Here are 10 Tips I suggest for a Smooth Fall Transition
1. Start out the day with some quiet time. For me this mean simply waking up 15 minutes before the kids. That's all I need to stop, recharge, and listen to what God has to say to me. Sometimes I write in my journal, other days I sit and read a Psalm or two or a devotional, other days I sit with my tea and just listen and plan my day. I like to start out my day with quiet time because once the day starts there is NONE, lol.
2. The night before try to prep breakfast dishes and vitamins, and snacks for the upcoming day. This really helps me because the minute everyone is up they want to eat and drink! So I try to have bowls, spoons, and sippy cups out and ready to go. John's lunch/snack on the counter, and if we have an outing lunches/snacks packed for the kids. I feel like I live in the kitchen so as much as I can do the night before I do! This also means an empty sink before bed...I hate waking up to a dirty sink...it's discouraging.
3. Monthly/Weekly Meal Planning. Most of you know I plan our meals monthly. I've been doing it over a year and a half now, so I already have a binder worth of monthly meals and recipes and each new month I just switch things around and add things from Pinterest that I'm excited to try. And don't get me wrong, there are times when I say, nah, I'd rather make a shepherd's pie, or the day is too busy we will have salad and mac and cheese. But for the most part I try to stick to our schedule. It makes shopping easier too. Click here to see this September's Menu.
4. One Load of Laundry a Day. I get teased for this one a lot, but you know what our hampers are never full, we always have what we need, and after vacations and on Saturdays I sometimes do two or three! This makes my life easier, but to each his own. I also have very helpful kids who bring down the bag from their own hampers on Kid Wash day which is usually twice a week. This means I do lights one day, darks the next, kids clothes one day, delicates the next and, towels/sheets and so on.
5. Make a Clean Sweep. I do this a few times throughout the day. This is just clearing counters, clearing floors of toys, picking up shoes or clothes and basically putting everything in it's place. I do this for my own sanity and also to reduce tripping, and to teach my kids that when we are done with one activity we clean up before we start the next. I'm also learning that if there isn't a spot for everything it's a sign to start going to Good Will and donating. Nobody likes a cluttered house. For me it makes my thinking cloudy. Once a month/or a quarter we donate clothes or books or toys just because.
6. Kids CAN help. I have learned that I am not a slave or a maid. I'm a wife and homemaker and a mom, and my job is to involve everyone in the process of HELPING and SHARING the load. One thing that's been working lately is after dinner I say, "Okay in 30 minutes we are all going to watch a show together and have dessert...BUT first we need to clean X, Y, Z and put our pajamas on." Oh my goodness, I've never seen kids work so fast...usually it takes less than ten minutes to clean up the playroom and basement and get everyone prepped for bedtime (pajamas). It would take me 30 minutes to do all those rooms by myself but when we all chip in it really does lessen my load. On Saturdays John gives the kids chores/jobs around the house and after all the jobs are done they get their allowance and have to put their tithe, spending money and savings in separate containers. It's been really cool to see them excited about helping! And Daddy loves teaching them about the importance of tithing and saving money.
7. Bedtime Routines. Yes I am a Mom who does the same thing every night and every nap time with the kids, and you know what it brings safety, the kids know what to expect and it runs smoothly. 8:30 Brush teeth, Books, Prayers, and CD time. Each child gets to pick a story book to be read to them and a story book on CD that they can fall asleep to. We do bath night every other night. I have had good sleepers since birth but I think it's also because we've always always had a routine and we've always allowed the kids to soothe themselves to sleep. My 4 1/2 year old still takes naps during the day and her 3 year old brother has to be woken up after nap time is over or he'd sleep the day away. Start healthy routines as soon as possible everyone in the home will benefit.
8. Vacuum love affair. I vacuum at least once a day, am I crazy? I love to vacuum! I have a dog also so for me getting rid of dog hair is a must, plus I have a beautiful white rug in the basement that sheds! I pick a new room each day to thoroughly vacuum and that includes the stairs. Doing one room a day makes me feel not as overwhelmed and by the end of the week I just start again.
9. Family First. I have a very hard time saying no to people and I get overly involved. But since I've become a mom I have learned that my family comes first. Especially my husband. We have a huge white board calendar leading into our kitchen that we both plan our month together with. We try to say yes to fun things that come up, but Family Time is always first especially since John works 14 hour days. Even with church things that may be good to go to sometimes we must have to say no to meet the napping needs of our kids, or to respect date nights that have been planned in advance. I plan on dating my spouse til the day I die! I've also learned not to feel guilty to say no or to feel like I have to give an explanation. I just say, "I'm sorry we have plans that day." And leave it at that. And recently when I was so nauseous and physically needed to rest and lay on the couch I learned to say no and stick up for myself. The health of my baby and my body was not worth sacrificing.
10. Just do what works for you! I'm the first person to say I"M NOT PERFECT. I don't have it all together. I get frustrated daily. My kids mess up. And I'm a work in progress. I just really like to try to be organized to set order to my crazy busy day with two kids (soon to be 3!). So if none of these ideas sounds tempting just do what you do! After-all you are the best parent for your kids, you know your family best, you meet their needs, and you are probably doing an awesome job as it is.