It takes us time to adjust to any change in our lifestyle. We anticipate this, even plan for this when it is a major life change like a new family member, new home, new career, a death in the family or a marriage breakdown, but when it comes to a small change like the new school year we are often caught by surprise.
We expect the transition into the new year to be seamless, but more often than not the small changes in our children’s school routine, like different library days, sports day, new homework routine, even a new classroom teacher and classmates can knock our functioning weekly routine around significantly.
If we acknowledge that with any life change (no matter how small) we will need to make alterations to the way that we have always done things, we can continue without being overwhelmed or too stressed. This may be as simple as changing the day we do our groceries or wash our sheets.
But, if we resist the change and don’t adapt, this is when things are likely to begin feeling overwhelming and stressful.
If you are still struggling with getting a hold of the new year, here are my top 5 tips to help you adapt to your new routine.
1. LOOK AT HOW YOU CAN MAKE YOUR DAY RUN SMOOTHER
Draw up an old school timetable (you know like the one you had in high school) and write in all the places that you or your family members need to be each day. You don’t need to spend much time on it, as I’m not suggesting that you keep it after this exercise (well, not unless you think it will be valuable).
Now pour yourself a cuppa, sit down and look at your timetable objectively. Identify your busy periods, as well as your downtimes.
What are the areas or days that you are finding challenging and what do you think you could do to ease this pressure? Look at ways you can use your time most efficiently.
- Do you need to schedule in a specific day or even change the day that you do your grocery shopping?
- Can you squeeze in your groceries when your children are at sports training?
- Or do you need to look at getting your groceries home delivered? Or look at a meal delivery service?
- Would preparing evening meals in advance for your busy afternoons ease some of the pressure?
- Can you see if your child can carpool with another child from their sporting team to their weekly practice?
- Do you need to pre-prepare lunches and afternoon snacks or do a bulk batch cook up on the weekends?
- Can your children read their school reader to you whilst driving to their music lesson?
- Or can your child do their homework whilst waiting for their sibling to finish their afternoon activity?
You get the drift. Once you have worked out your challenge areas and identified what would make each day run smoother, schedule these activities into your routine.
2. MAKE YOUR CALENDAR YOUR BEST FRIEND
I suggest putting all commitments in the into a calendar. I’m talking about the time and date for all extra-curricular activities (your kids and your own), regular appointments and other important events that you can’t afford to miss. Personally, I prefer a digital calendar. The reason using a calendar is so important is that on the day that you are tired, stressed or simply struggling to remember your new routine (or in my case, the time that your daughter’s swimming lesson starts), you have all the information that you need readily available at your fingertips in one a central place.
3. BE SURE YOUR CHILDREN KNOW THE ROUTINE
We as parents tend to take everything on our shoulders and forget that our children are very capable of helping and can be responsible for their own personal school schedules. In my family, I use a simple before and after school chart which outlines the routine for them. My daughters (9, 7 & 5 years) now know our routine so well know, that they can do it all independently without too much input (or nagging) from me.
4. SET UP A FAMILY INFO CENTRE
Another thing to help you hit the ground running is to set up a zone (a noticeboard works well) where you can keep all the important day to day information for the smooth running of your household. Library days, sports uniform days, music lessons, news days, excursions, along with other weekly events. If you would like, you can also add hooks or little cubbies to store your children’s school bags, hats and school shoes.
5. CARE FOR YOURSELF
Schedule in some self-care time into your daily routine. We all know the flight attendant’s saying “Please fit your own mask before attending to others” and this is particularly true when adapting to a new routine. If you are constantly running around and feeling overwhelmed by trying to meet the needs of your family without any consideration for yourself, you are not going to be able to maintain it for very long. It doesn’t need to be time-consuming, just regular, something that makes you feel happy – a good coffee at a café after school drop-off, lunch with friends, going for a run or to the gym, reading a good book or chilling out in front of the TV. Whatever works for you. Just make sure that you make time for it.
With a little thought and attention, it doesn’t take long for you to adapt to your new routine. Just remember that any change in our lifestyle, can disrupt our routine and we need to consciously and actively be aware of this to help us adjust quickly. It may take a little trial and error to work out what works best for your family, but once you work it out life will no doubt run smoother.
All the best and if you get stuck, please reach out. I'm happy to support you.
Author: Amy Kennedy, Professional Home Organiser from The Organising Bee