off to school

School has started again, with the accompanying pressures caused by all the deadlines and tasks associated with getting the kids up and out the door, their homework assignments, sports and after-school lessons. While you’ve been looking forward to having them back at school, this is a pressure time as you adjust family life to new routines.

overwhelmed parent

Perhaps you work outside your home, or have a home-based business that needs your attention. You could be feeling overwhelmed by all your responsibilities. I’ve been there, and want to pass on to you some of the things that helped me cope with it all.

First, make a list for each member of the family of the deadlines that have to be met. What times do they need to be out the door in the morning? When do they arrive home? How do you want to arrange their clothes for school? Do you want them set out the night before? When do you want lunches to be made and who will make them? What sports activities, music or dance lessons are they enrolled in? Don’t forget yourself! What are your needs time-wise?

Second, draw up a week-at-a-glance calendar. Along the top, put the days of the week, and down the side, put the times of the day in sections of hours or half-hours – whatever suits your time commitments.

Now, it’s time to make the schedule work for you.

You’ll need three different colors of pens. For example, blue, red and green. With red pen, mark off the time you must be at work, and the time that your kids will be in school. Include travel time, going and coming home. To mark off, just outline in ink the square or rectangle on the chart, leaving room to write the item inside the box.

With blue pen, mark off the time needed for scheduled lessons or sports activities you’ve paid for and write them on the chart. Also, mark off your church times, and committee meetings or anything else you have that is a regular appointment.

In green ink, mark off the times that are left open for the family: mealtimes, play times, bedtimes, laundry, housework, grocery shopping etc. It’s important that you schedule time for the family to have a meal together at least 3 or 4 times a week. Make sure you have time daily to have fun with your children. Make time for a bedtime story and a cuddle or bedtime talk every night. Look at your green times on the chart and mark them off for each family time needed. Find time for yourself too -it’s important!

dad reading to girl at bedtime

You’re probably thinking I’m crazy – you don’t have time to play with the kids or spend time with them at bedtime because you’re tired after work, or exhausted from your busy schedule. Please – schedule play time and bedtime with the kids. This is an investment in your future relationship and your ability to communicate with them. They will look forward to it and you’ll find that bedtime, in particular, will be a happy time for all of you.

bedtime reading

Try out your schedule, discussing it with your partner and older kids. You can tweak it and make changes if necessary. It may take a few weeks to make it work for you, but don’t give up. You can make life a lot easier with a schedule in place. You’ll be glad you made the effort, I’m sure!

I’m here to help you if you’d like to contact me. I have a special offer on my coaching at the moment. (Look at the “Special Offer” in this website.) You couldn’t have a better investment than to invest in learning some tips to make family life more enjoyable. It doesn’t mean that you’re a failure when you ask for help! It means that you’re willing to learn, and make some changes that will help your family’s lives run more smoothly.

Feel free to ask a question in the comments section below. I’d love to hear how your schedule is working for you.

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