We all have TONS of activities and if you have kids they have even more than TONS of activities. How do we keep everyone's gear straight? How do we not forget our yoga mat, or swim googles, or hair ties, or baseball uniform, or shampoo, or towels, etc? Here is a plan that works. Purchase a sturdy bag for each of your activities. Write the name of the activity on the bag with a sharpie, or get each bag monogrammed. Stock the bag with everything needed for the activity. If you take a shower at your gym, keep a small toiletry bag loaded with your favorite items in the bag (don't move your shampoo, lotion, deodorant back and forth from your bathroom). Just buy a second lotion, shampoo, soap etc, you aren't spending any extra money because you are still using the same amount of product. If you and your child are packing up a baseball bag, be sure to toss in a few bandaids, sunscreen and chapstick. In my kids ski bags I put an extra pair of underwear, getting ski gear off when you have to "go" can be tricky. Once you build your individual activity/sports bags you have to teach yourself and your child to manage them. All sports equipment, uniforms, swimsuits go through the wash and back in the bags. If it's easier for you, keep a laundry-lingerie bag in your sports bag. When it's time to wash everything, put it in the lingerie bag, run it through the wash and pop it right back into the sports bag. NOTHING GETS LOST.
Do you have a kid who complains about doing homework? Fights with you to start it? Doesn't stay on task. Try this. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and for 10 minutes your child does homework. When the timer goes off, set it again for 5 minutes. During the 5 minutes your child can do whatever they want. When the 5 minute timer goes off your child is back to homework for 10 minutes. And this goes on and on until the homework is completed. Don't mention this to your child, but eventually they will ask to skip the timer because they want to 'just finish ALL their homework.' And yes, during the timer you will hear a lot of moaning and groaning, ignore it. They are doing it for attention.
For the next 8 weeks Teddy has homework. He is doing a little class offered to children who are moving to Upper Elementary at his school. When he first started I noticed he was starring out the window for most of the time. I would walk by and ask him how he was doing and he would say, 'Do you see that bird out there?' I thought how could I get this kid on task so he can get this done and go play?!? Two nights ago I asked him what he needed to do. We made a list of each problem he was to finish. After he completed each problem he needed to check it off. The list kept him on task and motivated him too get everything done. It worked like a charm. Next step, to have him make his own list. ;)
Scrub, scrub, scrub . . . . we have to teach our children cleanliness. My children shower every night. From time to time I pop my head in the shower and make sure they are scrubbing all their pieces and parts. Recently, I had to re-teach Murphy how to wash her hair. Her hair has gotten a lot longer and thicker so she really needed to be using more shampoo and conditioner. Harvey takes a 42 second shower, so I wanted to see how he could possibly wash his body and brush his teeth in that window. He couldn't! So we talked about his process. And if your child is over the age of four they can be doing all their scrubbing, teeth brushing etc them self. Just teach them how and kick it next to the bathroom with a magazine in case they need any assistance. You are welcome for taking one more thing of your TO DO list. ;)
I had coffee with a few friends the other day. We had a great time. Hanging out with friends is one of the things in my life that 'fills my cup.' Yesterday I called a friend with a question about our rowing machine and he said you should call and see if Lora (his wife) wants to have dinner at your house. So I called up Lora and said, "Do you want to have dinner at my house?" She said, well, we are busy with this and that, but I want to. I said, "If you text between 5:00PM and 6:00PM and tell me you are standing on my porch, I will feed you." She said, "If that's the invite, I'll figure it out." At 5:35PM Harvey looked out the window and there was Lora! This is the stuff we should be adding to our life. The quick swing-by to a friends for dinner, the yes, let's grab a beer. A month or so ago a friend called and said, "Come meet me for a drink right now." I was in the middle of dinner, the kids were running everywhere. I got dinner to a good spot where it could easily be finished by someone else and I went and had a drink.
Since, I don't write very long posts (and I can't believe I have moved to a third paragraph) I'll get to the point. All I hear is how much people talk about being busy. And they say it in a frustrated, irritated way. It's time to unschedule, down-schedule, say "no" to stuff you don't want to do. Don't squeeze in stuff you don't need to do. Squeeze in time with your friends. Lora, rallying to dinner last night was squeezing in time with her friends. She was here for a little over an hour. We ate, we chatted, we tried on clothes, we sat on the floor in my bedroom with the kids playing in the next room, we laughed, her son grabbed a donut put it in a ziplock bag for his brother and they were on their merry way. This is the stuff we should NEVER be too busy for.