SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

April 11, 2014

For parents, April is the busiest time of the year

(Continued)

Family commitments: Spring brings graduations, weddings and extended family events. Parents can prioritize and accept that families can’t be all places at once. Yes, the kids have to be committed to their sports, but not at the expense of other one-time or annual life events.

Parents need to prioritize their needs. Parents should not give up their own self-care routines in order to take care of their children’s needs. Make a list of health care priorities such as exercise, sleep and healthy diet that need daily attention. If you need to give a few things up in order to take on the extras in your children’s lives, give up other discretionary time eaters, like the monthly book club or something that you can do without until life gets back to normal.

Stick to a self-care routine. No matter what. And do not waiver! Make a pact with a support system to check in about consistency. At the first signs of veering off-track, don’t, even if the kids have to miss out on something. Parents who take care of themselves are more present when their kids really need them.

Plan ahead. Use a school syllabus and organization tools in advance to avoid being blindsided later by end-of-the-year projects that fall on the same week as the big sports games.

Prioritize for family and children. Before committing to sports and other regular activities, know what to expect. Consider limiting activities if they just can’t fit in all at the same time. Have a conversation with your child and explain the concept of “we can’t do it all.” A visual calendar with days and times will illustrate a parent’s position nicely when limiting activities.

Designate a weekly review time. Maybe one hour on Friday afternoons to go over everything that is needed for the upcoming two weeks. Allow time for planning and prevent being caught off-guard. It’s the racing out to Wal-Mart at 9 at night after a long day of running around that makes parents feel defeated and always behind.

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