For goal-oriented gals like us, the arrival of back-to-school season is usually cause for excitement (even if we've been out of school for years!): school supplies! A fresh start! Learning new things! Getting back into great routines!
But of course, for many of us, this year feels different. You might be feeling uncertainty about schedules and schooling plans or fear about whatever plan you've decided on. You've also likely felt an overarching desire to lead your family well through an unprecedented fall.
We've got you, mama! (And in many cases, are right there with you!) One of the best ways you can bring peace, ease, and joy to this season - no matter what school looks like - is to focus on rhythms and routines. Here are five easy rhythms to consider as your family heads back to school! Our advice? Pick the part of your day filled with the most pain points, and focus your changes there first.
1. Your morning rhythm. Consider waking up early and infusing something you love to start your day with joy - a cup of hot coffee, reading a few pages of a book, a walk around the block. More ideas here!
2. Laundry. A kid without clean underwear can throw off your whole day as you scramble to push through a load. Instead, consider proactively scheduling a load a day or at regular intervals throughout your week. Better yet, automate the cycle to anchor points in your day, as our friend Allie Casazza suggests - for example, putting the load in at night, switching it with your morning cup of coffee, and folding it over lunch.
3. Meal planning. For some reason, your family wants to keep eating! :) Having a well-oiled rhythm for the basics like this frees you up for the good stuff, so it's so worth making a plan. Emily on our team has written extensively about this - she likes to meal plan for the week on Friday and grocery shop Friday evenings. That way, she's free to enjoy the rest of the weekend without it looming over her head! If you really hate meal planning, planning for a month of meals at a time might be a good fit. Our friend and PowerSheets user Kate at Naptime Kitchen has some great advice on this topic, too!
4. Weekly family meetings. This has been a true gamechanger for many PowerSheets® users! It can flex to fit your needs and the ages of your kids, but many families like to pick and choose from the following: a roundtable of what went well in the family that week, a roundtable of what things could be improved in the family, a roundtable of what things each member will commit to working on in the week ahead, a review of the schedule and any big events or deadlines for the week ahead, and/or a character or scripture lesson. The book The Secrets of Happy Families has a whole chapter on this and other "agile development" practices to apply to family life - highly recommended!
5. Your evening rhythm. We like to think of your evening rhythm's purpose as setting you and your family up for a great day tomorrow. What can be done the night before to smooth things out when you wake up? Packing lunches, laying out clothes (for everyone!), packing book bags, putting in a load of laundry, docking electronics at a certain hour, a relaxing activity, a plan for kitchen clean-up, an evening stretch session, or committing to a certain hour for bedtime are things you might incorporate.
No matter which rhythm you choose to focus on this fall, your PowerSheets® can help make it a habit! We'd love to hear: what is a rhythm or routine that's working really well for you right now? Where are you excited to try something new?