Hidden Schedule Wrecking Balls and How to Fix Them
It seems once school starts, everything starts again: homework hour(s), PTA meetings, piano lessons, soccer games - you name it, it is happening. If you work outside of the home, all of that has to be squeezed in among new deadlines and projects. And did I mention that the dry cleaning needs to be taken in? With jammed-packed schedules for both you and your kids, one little hiccup and the rest of the day's events could topple like dominoes.
It's a lesson we all can work on - time management. Because if we are totally off of our schedule, the first things to suffer are the healthy ones - maybe a nighttime teeth brushing is skipped or a fast-food dinner is grabbed instead of making one at home or the time to discuss something that is bothering us is, well, not there.
When planning your day or helping your kid plan out hers, talk about some "hidden schedule wrecking balls" and how to fix them. Giving her a sense of how to solve these problems can really help her cope when things don't go as planned. Psst, these tricks are great for us moms too!
Problem: Something took longer than you thought.
Solution: Break out the kitchen timer.
Whether it's getting ready in the morning or studying for a weekly spelling test, time yourself doing things that pop up often in your schedule. That way, when you are planning your day, you have a better sense of just how many minutes you need. This also helps you not waste time by thinking something takes longer than it actually does... and then you find yourself with an extra 10 minutes that you don't know what to do with.
Problem: You forgot something and spent an extra 30 minutes going back for it.
Solution: Write it down and get organized.
This is great for both you and the kids to learn. Whenever we get busy, we forget things. I don't care how good your memory is; if you are rushed, the tendency is to not remember. Have a central notebook with your list of things or utilize your iPhone or have a dry erase board by the back door. Same goes for being organized. Grab a cubby or container for things by the door and around the desk area in your kids' rooms. Being organized and knowing where things are prevent mishaps. Work with your child to figure out a system that works for them and helps them feel in control.
Problem: You get sidetracked by errands or picking up toys every hour or returning emails.
Solution: Put a set time or two in the day to do these things. When it isn't that time, don't worry about the 83 Legos on the floor leftover by your youngest kiddo. Same goes for your kids - if they find they get sidetracked by IM-ing with friends or even making their beds, have them allot a certain time to do those tasks and leave it at that.
Problem: You are always a few minutes late to everything.
Solution: Plan more minutes for transition times.
You know, transition times - not to be confused with driving time- the bit of time in between tasks. Whether it is the 11 minutes spent gathering all you need before school pick-up before you actually get in the car, or the 12 minutes of changing out of ballet gear and into sweats for homework time, those minutes add up and can throw off the rest of the day. Be sure to tack on those little annoying additions to the activity when you are planning your day and you can avoid big schedule disruptions later on.