duties and spend most of my summer enjoying time with my family and friends. Unfortunately, summer is quickly coming to an end and reality of the school year is hitting my house hard this year. My oldest son is starting Kindergarten, my youngest is going to be in speech classes 2-3 days per week, and my Live & Learn classes will be starting up again shortly. And as excited as we all are for the school year to start, I’m a nervous wreck about the logistics of managing three schedules and getting all of us where we need to be when we need to be there. As a way to help allay the stress that I have been feeling I thought I would focus this week’s blog post on time management tips.
Set Reasonable Expectations
If you are anything like me, you can get overwhelmed easily and at the same time take on too many things at once. Try not to overbook yourself – it’s just as necessary to schedule “down time” for you and your family as it is to schedule in grocery shopping and doctor appointments. If you don’t schedule in time to relax, you will burn out quickly. So, think before you agree to sign up for extras. Do you really have the time to add in one more activity for you or your children? If yes, then go for it! But if the answer is no, gracefully decline.
Have a Set Routine
Schedules help you get out of the house and where you need to be on time. Routines help us know what is coming next. For example, your schedule dictates that you have to be out of the house by 8:00 a.m. You probably have routines in place to get yourself ready for that schedule. Perhaps you set an alarm to wake you up so you can take a shower, have your cup of coffee, before you wake the children up. Maybe you make breakfast while they are getting dressed, then after they brush their teeth, they can watch TV before you have to leave at 8:00. Perhaps, when the kids get home from school, you have snack ready, then they have some quiet time to unwind before it’s time for homework while you make dinner. Whatever your routines are, know that if you can have it set in stone, it will help keep your day moving for your family easier.
Nobody can do it by themselves and it’s important to have support. I have a list of friends and family who are available to watch my boys or handle drop-offs/pick-ups when needed. I seriously do not know what I would do without my “mom friends” to help me out when I need it.
I also lean on my husband… a lot… I’m lucky to have a partner who helps with the chores, enjoys cooking, will put the boys to bed, etc. I’m pretty sure my house and my life would be chaos without him by my side in this adventure!
And don’t forget to lean on your children for a little help, too. Remember to keep it age appropriate, but they can be responsible for some of the household chores, too.
I am not a morning person. So I find getting things done the night before is essential to making morning routines run smoothly. Have backpacks ready to go the night before; lay out clothes before bedtime; shower at night; clean the kitchen before bed; know what is on the schedule for the next day so you can mentally plan how it will run.
Last, but not least, plan out your meals for the week – breakfast, lunches, and dinners. Not only does this help with the grocery bill, it also takes the guess work out of meal prep. If your schedule dictates that you or your partner is gone during one meal, the other knows exactly what they are making. You also have the satisfaction of knowing you are providing healthy, well balanced meals for your family. Pre-prep as much as you can, especially for lunches. Portion out items that need to be, such as veggies and dry snacks. This way, when a busy morning hits you can just grab items for the lunch box, make a quick sandwich, and go.
What are your tips for managing your family’s schedules? How do you ensure that there is down time for all while keeping busy?
Nicole Kalita is a mother of two young boys. She has a degree in Human Development and Family Sciences and has been working with families for 11 years. During the school year she teaches the Live & Learn classes in Albany, Oregon through Linn-Benton Community College.