The kids head back to school on Tuesday and the Fall sports schedules and activities are already underway. Part of me wants to hang onto the slower pace of Summer, but I do love the Fall months and the holiday season.
Spiced ciders, pumpkin lattes, scented candles, candy corn and eventually jeans and sweaters. Living in Southern California, we typically enjoy those hot months longer than the rest of the county.
But … the Fall schedule can also drive me a bit nuts. It’s all to easy to get overwhelmed with the out-of-control schedules that come with three kids and two working parents.
So how do we cope? Organization is key.
If you find yourself hyperventilating as you notice falling leaves, maybe a couple of these tips could ease your crazy days.
- Get everyone on a master calendar. If electronic works for your family, synch up calendars with your significant other and make sure EVERYTHING is on it. I also rely on an old-school printed one in our kitchen. Love this calendar by Erin Condren.
- Meal plan. I actually include our weekly meals on that same kitchen calendar. It helps to see which nights will be jam-packed and be prepared in advance with leftovers or a crock pot meal.
- Prioritize as a family. Know what comes first, and know when to give. My kids are involved in a lot. Perhaps too much. Still, we have a pact that certain things come first. School work is priority No. 1 during the week, and we plan our work accordingly. On Sundays, church is a must. If another activity creeps in, we plan ahead and attend a Saturday service with the kids. If you have to bend during the week, relax and know it’s OK.
- Pack lunches, lay out clothes and prep backpacks the night before. We are up early and don’t need any additional stressors to get everyone out the door on time. This prep work makes me feel better in the morning, and it helps my kids get into a healthy routine.
- Adhere to a routine on the weeknights. We try to get the homework done early, attend to the after-school activities, eat dinner, finish up on reading, prep for the next day, shower and ease into bed by 8:30 p.m. with the kids. This gives my husband and I a little alone time before crash as well.
- Establish a network to help. I’m blessed to live close to my parents and my husband’s parents. They often help with our kids, sometimes getting them to school and helping with afternoon shuttling if needed. We also have some wonderful neighbors to help in emergencies, or simply keep us connected to school news.
- If you’re a working parent, block time on your calendar now for holiday shows and must-be-there moments for the kids. I use Outlook at work, and I already have holds for Back-to-School Night and the Halloween Parade.
- Try to find some time during the week for YOU. Exercise is my self-care, so I make it a priority and schedule in time for a mid-week yoga class early in the mornings. My husband communicates his needs as well, so we can support one another.
- Carve out some special family time too – a movie night, dinner out, an hour of swim – to stay connected as a family unit. The kid schedules can get crazy, but we want to spend time together outside of the weekend games.
- Be present. This is my biggest challenge as a working mom. I am the ultimate planner and organizer, but sometimes I just need to sit and take in all that is around me. My kids are at really amazing, fun ages and I want to make sure I talk with them, play with them, enjoy them.
Do you have any tips to help your family transition into the Fall season and stay sane?