Hello Readers! I’m sure right now that your nightly routine is a mess, just like mine did during the summer months. You most likely get to bed around ten or eleven exhausted with a long to do list that keeps you awake, tossing and turning, until you wake up and beg for more sleep. You may skip your gym time because you’re just too tired, the housework starts to slack because you can’t muster the energy to pick up the socks from the floor. I get it because I’ve been there. So, let’s look at ways to get back on track for your nightly routine.
Give the kids responsibilities. I’m sure you make your kids responsible for things like keeping their room clean or doing some household chores, which is fantastic. But at the end of the day do you find yourself cleaning out their bags, emptying their lunch boxes, preparing their clothes for the next day, and making sure their homework is in their backpacks for the next day? Instead of wearing yourself out doing this, turn it over to your kids.
I don’t mean make them completely responsible for everything, but they should be responsible for their messes and some of their preparation work. Set a rule that they must put their homework back in their bags when they are done, empty out the trash from their bags at least once a week, and clean their lunch boxes every day. Set a rule that they are responsible for preparing their clothes for the next day. Organize your fridge to make lunch packing easier and tell your kids they are responsible for packing their own lunches each day. Set up bins in your fridge for the following selections: produce (pick 2), protein and starch combination (pick one), dairy choice (pick one), drinks (just one), and a treat (only one).
For produce, offer seasonal fruit or fruit cups and applesauce and vegetable packs like baby carrots or cherry tomatoes and encourage your kids to take one of each type (one fruit and one vegetable). For protein and starch combinations, you can include lunch meat, tuna, and eggs together, and bread, crackers, or tortillas for sandwiches or cheese & crackers plates. For dairy options, offer yogurt, cheese sticks and rounds, cottage cheese, and other dairy favorites other than milk. For treats, keep granola bars, cookie packs, specialty crackers like Goldfish, graham crackers, and fun size candy bars (like their Halloween stash) on hand. And for drinks, offer real fruit juice boxes, milk bottles, water bottles, or sports drinks like Gatorade for kids to take. By giving your kids options and turning the decisions over to them, they will most likely pick favorites and will do just fine. They might actually eat more than they usually would. And, best of all, it takes the pressure off of you.
Stick to cleaning lists. I know this one is hard sometimes. Even I struggle with it at times. But I have to remind myself that I have a cleaning list for a reason and I need to stick to it. Sometimes the day is crazy and I don’t get everything on my to do list done, but if I can at least get my daily tasks done-take out the trash, load the dishwasher, do a load of laundry, and do a ten minute tidy-then everything else is okay. So, just remind yourself that as long as you got the daily tasks done then you’re fine.
So, what if you don’t get all of your daily tasks done? Well, start with a small daily task list. There are very few important tasks to keep on there: 10 minute tidy, dishes, trash, laundry. If you can only get the dishes done and the trash out, then that’s all you can do today. Aim for all, but don’t bog yourself down with too many tasks. And don’t bog yourself down if you can never get a certain task done. For example, I would love to make my bed every day, but it doesn’t always happen. Still, I would prefer to do my ten minute tidy in the common rooms than worry about my bed getting made. So, if I don’t make my bed every day it’s not the end of the world. Just keep that in mind when you work on creating your cleaning list.
As for your weekly tasks, focus on smaller tasks. Mine are dusting, vacuuming, hard floors, bathrooms, monthly tasks, and annual tasks on the weekends. My monthly tasks are ones like clean the fridge out, do the filing/mail declutter, wash the windows/mirrors, update the calendar/do the budget, and the fifth task (done every couple of months) is a major declutter task. My annual tasks are done once per month, and I have my seasonal cleaning each season that I complete on the weekends. Sticking to my list keeps me organized and focused, and it helps me sleep better.
Focus on the self. Take time before bed to do something for yourself every night. I read. I check my social media. I play a mindless game on my phone. I watch an episode of Revenge on Netflix. I focus on myself in order to give my mind some relief. Giving myself even a half hour of my time each night helps me unwind and sleep more soundly. And I never schedule what my task will be, opting instead to choose as I feel in the moment. Otherwise I’m liable to be bored with the chosen task.
So these are just a few options to make your nightly routine better. Above everything, remember that in order to take care of your family you have to take care of yourself. Without a sound and stable mind, body, and soul, you can’t do your very best for your family.
Until next time,