This is a guest post from the wonderful GoGingham.
With school and fall activities in full swing, busy weeknights become the norm. Here’s how to keep the week a little calmer – even when the schedules are full. It’s starts with a short, weekly meeting on Sunday.
- Begin the meeting with a review what’s ahead for the week. With calendars in hand, check after school activities with work schedules to make sure kids are where they need to be and when. Remind kids of pick up times and locations. Carpool routines should be confirmed and reviewed, too. We like to designate a pickup and drop off spot that’s safe but not where all the traffic is.
- When reviewing what’s ahead for the week, figure out what uniforms for sports or other activities are needed. Encourage kids to get necessary items together ahead of time and keep in a designated – and separate – bag by the door so it’s ready and easy to grab. My kids both take music lessons and having their piano bags next to the front door with all of their materials tucked inside helps them arrive at the lesson calm – and ready to learn.
- If new items are needed – piano music or soccer socks without mud stains – make a list during the Sunday meeting. Don’t forget to check in with coaches and instructors about who is purchasing items. By finding out ahead of time who’s responsible, it helps to limit the number of trips to the store to buy items as well as returns.
- Make a list of dinners to cook for the week – meal plan! Having a plan of what we’re eating for the week helps us know what to shop for at the grocery store and limits the number of trips to the market. When we have a plan, we eat healthier at home. Added bonus? Whoever is home first knows what to start making for dinner – kids included.
- Limit screen time during the week – this includes all screens. If there’s extra time during the week, busy families need downtime – and screens can’t be part of the mix. Limiting or eliminating screen time during the week means there’s time for reading, homework, and helping with dinner or chores. This is a hard rule to enforce when kids are older so it’s best to start early when kids are young. Have older kids? Try a “Technology Free Day” once a week.
- Skip the morning crisis – get set the night before. Have kids who spend all morning choosing clothes? What about choosing what to have for breakfast? Do you scramble with work papers? What about early morning workout gear? Getting all of these items situated and chosen before bedtime helps make the morning run smoother and helps me sleep better. If I can get breakfast organized, lunches made, and the coffee made the night before, my morning routine is calm rather than chaotic.
With a short family meeting, planning for the week ahead, and getting a jump on the morning, busy fall schedules will be more enjoyable.