With today’s hectic lives, it can seem difficult to create a family schedule that works for all members. Whether your family is large or small, it’s important to manage the external demands on your time and energy, including work, school, extracurricular activities, and commitments to loved ones. As you may already know, stress arises from weighing these external factors against the need to spend quality time together as a family.
Here are some tips that may help you to create a balanced family schedule that’ll help your lives run smoothly.
Determine your values
You likely already know what values you want to pass on to your child, and your family schedule is an ideal place to reflect this. For example, if you want your child to share your love of nature, perhaps you can schedule a family walk each Saturday afternoon. Determining your values can help you see where your priorities lie.
Listen to your child’s feelings
You may love the idea of your child becoming a skilled painter or soccer goalkeeper, but is that thought giving them as much joy? While your child is unlikely to enjoy their extracurricular hobby all the time, it’s important to respect their overall feelings. If your child is feeling stressed and upset by piano lessons, it may be a great opportunity to create room in their life for something else they might enjoy. This will reduce their stress and encourage a feeling of ownership in their life.
Learn to say no
It’s easy to feel pressure to join every committee or attend every event you’re asked to. After all, there’s nothing on your calendar, so why not? Unfortunately, saying yes to everything can lead to an over-filled life, which will cause burnout and stress. If you are accustomed to saying yes to every request, practice saying no to a few minor things, such as staying at work late to get ahead on a project that can wait until the morning.
Occasionally saying no will help relieve your personal stress, and you will also have more time to do fun activities with your child.
Leave some time unscheduled
A balanced family schedule allows for breathing room. Leaving some blocks of your schedule empty will ensure that you have the time and energy to take care of unforeseen things such as helping your child with a last-minute school project. If nothing unexpected happens during this time, then you and your family can pursue any activity that you like. Space in your schedule can help ease the pressure on you, and leave room for unexpected errands or the simple pleasures of free time.
Ask for help or delegate
If you are feeling like your personal schedule is busier than other members of your family, think of ways you can ask for help or delegate. For example, if your partner has a more flexible work schedule than you do, they might be able to take over preschool drop-off duties from you, allowing for an easier morning routine. Children can help around the house, as well. Even preschoolers can assist with chores such as putting away toys and setting the table.
We all have varying interests and responsibilities, but creating a balanced family schedule doesn’t have to be difficult. By determining your values, saying no to some requests, leaving space in your calendar, and finding ways to relieve stress on yourself and your family, you can create a schedule that more easily promotes a healthy life for everyone.