By Jaimi Erickson
Are you a fan of summer ending or do you wish it would go on forever? The heat these last few weeks has made me long for cooler temperatures. Although, I am not quite ready for the fall rush to begin. I want to soak up a bit more of the relaxed summer schedule. I know it is just a matter of time, though, before we will be diving back into getting organized for a new school year.
Thinking about systems to get and stay organized now will help us be ready before the first day of school. Then, we can soak up the rest of summer knowing we are prepared.
With four kids ranging from elementary to high school, systems are how I survive. The school year brings with it more structure while creating fewer open windows of time. This year we are going to plan in rest just as we plan in time for sports and homework.
This strategy sets up systems that the kids can eventually use without being micromanaged. We can avoid living in survival mode – most of the time.
A major lesson I learned last fall is to plan in windows of time for rest. We had a surprise deployment pop up. The kids and I had scheduled out the fall activities thinking two parents were going to be around to do the driving. That was not an option.
I realized very early in to the separation that I had to set aside time to recharge. As a parent, I want to teach my kids to take time to rest, too.
I talked about the importance of balance in this recent post. Balance is my focus. To avoid burnout, look for the calmest point of the day. Book it out for your own quiet time. Write it on the calendar if you have to remind yourself. It will do wonders for your energy level and mood. For ideas on how to find time to recharge, check out this list.
Work in the Margins
It is no joke that inflation has created a need for many of us to look for ways to work from home. What I have done is work in the margins. I take my laptop along and use the downtime during kids’ practices to get my work done. Setting office hours within each day is important, too.
My kids know they get me for large chunks of time. They also see that during a certain window each day I need to get work done. I get so much done while my kids are at their practices!
Instead of scrolling social media, I write. I use the time while my oldest is at youth group. I work during the kids’ piano lessons. Because it is complete quiet time, so much gets accomplished in these windows of time.
Home Organization Ideas to Keep Life Together
My husband has his work schedule. I have my schedule. We both need to know what is going on to better help each other.
Meal planning gives everyone an overview of what meals will be made in a week. This 60-day meal planning guide is so helpful. I can rotate through each week to a new set of meals. My family gets variety. The meals are healthy. Everyone in my house knows to look at the menu board for what is for dinner.
Another tip I can offer is having the kids do chores. This changes the whole landscape of what we as parents have to accomplish each day.
We keep chore charts posted right in the kitchen. Each child knows their jobs. They can look over their list and complete their tasks with little help from me. Chores teach kids a number of life lessons. I shared more about that here. Getting the family involved at home is a key to balance.
Kids Sports & Activities
With kids in a variety of extracurricular activities, we use a system of “go bags.” Each child has a separate inexpensive drawstring backpack for each activity.
This allows us to get to all the activities with less stress. Reducing how much time it takes to gather equipment for each activity helps the transition times.
When it is time for cheer, my daughter grabs her cheer bag. It is prepped with her shoes, pom-poms, and hair bands. When it is time for football, my son grabs his bag with cleats, gloves and belt. When sports overlap, this system is a great grab-and-go way to easily be prepared and ready. It saves so much time.
Each bag is labeled and the kids have a different color for each activity. My children know which bag is for which activity. It is simple to grab their bag from the hook and go.
Systems to Stay Organized
Getting and staying organized in the school year ahead takes systems that work. Simple systems that empower each member of the family to take part in working together has brought us success. Balance and rest will allow us to spend more quality time together.