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3 Parenting Tips To Calm Your Afterwork Routine
Is the after-school, after-work routine creating a crazy, chaotic homelife for your family? Will all the end-of-the-day pressures that descend on the typical family these days, it's no wonder parents feel frazzled and out-of-control.
I've been parenting for over 2 decades and have 4 busy children. Here are my top 3 parenting tips for putting the calm back into your family's evening routine.
1. Plan it out.
Sometimes chaos comes from everyone needing to unwind at once. Of course, your kids have very little maturity to deal with the fatigue and over-stimulation that comes with a typical day. As the parent, you have to be willing to delay your own need for calm and get the rest of the troops in line first. When your family has a sense of order and control, you'll feel much calmer, too.
Start with planning out what needs to happen in your evening. Baths, homework, dinner, sports activities all need to be written down. If you attempt to do laundry or cleaning in the evening, write that down, too.
Next write down the amount of time each of those items takes to do (be honest and reasonable). Now add up the times and compare the total to what time you actually have between the hours of after-work and bedtime.
If you're like many families, something's gotta give! This simple exercise will help you see why you are frustrated day in and day out. This is where the rubber meets the road; to have a calmer household you'll need to make the activities you desire fit into your schedule. This often means cutting something out!
Trust me, you'll never miss whatever you let go of. Take back the time to actually hug and communicate with your children by giving up the activities that don't directly contribute to family growth. For example, a lot of great conversations can be had between parents and children while cleaning a bathroom. And let's face it, cleaning bathrooms has to happen!
But usually very little communication can happen between you and your child while they're on the sports field. Don't get me wrong, I've done plenty of sports over the years and know how great they can be for teaching all types of values. But if your family is reeling in chaos each evening, you're looking for soothing parenting tips, not high-achievement ideas.
2. Streamline and get organized.
Everyday activities like meal-planning can either produce joy or chaos in a family's day. Do you have to spend time each evening deciding what's for dinner, scrounging for ingredients and feeling resentful you have to give up so much time to something you don't want to do?
Or do you just give in most evenings and either eat out or use take-out food? This is fine if it's in your budget, but if it's not, you are simply increasing your stress load which will inevitably spill over into your family time.
There are many effective menu-planning tools available today that can cut your time in the kitchen. Honestly, a smart parenting tip is to help you see that involving your kids in the evening meal routine is one of the easiest ways to add calm to a family.
Depending upon their ages, children can help
-- plan the meals.
-- shop for the meals, understanding both budgetary and nutritional concerns.
-- set the table and help with the clean-up.
-- cook the meals with supervision.
The same goes for laundry and cleaning duties, too. If one evening is laundry and cleaning night, then everyone pitches in and that's the night for pizza. You'll feel less scattered when the whole family is pulling together.
Of course, these tasks will all go much faster once everyone is trained, practiced and comes to expect that family involvement is a part of the evening agenda.
3. Establish routines.
I'm sure you've heard parenting tips like this one before and for good reason. Unfinished homework, lost supplies, missing articles of clothing, and forgotten lunches just add to the chaos level in any home. So abolish them! Establish a place for each family member's daily stuff (just a basket or bin will do nicely) and remind daily to use them until habits are established.
Hey, you're going to have to be serious about this one, Mom or Dad. My kids know I would even call them home from their friends' houses simply to have them pick something up they neglected to put away in the right place before they went off to have fun.
Over the top? Not when you remember your job as a parent is to teach the types of habits that will produce appropriate adult behavior someday. Trust me, you'll only have to do these kinds of 'reminders' a handful of times. Your kids are very bright. They'll get the message extremely quickly.
Make a game with your kids about developing routines.
-- Who can figure out the smartest way to put together a lunchbox station in the kitchen?
-- Who sets down to do their homework first, with no complaining?
-- Set a timer and see who can get their stuff ready for the next day the fastest.
-- Give little prizes for shaving off time in doing everyday duties.
Set the rule that everyone in the household does work before play. You'll be amazed at the change in your home's stress levels. One step at a time.
Parenting tips come and go, but the basics in what a family needs donít change. If you're looking to calm down the evenings in your home, take a few minutes to plan out what's important to you, streamline your processes, and establish routines that save time and sanity.
And your reward? How about a quiet time before bed?
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