School days and extracurricular activities bring packed calendars and stressed parents. It doesn’t have to be that way! It’s important for families to find ways to prevent stress and unwind to maintain productivity — and sanity!
Communicate: A centralized communication center is a must for any busy family. Have one area of the house where a calendar is posted, along with a place to store any important schedules, papers or permission slips. Make sure that, in addition to the main, written calendar, an electronic calendar is regularly updated and synced daily. Family members who are old enough to have devices can access the calendar on the go as well. Make it a habit to go over the week with the family, paying special attention to particularly busy days that may have conflicts or overlaps. A nightly check will help the family get in gear for tomorrow.
Prepare ahead: After the calendar check, make sure that you’ve done what you can to prepare in advance for the following day. Make sure clothes for school/work, sports gear and the like are clean and packed. If any carpooling needs to be arranged, do it ahead. Think about your kids’ favorite meals, and make extra so they have leftovers that are easy to pack for lunch. Even small tasks you can do in the evening will help the next day run more smoothly.
Unwind together: It’s important for families to spend relaxing time together. Dinner as a family is a great opportunity to talk about the day and address any stressors that kids might be feeling. Delegate prep work, cooking and cleaning up so that everyone is invested in this together time. Even car rides to activities are good opportunities to talk and unwind as a family. Listening to music or digital books are great ways to let off some steam or give a busy mind a break!
Unwind separately: In addition to family time, it’s also necessary for everyone to have time to themselves. If children share bedrooms, it’s nice for them to have a space somewhere in the house — that’s just theirs — to go when they need a break from other people and place to think. Kids and adults both need down time to recharge and be ready for what’s ahead.
Life is busy and can be stressful. But we can stay a step ahead and turn a crazy life into a fun, fulfilling one!