The new school year is quickly approaching which means those lazy summer days are coming to an end. It's back to schedules, routines, and homework. Unfortunately, the start of the school year triggers a whole new set of frustrations for parents. Three of the biggest are:
- Rushed mornings - kids can't find homework, shoes, etc.
- Dinner - what to prepare and how to fit healthy meals into a hectic schedule.
- Homework - kids can't find supplies, don't want to do it, or they wait until the last minute.
In honor of “back-to-school, " I want to share my families’ strategies for organizing your morning and homework routines.
The key to a stress-free morning is a getting prepared the night before. For years, I've heard “I can't find my homework" and “I can't find my shoes. " Most days started with yelling, threats of being late to school and on really bad days, someone could end up in tears.
On the verge of insanity, I instituted a routine that has made the mornings easier on everyone. Since homework and mornings go hand in hand, I came up with a schedule that would improve both areas.
In addition to a routine that we follow, I have a large plastic box filled with every school supply you can imagine. I stock up every August when they stores are practically giving them away. Everyone knows where this box is located so I never have to hear that they can't find the supplies they need to complete their homework. As a bonus, they refill their school supplies whenever they are getting low and I never have to make a last minute run to the store to buy a box of crayons.
With all of my kids’ extracurricular activities, we have to be flexible, but they still know what has to be accomplished before going to bed at night - it's posted in their rooms just in case they “forget. " The best part is that I don't have to worry about things falling through the cracks if I need to be away on a school night.
Here is the strategy that works for my family. Use it as a guide to find a routine that works for yours and apply it consistently until it becomes a habit.
- Snack or dinner, depending on what time we get home.
- Homework, this also includes required reading, studying for upcoming tests and projects that need attention. Homework is not considered finished until it is checked, the planner is signed, and papers are placed in the proper folder, returned to the backpack and placed by the door. Once they have finished their homework, they are free to do what they want.
- Shoes must be placed by the door before bed.
- Supplies, permission slips, money - anything needed for the next day - must be signed or requested the night before and not in the morning.
I'm not an expert on parenting, by any means, but I'm trying to raise independent, self-sufficient children so I rarely make an exception to this rule. I have given them all the tools they need to be successful; they just have to use them. I'll admit that I do ask if there is anything else that needs my attention when I check their homework to avoid a conflict in the morning or someone having to learn a lesson the hard way. Although it can be very effective - you would be amazed how one missed field trip will quickly get them back on track.
Following a routine that works for your family is a win-win. The kids learn responsibility and no one has to start, or end, the day on a bad note.
Do you want more tips and strategies to simplify your life so you can be a mom who has it all? If you are ready to get out of overwhelm and lose the guilt, the Working Mother Private Client Group is for you. I'll share all of my tips, tricks, exercises and resources in a simple step-by-step formula. The result is a customized plan to control the chaos so you can finally focus on your family and career without sacrificing either. Find out more and register at www.leverageyourtalent.com/workingmother_pcg.htm .
Copyright 2008. Jill Frank. All Rights Reserved.
Jill Frank is an Executive Career Coach to Working Mothers. Get her FREE special report, “How to Control the Chaos and Eliminate Unnecessary Stress" and FREE career tips for working moms at http://www.leverageyourtalent.com/ezine.htm