The bell has rung. School is back in. And while parents couldn’t have been happier in the morning yesterday, by afternoon reality had a chance to kick in. It is time for back to routines, back to extracurriculars, and back to homework. All that free time you just envisioned got sucked up into the hoopla of the rat race. Welcome back!

How do you keep ahead of the daily grind? Are you a scheduler, with a desk planner highlighted in multi-colours for every person in your household? Do you do your best by freezing meals when you can in anticipation of the kid’s practice nights? Or are you a fly by the seat of your pants kind of organizer, never sure what day of the week it is, let alone what is for dinner tonight? How about a few tips to make the transition back to school and routine easier for everyone involved.

Time for some “Time Management” in your Routine!

  • Dedicate a time for homework: Whether it be right after school, following a small snack, after dinner or before bed, ensure that there is enough time to complete any assignments due, and that your child is at their peak productivity for best performance possible when they tackle their homework.
  • Dedicate a space for homework: When homework takes place in a dedicated space, it can be organized accordingly.  Whether that be at the kitchen table while dinner is being made, so a parent can help, at a desk with easy access to a flat surface to write on and computer as necessary, or at a shared space where necessary supplies are handy for everyone, if homework happens at the same place every day you’ll have one less hurdle in getting it done.
  • A scheduler is the best way to keep up with your busy life

    Organize schedules: This might sound self-explanatory, but when activities don’t get properly organized, time management flies out the window. There are plenty of desk blotters out there that have space for everyone’s activities over the week or month. Day planners allow you to see what is scheduled when and where, thus reducing surprises that might throw an already busy schedule off-kilter. Smart phones have plenty of apps available to them that make scheduling a breeze in this electronic age. Even a simple calendar can give you a little structure to make sure that everyone gets to their activities on time, every time. However works best for you, take the time to write it down, so that you know what is going on when in your busy life.

  • Plan meals: Meal planning is not often easy when you have to fly out the door to football practice, swimming lessons or karate, but a little pre-planning goes a long way. If you have people going in multiple directions at once, it might seem crazy or downright impossible to try to coördinate a family meal every night. A little forethought in meal planning goes a long way. Instead of eating at the drive-thru, try freezing individual-sized portioned meals for those on the go. Pull out your crock pot for meals ready when you are at the end of the day. Draw up your meal plan for the week, to eliminate the “what am I going to make for dinner tonight?” dilemma at 4pm. It doesn’t hurt to ask for feedback from the rest of the family too. Fit in everyone’s favourites every night of the week!
  • Fit in some downtime: When we get going at top speed, life can sometimes get the better of us. Homework and extracurricular activities are important for success and to build well-rounded individuals, but a little downtime is important too in order to recharge our personal batteries. Kids need time to be kids. Whether that looks like some quiet time to read, half an hour of TV time, an hour to play outside with friends, or a day with nothing scheduled at all, those breaks from routine are necessary to keep everyone happy and healthy. Don’t forget to breathe people!
  • Family Time is important, so schedule it in!

    Dedicate a time for family time: This time is one of your most important, but often gets overlooked in the hustle and bustle of extracurricular activities, school, homework and life’s other responsibilities. Taking the time to reconnect, whether it is over dinner every night, at bedtime when you read stories, or a once in a week movie/game night, family time ensures that when things get rough, we are all open and there for each other. A united family is a stronger family.

Do you have any other tips that help your family stay organized?