Do you dream of not having to race to school to give your child his/her report or lunch that they forgot (again)? Do you wonder why you are always late to every event that involves the children? Here are 10 tips and ideas to transform you into a Super Organized Parent!
1. Have a meeting of the minds. The best way to start to get things organized is to sit down each week and go over the upcoming week. Who has projects due at school, who has practices for sports, who has band or music or dancing lessons? Fifteen to twenty minutes should do the trick, or do this over dinner one night each week.
Put all of these dates on the family calendar–in different colors for each person. Children need to be at different places across town for different things? Hopefully your spouse can help out, or a neighbor whose child is going to the same practice.
2. Make it known that your family is a team. Enlist one child each week for helping you out in being the Chore Leader. That person can be in charge of reminding family members what needs to be done.
Talk to them seriously that it is important to work as a family. Switch off each week at the family meeting. Check and see if the chores were done right away or the ‘assistant’ had to ask them to do it more than once.
3. Get together with the Joneses. Have you ever thought of a babysitting co-op with other parents? You babysit your neighbors’ kids one day, and they babysit your kids another day. This way, you can have a nice, peaceful dinner with your better half–without the kids–once in awhile.
4. Keep up with the laundry pile. Do a batch or two of laundry each evening. This will eliminate a huge washday each week. Teach your children how to sort, wash, dry, and fold–from a young age. A rule should be made that clothes are put away after each batch. Dirty clothes (and uniforms) may be confiscated if they are left on the floor. Consequences can be detailed for not cooperating, such as loss of video games for the week or no TV.
5. Get ready the night before. Stop racing around in the morning by having outfits chosen and backpacks packed before your kids go to bed for the evening.
6. Let the older kids plan some meals. Have older children plan a dinner one night a week. You could then get the ingredients when you do your weekly grocery shopping. If the child is old enough to cook, let them prepare and/or cook the dinner and the others can help, and set the table. This will give mom a break, teach the kids what is involved with food preparation and cooking, and the party that plans the meal can discuss why it was picked, what it entailed to make it, if everyone liked it or not, and would they like to have it again.
7. Get the kids to shop. If you planned your meals for the upcoming week with the kids, take them with you, have a grid of the store and hand out the lists for each one to pick up something in their area of the store. Done in no time at all.
8. Limit activities. There are only so many hours in a day, and your kids have to balance those activities with school work, household chores, family time, friends, personal time and other responsibilities. Limit after-school activities to the one or two each child truly enjoys.
9. Set your watch to sound. Use that timer on your watch and cell phone whenever you have to leave to pick up your son from school or arrive at your daughter’s ballet recital. Be sure you pad the time by at least 15 minutes, and leave when the alarm goes off.
10. Designate a FAMILY night each week. No one is allowed to go out and everyone must do something TOGETHER. You can plan to play a game, or have each child/adult take turns on what they want to do that particular family night. There should be a lot of variety in choices.
by Aurelia Williams of Real Life Solutions
As a busy parent of two wild and crazy children and a professional organizer, I think Ms. Williams’ tips for being a super organized parent are fabulous. I especially appreciate #8. So many children are enrolled in 2-4 after school activities which can cause a lot of stress for everyone in the family…from the child who doesn’t have much time to relax to the parent who is acting as the taxi driver to all the various activities. Slow down…it will be good for the children and their parents.