When the family calendar starts to fill up with school events, before and after care, scouts, music lessons and sports, even the idea of constructing a routine can be tough.
It could be there’s simply too much clutter on that calendar.
“So one too many ‘yes I can do that,’ ‘yes, I’ll get that to you,’ ‘yes, I’ll be there.’ While ‘yes’ is important and we want to live a life of ‘yes,’ it’s also important to set up boundaries by considering saying ‘no’ at times when we are prioritizing our calendar to align with our interests and our values,” says Kristyn Ivey, a Platinum Certified KonMari Consultant in Chicago who owns For the Love of Tidy.
In addition to helping her clients learn about Marie Kondo’s methods of tidying a home, Ivey also helps set up paths that let families tidy their calendars.
The key is filtering out what’s important in order to find joy, she says.
Even families that haven’t found tidy in their house can jump-start by tidying their morning routine, Ivey says.
Whether your kid is a morning glory or a night owl, the first step toward making a morning run smoother starts at least 12 hours earlier.
“Simplifying and getting organized as much as you can the evening before makes the morning much smoother,” Ivey says. “So, preparing the outfits, for example, laying out clothes or preparing and packing homework assignments, signing forms which are current act-now tasks. And really just taking some time to wind down and relax and have fun. Of course you can fit all of those things in if you have designed your life in a way that is edited and simple and your home is supporting that vision.”
When her morning starts, Ivey says she opens her day with gratitude, a verbal thank you as her feet hit the floor. She also tries to avoid email or social networks for as long as possible in the mornings.
Managing when people outside the family can expect to hear from you is part of maintaining joy in the family.
“I feel like every time I take a step back (with an instant social media response) that I’m setting a different tone and example for others I interact with—whether it be taking a mindful break from social media or only taking phone calls on certain days of the week or maybe managing my email responses a little differently as well,” Ivey says.
Before starting the school routine with kids, give them a week or so to prep with earlier bedtimes, setting their schedules for fun and helping with chores.
When your family says yes to a vacation, returning to your routine after a break means an ease back into the vision for your life. Take a little extra time for yourself and your family to prepare for what comes in the work week and school week ahead.
“As much as you can, take a moment—whether that be a half day or a full day—to really take a vacation from your vacation to get more organized and reset,” Ivey says. “Then there won’t be as much of that hard transition to deal with.”
Feel free to work your major errands into a weekend if there’s time, Ivey adds. That can ease the calm of a regular week to focus on homework and other obligations.
“Some people enjoy the act of batching their errand activities like shopping or cleaning on the weekends, where others might want to take care of that during the week,” she says. “It depends on your lifestyle or work schedule for really how you want to manage your time and get things done.”
After you see the vision for your family’s new routine, ease into it a couple of weeks before school starts. Give both you and your family time to adjust and find the joy in what the day will look like.
“Maybe having them go to bed slightly earlier closer to when they’d have to go to bed to prepare for school the next day,” Ivey recommends. “Or maybe have them do some activities, something that would get them to shift from summertime mode to school-time mode.”
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This article originally appeared in the August 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.