Take Control of Your Schedule! Take Control of Your Life!

Two simple routines to help you and your family adjust to new schedules - at the start of summer or back-to-school time.

The Fly Lady offers simple routines for your life ADDitude Magazine

This is the time of year when parents start thinking about helping their children readjust to school schedules after the lazy days of summer. But let's not leave out the person who makes it happen, YOU! If we expect our children to get on schedule, we have to lead the way--not just bark orders. We have to teach by examples set in love.

Most of our time is spent putting out fires, trying to stay on top of housework, bills, jobs, and the responsibilities of parenting. But there is hope! We can learn the skills of the 'born organized' and take control of our lives.

Watching the born-organized individuals in my life, I've noticed that they do the same tasks, in the same order, every day. At first I thought, how boring! But then I realized it was brilliant.

The brilliance lies in having the mundane aspects of life taken care of, so you can relax and have some fun. Isn't that what we all want? Too much of the time, we are beating ourselves up because we overslept and the kids are late to school again.

So let's go to FLYing school and learn to establish the daily routines that will enable us to enjoy life...and leave the guilt behind.

Before-Bed Routine

This will help cut down on morning panic.

1. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow.
Don't try to decide what to wear in the morning, while everyone is rushing about. As you lay out your clothes, let your children see you do it. Set a timer and turn it into a game.

2. Gather everything that you'll need to walk out the door in the morning.
Set up a "launch pad" by your front door. Encourage family members to use it for backpacks, projects, briefcases, and so on. If you set the example, your children will begin to use the pad too.

3. Go to bed in time to get enough sleep.
Admit it, you are trying to function on too little sleep. This has to stop! Establish a bedtime for everyone in the house, including yourself. When you get the rest you need, you set an example for your children--and give them the reward of a parent who is not grouchy.

Morning Routine

You'll love the peace that this brings to your morning.

1. Get up 15 minutes before the rest of the family.
As the director of the morning routine, you have to be ready. Your clothes are already laid out. Hop in the shower, fix your hair, put on your makeup, and get dressed, down to the shoes. You are going to love feeling this good. The extra sleep will help, I promise.

2. Have the kids get dressed immediately, too.
The longer their pajamas stay on, the harder it is to pry them off. Don't worry about getting breakfast on the school clothes. That's what napkins are for. No whining allowed.

3. Announce the time that everyone has to be in the car.
Leave the house 15 minutes earlier than normal. Factor in a grace period for traffic jams, flat tires, whatever. Being early to school is not a bad thing. It will help your child start his day on a calm note. Starting early also keeps you from rushing, which is dangerous, especially when you're driving.

Routine and structure are not the straitjackets you might think they are. In fact, they free us up to have fun and keep chaos away from us and our children. Take baby steps, let your timer help, and FLY off into a new school year.

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