Today I welcome guest blogger Katie Lewis, Founder and CEO of Strollers & Stilettos® offering customized services that busy families need to simplify their life: nanny agency, education consultant, event planning, maternity concierge, baby planning, personal assistance, and so much more. I know life can be hectic and when I met Katie, I was amazed at the level of service that she provides families. So I am thrilled to share with you some of her tips.
Top Family Planning Tips
By Katie Lewis
Family planning. These days, with the outrageous amount of technology and cell phone usage, it is hard to ‘put things in the calendar’. But is multitasking and constant emailing causing us to overlook how to really plan and stay on top of family matters?
To solve this common issue, we have come up with a list of ten family planning tips that will help you stay organized and efficient without feeling overwhelmed. See the tips below:
1. Make lists. This tip is number one because it’s the easiest “To Do.” By simply creating a “To Do” list, you are two times more efficient than you would be otherwise. Go to your local Walgreens, grab a notebook and start a list each day. If you do not end up getting through the whole thing, don’t feel overwhelmed – you can always finish the list the next day. Knowing what you have to do, and what you need to do for the family will make it a lot easier to get things done around the house. Try and organize your lists by ‘Family,’ ‘Work,’ and ‘Me’ time.
2. Block off time. Put everything in the communal calendar that everyone can see. Write down all the family plans for the week so everyone can keep track of each other and know what needs to get done. If everyone can see the calendar, you know you won’t over commit.
Moms – make sure to schedule ‘Me’ time, at least two times a week. We all need that time to relax and clear our heads – just an hour a two a week can work wonders.
3. Organize family papers. Most things are digital these days, but we still get mail, our kids old homework assignments, bills, report cards and tons of other papers we just can’t seem to keep track of. Create a file system for all of your papers. Once all of your papers have an organized place and specific file, things will seem a lot more accessible. Schedule a few minutes every few night to go through these papers and make sure they stay in the right spots.
4. Plan your meals. The value of meal planning is key for staying organized and (as an added bonus) saving money. Planning out the week’s meals will save you time and energy, and you won’t agonize over what you need to make that day. Plus, a meal with the family is a way to connect after a hard day’s work. On a Sunday or Monday night, plan out dinners for that week – complete with recipes, ingredients needed and grocery lists. Go to Family.com and Foodnetwork.com for some easy recipes and use a meal planner template to stay even more organized.
5. Lesson plan for your kids, especially if you have a nanny. Lesson plans are a great way to plan play dates for your kids, and dates when you will have a babysitter. Plus, they are a guarantee that your kids won’t be watching TV or playing on their Ipad. Plan the activities your kids will be doing and key takeaways for those activities. If you incorporate education and learning – the benefits will be rewarding. Plan out the days for certain activities and your kids will be a lot less likely to run and turn on the TV when they get the chance. Spoonful.com is a great source for learning activities and crafts perfect for kids of any age.
6. Work together and play together. Reap the benefits of having family chores. Chores are a good way to teach your children that your hard work will go a long way. Some simple chore ideas are: Making their beds, cleaning up their play areas, or helping unload the dishwasher.
Create a chore chart, and when your children complete the chart or do a chore, do something fun like go out for ice cream or hot chocolate to celebrate. When you reward your children for hard work, simple pleasures such as eating ice cream will become a lot more special.
7. Multitask as a family. Cook as a family, decorate as a family, clean as a family. Multitasking is key to getting things done, but as an added bonus you get to spend quality time with the family. If you have a big meal to cook for friends, have your kids jump in to help. Need help decorating for a Halloween party, make it a family affair. Spend precious moments with your family, but don’t be afraid to pull them into things that can be efficient AND fun!
8. Set aside time for homework and create a station. Organize your pencils, pens, books, and paper into one area or bin, or Homework Station. Your kiddo can take this with them whenever necessary, and you won’t have to worry about cleaning up or putting all of the materials away. If organization and efficiency is a priority for your family, having a homework station will be a big help.
9. Prioritize and say no when you need to. It’s okay to say no to play dates or soccer leagues or book clubs. The sooner you learn that you can’t do everything – the better. Stick with the commitments you have and follow through, which in today’s crazy world, is hard for people to do. If your kids see you as a committed mom, they will model your moves. Put your family first and recognize that you don’t have to do everything to be a great mom.
10. Plan for tomorrow. Make a list of everything that needs to be done tomorrow. When you wake up, you won’t be scrambling around because everything will be on your list and ready to go.
Remember: Keep everything in perspective – the house doesn’t always have to be perfect and things don’t always have to get done right on time. Allow yourself some room to breathe and cut yourself some slack – being a mom a is a tough, but rewarding job.