By now, school has been in for a little while for most of us. The excitement of a new year is starting to fade into routine. Fall can be especially busy with sports practices and other activities, and before you know it, all the promises of being organized and early to bed begin to fade when suddenly you find it’s 7:30 pm and dinner’s still on the table and homework isn’t done, yet.
It’s tempting to just get everyone off to bed and worry about the rest, “in the morning”, but (oddly enough) that just shifts the chaos to the next day, and before you know it, the week becomes more about survival than anything.
Over the years, I’ve found there are a few things that I have to do consistently (no matter how tired I am, or when I have to be at work the next morning) that are essential to making the week run smoothly:
1. Commit to keeping the family calendar updated - We write things on a monthly calendar as they come up, and each Sunday I transcribe the upcoming week to a larger M-F format and the whole family meets briefly about it for any updates. I’ve also started maintaining it online so we can have it on our phones as well.
2. Keep up with the laundry and the dishes each night - Maybe it’s just me, but after a long day at work, I can easily talk myself into dealing with those “tomorrow”, and then they somehow reach critical mass. I’ve been working hard at clearing the sink each night before bed, and it’s much nice to wake up to a clean (OK, clean-ish) kitchen where there’s room for everyone to get ready. I may not do laundry each night, but I gather dirty clothes each night and sort them to make sure there’s nothing we need to clean for the next day.
3. Have kids do homework in the same place at the same time when possible - Our evening routine gets in trouble when we change up the homework routine. Even if it’s a late night with sports practices, things always go better when we do things in the same order.
4. Prepare books, lunches and clothes the night before - I struggle with this, but no matter how late it is, I’ve been working hard at making myself prepare lunches, get out clothes and supervise the kids packing backpacks before bed. It makes a big difference when it’s time to get out the door in the mornings.
5. Deal with clutter spots each day - Our kitchen counter is a clutter magnet. We tend to pile things there when we’re in a hurry. If I do a little sorting each night to throw away trash and return stray items to their rightful places, I find that I’m much less stressed and it’s easier to find what we need.
These are some things that I’ve learned to do that help us during the week. How about you? What are the tasks you have to do consistently to keep your week running smoothly?