If you have kids, you likely nodded your head in agreement when you read that title. There are some days I find myself falling into bed completely exhausted just from wrangling my kids all day long, let alone days when I’ve got to go to work or get anything else done. From the moment they’re born, they have a social calendar – doctor’s appointments, pictures, holidays, and play dates just to name a few. How on Earth do you keep it all straight and not completely loose your mind? I don’t think I’m qualified to answer that most days, but here are a few tips that I use to keep things in order the best I can:
- Routine – if you can find a schedule that works for your family, set it up and stick with it! Once you’re all used to that schedule, things will get slightly easier. We keep the same morning and night routine every day. Mornings can be crazy trying to get five people out of the house so I keep our list short: get dressed, breakfast and bathroom (teeth, allergy medicine and vitamins). Before anything fun happens at night, clothes need to be laid out for tomorrow, agenda book signed, dinner, homework and food (lunch and snack) all need to be taken care of. I never worried too much about what order the things got completed in (other than brushing teeth), so that’s helped the boys feel like they’re making some of the choices about when to complete the tasks which has helped.
- Everything has a place – from the first day of school, have a place for everything! Create a spot for homework to be done at (we use the kitchen table), a place for homework helpers to be stored (we have an “art shelf” that had lots of extra pencils, erasers, markers, ect all in one spot so there’s never an excuse that something can’t be completed) and a place for all the papers that come home from school each week. Starting out will help you stay on track even through the craziest parts of the year.
- No breaks – there may not be school the last two weeks of December, but that doesn’t stop my kids from reading, working on projects, helping around the house and keeping up with other daily tasks. Yes it might take a little more work over school breaks, but having something for the kids to do during the day will make returning to school easier.
- Bedtime – pick one and stick with it! This is one of the most contested things in our house. Right now, everyone (under the age of 10) goes to be at 7:30 no ifs, ans or buts. With some good behavior that may be extended half an hour or so, but that’s about it. By the time their body gets used to staying up late and sleeping in, Monday’s back and everyone’s sleepy and grouchy which makes for a rough morning.
- Group like things – take some time and really look at how your kitchen, mud room, entry way, ect are laid out. One of the best things I did was to make a “kid cupboard” when we moved. Everything the boys need is in one dedicated cupboard that they can reach. There are a couple of reasons for this – it helps them be more independent and get things when they need them, but they can also help with chores. Setting the table is much easier when their plates, cups and silverware are all within reach. The same goes for putting dishes away – you can reach the cupboard and you know where it goes so you can help take care of it.
What tips and tricks do you use to help keep some order?