With every passing year of our kids being in school I like to think I become better at organizing this fast-paced life of ours. I by no means have it all sorted (and let's be honest, likely never will), but I do prioritize trying. I find that if I'm not organized, we all suffer.
In my experience, keeping things organized at home and school is mostly attributed to a good and steady routine. From year to year, this routine seems to require revision and straight up change depending on the needs of our family. Identifying these needs is the first step in being able to sort out a productive routine.
Rob and I recently sat down together to first talk about the upcoming school year and each each shared our thoughts, expectations and goals. I cannot recommend doing this enough. We did the same with the kids, too. They each offered their thoughts on the upcoming school year and what they would like to do for extra-curricular. Everyone being on the same page is crucial.
Having the above sorted was a good takeaway for me in coming up with my own game-plan. As hands-on as Rob is with our children, I still feel a lot of the day-to-day school/social affairs is managed by me. This actually works well, as my micro-manager personality likely wouldn't take well to any alternative (ha!). So it's crucial for me that I work out a routine that lends itself to staying on top of things while not compromising my sanity. I also find it extremely important to settle into a routine early on because once the school year begins, it's hard to jump off the hamster wheel long enough to change things.
In thinking over last year, there were obvious wins and losses when it came to my routine. It didn't take me long to identify areas in which I need to improve. I'm sharing five things I will be changing/doing differently. Hopefully some of them may help you, too!
Back to School Routine
Plan - Mapping things out by writing them down takes the guess work out of staying on top of the day to day routine. Using a planner is great for the obvious - appointments, social outings, etc. but can be especially helpful for the smaller things, too. Creating weekly meal plans, daily goals/to-do lists and tracking a budget all in one place warrants title as Household CEO. This year I want to dedicate more time to meal planning and coordinate grocery shopping at the beginning of the week.
I cannot recommend the gorgeous Live Whale Planner enough. I use both formats, daily and weekly. The Daily Diary format is perfect for staying on top of home and school. Each double-spread provides a section for meal planning, To-Do lists and hourly schedule. The planner also focuses on mindfulness including an area for journaling, gratitude and goal mapping. Included in both planner formats is a budget tracker and monthly calendar among other beneficial scheduling components. If a weekly overview is preferred, the Weekly Edition is an easy way to map out the entire year as it comes in a 12-month format. Live Whale Planners are non-dated, which I especially appreciate.
Sunday Prep - Sundays in the Young house are pretty relaxed. While it's important for us to maintain a day a week for R&R, I have identified this as the perfect opportunity to devote an hour or so to getting prepared for the week ahead.
- Review and plan for social outings
- Weekly meal planning
- Lay out kids clothes for the week
- Organize for the week's lunches (make what I can in advance)
Evening Routine - I majorly dropped the ball last year on utilizing the evening for prep. This made the mornings much more rushed than necessary. This year, my goal is to make lunches immediately following supper, lay out the next day's clothes during bath time and ensure backpacks have everything ready to go.
Limit Extracurricular - This is such a debatable topic, but for our family it's not manageable for all three children to participate in every extra-curricular activity that they would like. So for this year, we have implemented that each child can be involved in one musical and one sport-based activity. Swimming lessons are a lifeskill that we don't consider to be extra-curricular. The boys are both registered for piano lessons, Loic is signed-up for gymnastics and Mairi will be returning to ballet.
Purse Backpack - I've personally made the switch from traditional purse to backpack. I have one that serves well as a 'Mom Backpack' for outings with the kids, but I've recently invested in one just for myself. The Beside-U Pacoima is a great and practical fit for my everyday use. There's enough room for my essentials and the odd thing for the kids. For example, I know the Pacoima will serve me well when I'm taking Mairi to ballet as I'll be able to accommodate her slippers and water bottle without needing my full Mom bag. This little tweak has already made a difference throughout the summer and I know it will be especially so once we're back into our regular routine.
Check my coordinating video here.
I'm always excited to learn of new ways in which to improve our routine and would love to know what works for you and your household! Please leave your thoughts below in the comments!