School has officially started here and our weekday nights are busy! I have three boys in lots of activities: soccer, cub scouts and school band. We also have several hours of homework Monday-Thursday. You are probably just as busy!! Here are 6 tips to get organized on these crazy busy nights.
1. Planning Notebook/Binder—I am a system person. I love systems and being organized. Buy a pretty binder or notebook for your daily happenings. Write everything down…home repairs, grocery lists, phone calls and to do lists. Every Sunday, I make a list of meals for the week with notes about practices or appointments. The other side lists what I need to buy at the grocery store for the week. I ask my boys for input so they can’t complain too much about what we are eating for dinner.
2. Designate a Homework Spot – I consulted a homework expert last year because homework was driving me insane! If you have one child you are able to sit in a peaceful/quiet manner. Well I have three boys and homework was a nightmare! After school, they have 30 minutes to snack, relax, use the bathroom and change out of their school clothes. Then the expectation is to sit and get homework done. I work with my 1st grader and pop in as needed with the other two boys. We start with the easiest homework first then move to the harder subjects.
3. Homework Busy Box– This is a life-saver! The homework expert outlined a system for us wherein the boys work diligently for 15 minutes on homework staying focused and “on-task.” Then they get a 5 minute break to play with items inside the “Busy Box.” The box has balls of various sizes and squishiness, little toy guys, and matchbox cars. Using a timer with an alarm avoids looking at the clock too. This helps them stay focused and get it done. My 1st grader works for 10 minutes on and 3 minutes “off.” You may want to vary the times to fit your childs’ abilities.
4. Pre-make healthy after school snacks—My boys are always starving after school. I bring a snack in the car when I pick them up and we have quesadillas, left over tacos, fruit or cheese and crackers (Yes Goldfish Crackers!) when we get home. They can then focus on their homework. I make extra if we need a hearty snack before sports practice and pre-stage dinner items if I need to so I can throw it together right after practice.
5. Marry calendars with alerts—If you have a smart phone, find a calendar app and marry it with your everyday calendar. I had difficulties using iCal on my iPhone. It wasn’t communicating with my laptop and I missed things. Now I use Google Calendar and an app called “CalenGoo” which I love!! I set up extra text alerts called “SMS Alerts” for appointments, phone calls and birthdays. It allows you to repeat events which I use for soccer practices, paydays and birthdays. I can input into my phone or laptop and forget about it!
6. Outline expectations with kids—Sit down with your kids and explain what you expect during the week. I tell my boys we can play with neighborhood friends but only after their homework and chores are done. The Fall soccer/school season is a busy one…for me and them! I remind them to be patient with me and I will be patient with them. We discuss the level of commitment a sports team requires but the effort is worth the reward.
I hope you are able to gain some peace through these tips…I sure have! A good stress reliever is to walk, jog or workout at the practice field. I love to put my music on and run around the field. It always make me feel better. Check out our archived articles and YouTube Channel for easy workouts you can do at the park without any equipment. Enjoy your busy evenings…they will be over before we know it!