How much preparation do you give your children? My kids have been back in school for several weeks and the prep work made the process so much easier.
What am I talking about?
If we want our children/students/grandkids to be prepared, we need to teach them routines. In the weeks prior to the start of school I began my preparation. This included adjusting morning and nighttime routine such as getting up and going to sleep.
We love the summer as much as the next family, but we needed to gradually adjust our sleep schedules, slowly, to come more in tune with what they would look like when school started. This was a gradual process. If you would like more information, I have a series of videos in my Facebook group, bit.ly/SuccessinParenting, where I spoke about the specifics of changing these schedules as well as other routines.
The biggest struggles in my family at this time: meal planning/times and extra-curricular activity schedules. Why are these times a struggle? Meal times are my nightmare because I do NOT cook (it is not from a lack of trying). The other difficulty is scheduling of soccer practices/games. I am sure I am not the only one with these types of struggles, right?!
Let’s begin with how schedules interfere with meals. My 8-year-old and 16-year-old are both on traveling soccer leagues for different cities. Gavin, my baby, has practice on Monday & Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7 pm. McKenzie, my middle child and my girl, has practice Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 7-8:30 pm. Do you see any meal planning difficulties?
It gets better… Not really…Beginning next weekend, they will both have games on the weekends. So what is a mom to do? I picked up my essentials: a highlighter, calendar, and cell phone. Once both schedules were released I got down to business.
Comparing the kids’ schedules and our schedules took some work. We reached out to our extended family members and friends to help when we didn’t have enough adults to cover both activities. It takes a village! Pre-planning our schedule has been a life-saver in my house! Develop and utilize strategies and tools that work best for your family to fit in multiple extra-curricular events.
I have found it is better for my family to have a plan for everything from after school until bedtime, but it looks different for each of my children. A lot of the time, our schedules have to be on a sliding scale from strict to flexible. If you have a child that learns best with visuals, provide a picture schedule. Place the schedule in an order you think will work best. Then watch your child for signs of fatigue and frustration.
If you see these, change the arrangement of the pictures to work for your child. For a child that learns best through the auditory modality, record their schedule on an audio device so that they can stop and replay instructions as needed.
Here is a new strategy that someone recently shared with me. It can be modified in several ways and your child can try their hand in helping to color it and/or set the tasks. Click the link below to learn more about the After School Routine Clock.
Now on to the food.
I love to eat and I would love to say I am a fantastic cook! But because I have the inability to cook, it wouldn’t be the truth. Meal planning is how we survive. My hubby plans and preps meals for the week, typically. He preps each meal the night before so that all I need to do is heat it. He’s awesome!
Does this always work as planned? Heck no! I still burn meals, arrive home later than scheduled, have errands to run, etc… But I have backup plans! Eat a gluten-free (gf) diet can throw a wrench in plans sometimes, but it can make easier too. I always have gf pasta, veggies, and other staples readily available to prepare on the fly.
There are a few items I can almost always successfully make like: garlic bread and grilled cheese. But those are not meals nor are they nutritious. My suggestion is to stock your pantry with nutritious items that are easy to keep on hand and simple to prepare.
What types of time management strategies do you currently have in place? How do you manage the time for homework, snacks, chores, etc….?