This post was made in partnership with Depend® brand. All opinions are my own.
It happened! “Back to school” has now become “back in school.” Whether you are missing the kids or incredibly glad that they’re back in session (or a little of both?), fall brings about new challenges, expectations and activities.
The weather is just right this time of year – not too hot and not too cold – and that makes it a great time to enjoy some family fun. The challenge is that you have to deal with the stresses of school at the same time. How do I enjoy some time with my family while getting back into the swing of new routines and school activities, you ask? There is a way!
While you may think that life is far too chaotic right now to balance fall family fun activities and your hectic new schedule, there are little things that you can do in order to make all areas a little easier. No matter what your new school routine looks like, here are some ideas to help you continue to find that quality time with the family.
Develop a Routine – Developing a routine and sticking to it is the first and best way to keep any anxiety about the new schedules at bay. Make sure that you have a pretty solid schedule laid out for you, your family, and your children after the first week of school. Having a routine will not only allow you to relax, but it will help the kids feel secure.
Lay out a digital or written schedule that you can refer to at a moment’s notice as needed. Update it constantly as things change so that when your brain gets tired, you have some backup. This will help you minimize the chaos during school days and allow you to build in a little free time here and there for the family.
Get Homework Done First – Begin a household rule where the kids get homework done immediately upon returning home from school. Everybody gets a snack, a few hugs and kisses, and then it’s time to get down to business.
Getting to homework right away allows for a few things. First, some homework subjects can take a long time or be really challenging. Best to start while you have more hours left in the day. Second, it takes a weight off of everyone’s shoulders. And third, when work is done, there is time left to play! If no one is doing homework in the evening, you can turn that into some quality family fun time.
Set a Chore Chart – If your family has specific chores to do during the week and weekend, make sure there is a chore chart posted in a central location. This will help your whole family work together to get those pesky tasks out of the way. Again, when there is less work to do, there is more room for activities with the family.
Don’t forget that there are tons of chores to be done! Children of most ages can do chores, you just want to make sure that they’re age appropriate. Everything from taking the bath toys out of the tub (for a three year old) to emptying the dishwasher (for a ten year old) to doing the laundry or raking the leaves has to get done. Delegate what you can in order to make everyone’s life a little easier and teach the kids how to be responsible for your home.
Plan Weekend Fun – Now that you have organized your life into a bit more free time, find a weekend this fall where you keep two entire days free. If that’s impossible (and I know that it can be!), see if you can at least pull out a single day where everyone can be together.
Fall is a great time for being outside, so pack a picnic, take a nature walk, visit a pumpkin patch, pick some apples or just enjoy your backyard together as a family. Make sure that you bring everything you need so that spontaneity can take over! Keep a blanket, some sweatshirts and some snacks handy in case you need to grab something quickly. And if you deal with bladder leakage, be sure to keep your Depend® FIT-FLEX Underwear® handy. With a fast absorbing and ultra-soft material, you can feel confident knowing you’re protected, no matter what you choose to do with your weekend!
Don’t forget! No cell phones allowed (except maybe one, but ONLY for taking pictures) so that you can make the most of your time with each other.
Start Family Game Night – Fall is a great time to start some family traditions for the chillier weather. Family game night is a great way to get everyone together for an hour or two and have some laughs. Find board games that your family enjoys or turn to things like charades or Uno.
There are tons of standard games around, but you’d be surprised by the games that your child may have learned in school or from friends. Let them lead and try something new sometimes. Whether it makes sense or not (some of those four-year-old games have unique rules!), just go with it. This is all about being together and making some memories.
Find Five Minutes – Let’s be honest – there are some weeks where it will be literally impossible to find an hour, much less an entire day to be together as a family. That’s where a five-minute date can come in. Whether it is with one member of the family or all of the family members, take five minutes and really be with your children/child/spouse.
Take the dog for a walk down the block and chat, offer to paint your child’s nails or brush their hair. Read an old children’s book to your teen and ask if they remember you making the voices. Take five minutes where all that matters is you and your family so that you can connect. Sometimes the best memories are the smallest.
At the end of the day, the best way to balance fall family fun is to put yourself in a position where you can stay organized and free up some time. It is not easy to deal with back to school responsibilities, household chores, and a family, but hopefully these tips will set you on a good path for making it happen.