Running a household with kids can feel a lot like herding cats—nobody ever stops moving, and usually in different direction, only stopping every so often for a cuddle. Or maybe it’s more like being a cruise ship director, trying to keep fun going and chaos to a minimum? Either way, sticking to a schedule and making it known to everyone can help your entire be where they need to be (when they need to be), lower stress and prevent meltdowns. Here are some smart tips from Megan Schinella, the CT mom of three (two school age girls and a toddler son) behind lifestyle and parenting blog Camp by Mama.
- Divide and conquer
Don’t attempt to do it all on your own—ask for help. Have a weekly discussion, usually on a Sunday night at dinner, when you can plan out and adjust the week. This way you also teach your children responsibility, including helping manage their own activity schedules. If relevant, make sure the nanny, babysitter, or grandparents help, as well.
- Set rules ahead of time
For example, plan on your children playing only one sport per season, or at least limit the activities to two afternoons or two evenings during the school week. Too many commitments can create stress for everyone. Downtime is so important.
- Keep an organized calendar
The free Google calendar app on my phone is my saving grace; it really keeps our family organized. My husband is linked to it so he always knows everyone’s schedule. Another tip is to display the family calendar on the refrigerator or a spot so that everybody can see it and stay up-to-date. And if you find an empty space on the calendar, leave it alone!
- Use Tech to Your Advantage
Google calendar is our primary tool for keeping it together. But other apps I also like that help me with our busy family schedule are Unroll Me (which helps you unsubscribe from email lists quickly) and Wunderlist (a hi-tech To Do list).
- Be prepared
When coordinating your families daily schedules, you live in your car. The fewer stops you have to make the better. Think ahead and always have their activity change of clothes in a bag ready to go. Fill up your car with gas before the chaos begins. If kids need to eat in the car, pack a dinner (or keep it simple with a pizza slice or healthy snack pack). Also remember to keep extra snacks, water, tissues, and baby wipes on hand in your car for all those little everyday needs.
- Let go of perfect
Parents put too much pressure on themselves and their children to live up to a certain standard. Trying to make everything perfect is very difficult, and it takes far too much time and energy. Sometimes just getting the job done to a good enough level is all that is needed. And most of the time you are the only person that will notice the difference anyway.
To learn more about Megan visit her on Instagram campbymama!
This story originally appeared on The Local Moms Network.