Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School Organization

Somehow summer has flown by, and the school year is back for the kiddos! It is the perfect time for a fresh start, and time to get in a routine again! I know everyone has busy schedules,especially the mommies trying to cook, clean, work, and drive the kiddos around. It can be challenging to have time for yourself, especially when you need to find time to grocery shop, meal plan, and workout in between your everyday lives. I thought it would be nice to give those moms out there a couple tips to help you transition back into your busy daily lives. I searched and found some perfect example pictures from Better Homes and Garden website Better Homes and Garden and The Real Simple website Real SImple of exactly what I discuss below. I am not a mom yet, but I worked in a daycare for almost 2 years talking to moms at the gym, and also I know exactly what worked for my parents who worked. My sister and I danced 10-30 hrs a week EACH, and my parents did everything I discuss below in order to make it work growing up. But I was kind of an odd child anyways and was always OCD about making calenders, labeling EVERYTHING (including my light switches haha) and picking out my clothes for the week. I am not even kidding when I say I put a mailbox outside my room for my parents. Why? I wish I knew. haha


- Make a large calendar and to go calendar (or put into your iphone) with everyday events, and to do list. I am OCD when it comes to my calendars, and constantly using them! If you have more than one child, and have a million and one things for each of them, I would use a color coordinating system.  We all know the kids will come home with packets full paperwork to sign and return within the week. When keeping up with your schedule, you won't have to worry about anything sneaking up on you. Sometimes bills can even be the ones sneaking up on you, I include all of our bills on our fridge calendar.

- Don't be scared to ask for help from your family, make it a team effort. Have your children, and/or husband help you pack lunches for the kids and yourselfs after dinner. Then the next morning you won't be rushed, or if you wake up late you can just grab it and go. I know I would stress out as a child if I was rushed in the mornings, and it would take a bit to get me back on track for the day.

- Prepare for the week on SUNDAY, after church or whenever you can find time, sit down and make a grocery list, and if you have extra time, make a meal plan for the week. Do all your grocery shopping with your family or yourself (if thats what you prefer) on sunday, that way you won't have to find time during the busy week. Then as soon as you get home you can cut up the fruit/veggies, already put it in to go baggies/containers, so packing lunches will be fast and easy!

- After the kids do their homework, TRY to see if they can layout clothes for the next morning, or even better pack their athletic bags, and backpacks after homework, and put them by door. When I was younger, usually Sunday night before bed I would pick out my clothes for the week and hang them up by outfit. But I also had to be at drill team practice every morning at 6am, and I didn't want to wake up any earlier.

- When you wake up, put your workout clothes on!! If you have time before work in the mornings, after you drop the kids off, go on a walk, go to the gym, or even do a home workout video. If you don't have time, slowly try to wake up earlier in the mornings to do it. OR if you have one kid that doesn't have any activities yet, do something active with them after school, or before dinner. Even 30 mins a day is better than nothing, and even if you can a couple days a week. The hardest part is getting the motivation to do it, and once you have you will feel so much better the rest of the day.

- Try to make time for family whenever you can, just because everyone is busy it is important to stay in touch with everything going on in your kids lives. My favorite thing when I was younger was coming home after my drill team practice, sitting at the table with my parents, having a snack, and they would help me with my homework. Then we already had our homework knocked out, next we would pick out our clothes and pack our bags for the next day, then have dinner as a family.

- Have a snack drawer, we had this growing up, and WE LOVED IT! We had a designated drawer in the kitchen with all of our healthy snacks, and we had a drawer in the fridge with fruits and veggies already cleaned and in containers to snack on. It made it so easy for our mom after school, because we didn't have to take up her time cooking for us, and she could still continue working upstairs. This is something you can even do at work, so you won't be starving yourself, and making sure you are still eating what you need to be eating. This was even great when we had friends over, and we would each grab our favorite snacks to watch movies, and didn't have to ask my mom for anything.

- Make a car "go to " basket, this can be something that always stays in your car with go to items you might need. Keep small bills just in case you forget their lunch, and left your purse at home. Healthy snacks, just in case you dont have time to stop anywhere before the next activity. Especially if you have a baby too, diapers/wipes/change of clothes are ALWAYS a must to keep on hand. If you have a younger child you will be bringing with you to run errands, toys and entertainment will be good for them too. Also a "first aid" kit is always great to have if someone isnt feeling good, or has a headache, or even needs sunscreen you forgot at home for a game. Plus you will save money by not getting fast food on those days, save your waistlines, temptations, and you know your child is getting nutritional food.

- Continue to eat as natural as possible, and don't let go of your portion control. I can't stress it enough, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Teach your children how to eat healthy while they are young! Always have healthy snacks on hand instead of chips, candy and junks. Children are very active, and need nutritional foods to keep them going. Don't let them miss breakfast either, that is the most important part of the day.

- Spend a weekend getting organized, it sometimes can be overwhelming getting started getting organized. Spend a weekend putting together files, calenders, and a designated area for the kids to do their homework. All their school supplied they need can be in that spot, so they always know where everything is. Not to mention it wont junk up your house to clean up later.

- Manage your time! Make list, prioritize your tasks, limit your distractions,  this will reduce stress, and improve your quality of life. This is something I had to really teach myself how to manage my time, and activities in college.

- Get plenty of sleep, we all know without any sleep we can't function. Set a bedtime goal for your family every night, and try to stick with it as much as possible. Sleep will help your focus the next day and be more efficient.