September 12, 2012

School Year Craziness

It feels like fall in Colorado today! I say this not only because of the weather, but also because we are in full "back to school mode". My oldest children (twins) started kindergarten this year. This created a whole new dimension to our daily lives. As usual, with the new school year comes new beginnings, new teachers, new routines, new, new new!

I am sure many of you are in the same spot with getting your kids off to school in the past couple of weeks and trying to settle into a routine that is comfortable for you. Homework has probably began for your school age children, projects, fundraisers, sports and all of the other activities that come with a new school year.

For some families (us included) it is hard to find that routine and balance your daily lives. I wanted to share some tips and ideas for making the transition smooth for you and your children.

First, and I believe most important, is to set a daily routine and stick to it! Set regular times for homework, dinner, play time, TV (if you allow), bath time,bed time, and wake up time. Children and adolescents thrive on routines. This allows them to feel safe and secure in their environment and predictability in their daily lives builds self confidence and reassurance. I recommend on most days not straying from this routine by more that a half an hour or so. It is also important to be sure that everyone in your household is following the same schedule i.e. husband, grandparents, babysitters, nannies, etc. It can be detrimental and taxing on a child if each new person they are with has a different routine. Regular, predictable routines just make life easier for everyone in the house, including you!

Next, I find it very helpful to take time on the weekend and plan out meals for the week. This is fabulous for two reasons: 1. It makes grocery shopping much easier than mindlessly wandering and grabbing the few necessities and then a bunch of other random items that look good. 2. It will end up saving you a TON of money because you are now shopping with a purpose. By plan out, I mean literally plan out each day what your main meals will be. I write mine on our dry erase board in the kitchen. The reason for this is to know what meat you may need to take out to thaw in the morning before everything gets crazy for the day! It is well worth it to take the time to pick out recipes from a cookbook or online and shop for those ingredients to have everything ready to go for meal prep during the week. Planning ahead and prepping, not just in the kitchen, but overall. It takes time on the front end, but you will save time in the end I promise!

Last, this is mostly personal to you Moms, find time a couple times a week to breathe. I know it is hard to make "you" time, but it is absolutely critical in your journey to finding balance and peace in your life. Take time to read a book or a magazine. Go and get a mani or pedi. Take a bath, take a walk by yourself, whatever it is make it relaxing. Make it a time to let go, breathe and refocus. If you don't take the time to do this occasionally, I promise it will have a negative effect on your home life. You will get burnt out and run down which causes resentment, frustration, and grumpiness. I will have another post soon on strategies for finding time for yourself and letting go of the guilt that some may feel.

For now, get your routines going, plan your days and meals out and take time for you. You are worth it! Your kids and husband are worth it! You are strong, your are beautiful and you can get through anything when you begin to find your peace.

Until next time...Be Well...