We live in a busy world full of seemingly non-stop appointments and commitments. Most families must live in a two-income household in order to afford the current cost-of-living. This means that parents deal with getting their children to and from school, doctor’s appointments, after-school activities, getting homework done, and getting dinner on the table on top of working a full-time job. This isn’t even considering the time it takes to keep your household clean, run errands, or even spending quality time together as a family which is so important for our children. It can be overwhelming, which causes stress for parents, which in turn causes stress for our children.
While nothing can completely take away the demanding bustle of the 21st century, staying organized is a big help in managing a busy family. One of the best, and probably the most important, ways to help ease the stress of taking care of everything in the household is to get your kids to help. It is important for kids to learn responsibility now so they can become responsible adults in the future. I know that I personally have a hard time remembering not to do everything for my children. It is natural as a mom to want to try to make their lives easier, even at the expense of your own sanity. Purchasing a family planner may help ease your burden and help your children learn to be more responsible. Encourage them to write reminders for themselves in the planner and to check their planner daily until it becomes a habit. Keeping the family planner in a central location is a good way to help everyone remember to use it. Consistently assign chores for them to do around the house to keep them accountable. Children who have more responsibility tend to feel more self-confident and proud that they are accomplishing tasks on their own, and may help encourage them to make less messes when they know they will be accountable for cleaning them up. Here’s a list of age-appropriate chores for children and some methods to enforce them: https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/chores-for-children#1
For younger children who cannot read and write, posting signs with images representing their daily responsibilities is a more appropriate method to keep them accountable. You can also do this for older children who need extra reminders. I personally have signs in my kids’ bathroom that say “brush your teeth, flush the toilet, wash your hands,” etc. I’m sure that someone walking into their bathroom would think that these signs were silly, but my children can’t seem to remember to do these daily habits on their own. Visual aids are a time-tested method for preschool classroom management, and work just as well at home. Here are a few ideas on using chore charts at home: https://selfsufficientkids.com/chore-charts-kids/
As for managing your own responsibilities in the household, don’t be ashamed to do things that make your life a little easier. Planning ahead and doing a Walmart grocery pick-up after work will save time and money, reducing impulse spending and grabbing unhealthy foods out of hunger. Keep food on hand that is easy to prepare when you’ve had a long, hard day, or if your children are old enough, teach them how to make simple dishes themselves such as sandwiches, Easy Mac or SpaghettiOs. There is nothing wrong with taking it easy every once in awhile when you’re feeling especially stressed. Don’t feel guilty, we all do it.
All in all, it is important to remember we all feel the stresses of daily living. Even if you feel like you’re drowning in responsibilities, be sure to make some understanding mom friends that you can vent to when you feel overwhelmed. We all need the support sometimes.
Written by: Christine Clark, Assistant Director