When you have kids, September, even more than January, feels like the time for a fresh start. The arrival of a new school year brings with it the chance to do better, especially when it comes to juggling all the moving parts that make up our lives.
I have a bit of a history of starting the school year with a huge burst of energy and then slowly fizzling out by Halloween. This year we have a lot on the go and it’s my responsibility to keep us rolling.
So I’m making some ‘back-to-school’ resolutions that I hope will keep me honest and the whole family on track:
- Build on the momentum of our current physical activities. Continue with karate, swimming and find a nearby, affordable gymnastics program for both kids.
- Come up with a daily routine that fits everything in. This means time for homework and reading, practicing instruments, outdoor play, household responsibilities, hanging with friends and downtime.
- Walk with friends a few times a week to keep my own physical activity levels up. A good friend of mine and I were doing this last year and it was a great way to catch up and get exercise.
- Be better at organizing playdates. I’m such a bad planner and I feel like my kids are lucky to get one playdate a week, while it seems other kids are marching off holding the hand of a different child every day.
- Do a load of laundry every night. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the refrain ‘I don’t have any clean underwear,’ I’d be writing this list under a palm tree while someone else folds our delicates.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare…the night before. This includes homework, library books, gym clothes, signed forms in backpacks and by the door.
- Keep easy-to-grab snacks stocked in the pantry and in the fridge. This way the kids can be in charge of packing their own school snacks. Preparing food takes a lot of my time and energy, and I’d rather spend a bit more time stocking up once a week so I can delegate this daily responsibility.
- Plan meals. In the past, I have looked at the clock at 5 pm on too many school days and realized I had no clue what was for dinner.
- Try something new. I might finally try tennis. There is a court right behind our house, and even though I like listening to other people play, maybe it’s time for me to get one of those cute little tennis skirts and join the party. There’s also an art class that looks interesting; I might give that a whirl.
- Make my 5-year-old walk. I’m not pushing or pulling that kid around unless we are going somewhere really far. Resolved.
- Get off the hamster wheel and play with my kids. Like all of us, I can get caught up in the never-ending list of to-dos. This is the last year that I will have a child at home in the afternoons and I want to spend that time playing with him.
- Be on time! When you live a five minute walk from school is there really an excuse for arriving late, sweaty and dishevelled?
Wish me luck. If I’m still doing half of these by December I’ll consider myself successful. I’ll keep you posted.
And let me know if I’m on the right track by sharing your strategies for a smooth, healthy and active school year.
Sara Smeaton is a self-proclaimed non-sporty mom to her 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. While working in advertising, as an interactive project manager, she avoided all company bowling outings and baseball games. Since having her kids, Sara continues to work as a freelancer and consultant; she is enjoying this new adventure writing for Active for Life.