Managing the Back to School Juggle
How did summer come to an end so quickly? I don’t know about you but I have at least twelve BBQ’s I was planning to host and am still wrestling with whether or not to buy that cool bathing suit. How can the school year be starting already? Did someone remember to re-organize my calendar? We all know the grind of getting your kids ready for heading back to school, just as you’re getting used to the summer slow-down it’s time to regroup and reprioritize all of the busy schedules. Here are a few ways to help you ease your way back in.
You know what is amazing about living in this time? The number of tools that are, quite literally, at your fingertips. We took a look at some of the best apps for parents to organize their busy schedules and here’s what we found.
Cozi Family App – This one is kind of a one-stop-shop for all of your parental organizing. Schedules, shopping lists, to-do lists, recipes – everything in one place. Because the app allows for multiple users to share a calendar it allows for parents and older kids to update as schedules change. Also, the Day-At-A-Glance feature is a real time saver!
HomeRoutines – This is a great app for dividing chores around the house. It breaks up the house into zones and limits cleaning or upkeep to about fifteen minutes. Like Cozi, multiple users can access the same data so assigning and completing tasks is just a swipe away.
SET GOALS AND ASK FOR HELP
I suffer from a “I might as well do it myself” mentality and it is a hard pattern to break. Asking for help can quickly feel like “nagging” if you have to do it repeatedly. The apps noted above are great at breaking up chores without making you the task master. Taking a few minutes at the beginning of the school year can also help you streamline and get some clarity. These aren’t just goals like “do laundry” or “clean bathroom” – you already have a list with those on it. Instead, think of a larger goal for yourself, what would make your life easier? Is it getting more sleep? Going on a vacation? Set a big goal and then figure out how to get there.
For example, you want to go on a family vacation this year. What does that look like? What are ways you can save up for the vacation, making lunch at home? Set up a change jar and keep track of your pennies? Setting up a reward system for yourself can help mitigate some of the stress of the home, life, work, kids juggle.
AVOID THE GERMS
Nothing throws off a routine like a sick kid (or parent!) needing a few days of bed rest. When heading back to school, remember that kids are going to be exposed to more germs than they have been in the last few months making them more susceptible to illness. Here are a few ways to avoid the fall cold.
- Stay up to date on vaccines – flu shots and other forms of preventative healthcare are incredibly valuable in keeping you and your family from contracting viruses.
- Keep a bedtime schedule – it seems like a no-brainer but a proper sleep schedule is a huge part of fighting off illness. During sleep, our body regenerates infection-fighting antibodies and cells, so setting a plan to get a good eight hours of sleep a night is not only restorative it will help keep your body protected from potential infection.
- Hand Sanitizer – Always helpful to have this in your bag, but don’t get too worried, a little germ exposure is nothing to be afraid.
MAKE TIME FOR THE GROWNUPS
When you’re in the middle of schedules, parent-teacher conferences, playdates and everything else you have to juggle it’s easy to forget about yourself. But always keep in mind, your health and wellness are as vital to a productive and cohesive household as anything else. When setting goals and expectations, make sure you include yourself, your partner and your needs (singular or combined). It may be as simple as setting a date night once a month, and that doesn’t mean you have to paint the town red. It might just be a night without the kids, watching a movie and enjoying your favorite take out.
Having a moment to relax, an afternoon unscheduled, a night of uninterrupted sleep is a necessity that needs to be scheduled like anything else. If you don’t have family nearby, set up a monthly overnight playdate with another parent at your school. Give yourself the luxury of a few hours that don’t need to be planned.