Melissa from CloudMom is here to share five organization tips to help you deal with an overwhelming schedule.
Avoiding over scheduling can take practice. Living with my husband and five children in the hustle and bustle of New York City, I feel pressured to expose them to as many activities and events as possible.
Where can you possibly find the time to sit back and relax with your kids? If you’re a mother or father overwhelmed by over scheduling, these tips on how I uncluttered my schedule in the New Year may help…
1. Set priorities
I can assure you that your child doesn’t need to be the captain of multiple sports teams, star in the school play, and become their class president in order to one day get into college!
If your child is getting less and less downtime at home, you may want to sit them down and talk to them about the activities they would like to continue. Remember, they are also a full time student and need a good amount of sleep each night to stay at peak performance.
Eliminating even one after school activity can really free up your nights and weekends, leaving time for homework and quality family bonding!
2. Listen to your children
Notice when they are having fun and enjoying their extracurricular activities, while also paying attention to when they seem overworked, overtired and unsatisfied.
Are they taking piano lessons just to please you? Do they really look forward to those travel soccer meets? In the long run, it’s more important to build character than a resume. Let your child stick with the activities that they enjoy and provide supportive relationships, organizational skills, time management, and leadership.
Give them the choice to drop the others. Knowing what we like is a key part of developing our self-confidence and self-esteem, so give your child the opportunity to choose some things over others, and save some time on the other side.
3. Think before committing
There is a huge pressure as a parent to say “yes” to every birthday party RSVP and carpool request.
Moms and dads certainly can’t do it all, though we often try. And we don’t want our kids to be on the sidelines when it comes to social events. But if you’re already super busy over the week, something’s gotta give.
Prioritize and turn down the less than ideal work or personal requests. Trust me, I’m really terrible at saying no to things, I feel so guilty afterwards. But it does help in the long run with my schedule and my overall sanity.
4. Plan for extra time
With five kids, it always feels like there is some appointment or another to schedule.
For tasks that are more flexible and less time sensitive, schedule these during your less crazy days and give yourself some extra time in-between to account for events that run over or tasks that take longer than expected. And if they don’t, you’ll have a few extra minutes to regroup, take a deep breath, and mentally prep for the rest of the day.
5. Use the weekend to unwind
Weekdays are inherently busy. You’re making breakfast for the family, hustling the kids onto the bus, putting in a full day at the office, and shuttling the kiddies around from sports and music practice. So what’s a few extra minutes at the end of a Tuesday to tidy up the house instead of spending precious weekend time to do it?
Tackling a project on a weekday that you might normally put aside for Saturday leaves more family bonding time before Monday rolls around again! I always try to get some family time in even on the busiest days, whether it’s reading a story to them before their bedtime or sharing a special homemade snack with the kids after school.
I hope these tips help. Remember, you’re doing the best you can… Nobody can do everything.
Written by Melissa Lawrence.
Melissa is co-founder of CloudMom and lives in New York City with her husband and 5 young children. With more than a few parenting tricks up her sleeve, Melissa posts how-to videos and blogs for moms just like you.