Too Terribly Busy? Help for Busy Parents with Busy Children

By Elana B. Award-winning writer, advertiser, speaker and international published author

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Busy parents often complain that they, “just don’t have time.” There is no quality time to spend with their kids. No time to relax or prepare healthy meals. No time to clean the house or do other chores. No time to help with homework, or attend meetings, school activities, or functions. Basically, there is no time to really enjoy life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

The biggest complaints: “Tomorrow I have to do it all over again,” and

“I am overwhelmed and need some help!”

So how do you find time to enjoy life, love, and be happy in this stressful and too terribly busy world we live in?

These Tips Should Help:

1. Organize your time

Make a list and give yourself a time schedule. Do not overload yourself on day one. Start with the most important tasks and make a reasonable and rational list that allows time for eating, driving, pick-up and drop offs. How? In an age of handheld devices…use that calendar with time slots and use your reminder notes.  Don’t have a cell phone with this feature, a good old-fashioned notebook or day-planner will do. Make it as important as your purse or wallet.

2. Involve your children in the things you have to do

This way everyone wins. You have helpers, and children build self-confidence by successfully completing tasks. Children of all ages can help with different jobs around the house. The great part about including your children in these tasks is not the cheap labor; it’s spending quality time teaching your children and valuable lessons. You can explain how to do each chore while working with them in the beginning. Everyone learns from step-by-step instructions. You will see that even you become better at organizing and delegating. There is a sense of accomplishment that all family members will feel.

3. Food: Plan ahead

Prepare a list of dinners during the week and shop ahead. If you plan ahead and make sure there’s healthy food in   the house, you are more likely follow through. It’s a lot harder to eat junk food if it’s not in your cupboard. Cut the temptation and stock up on healthy snacks and treats.

Keep these tips in mind when you’re making your grocery list

  • Serve a salad before dinner. “It’s good nutrition and cuts calories. Grab some prewashed bag or bin salads. (organic is best)

  • Prepare baggies on the weekend filled with healthy snacks: nuts, whole-grain cereal, and dried fruit.

  • Keep fresh fruits and veggies available:  prepare carrot sticks, snap-peas, broccoli, cucumbers (any veggie your kids like), and place in containers with a small container inside with either healthy dressing, or herbed cottage cheese for dipping. (organic dipping recipes)

  • Make fresh meet rolls with a small amount of cream cheese and have those handy. (keep these cool in the fridge or pack them with an icepack in a hot/cool lunch bag).

  • Plan for those times when traffic is bad or you have long work days.  If you tend to grab something at the drive-through when you’re in a rush, try carrying healthier fast food. It’s easier than you think. Remember, you made plenty of baggies and snack packs on the weekend. Grab one for yourself.

Now is the time for those prepared nuts, whole-grains, and dried fruits to come to the rescue! Besides the health benefits, fresh fruits and vegetables are also portable and easy to pack and store. Not to mention, many are high-fiber so they will fill you up longer than most processed snacks.

4. Take 5 to 10 minutes in the morning to just stretch and breathe

If you start your day in a stressful way, you will probably feel stressed for the rest of the day. Make sure your morning starts with 5 minutes of silence. Stand up and stretch your body. Then bend over and touch the ground (or as far as you can easily stretch to begin with). Stretch again. Try to just feel your body and pay attention to your breathing. Now find a nice quiet spot and sit in a Butterfly Pose.   

Butterfly Pose

Just starting out…if you need to, sit on a soft blanket. Come to a seated position, spine extended and straight. Bring the soles of your feet to touch and gently grab your feet or toes with your hands. Bring heels as close to the pelvis as you comfortably can. Gently press thighs and knees down. Stay in position for 2-3 minutes. Next lean forward, gently folding forward, keeping back straight, chest and shoulders open. Stay in position for 1-3 minutes. 

Benefits: supports hip joint, thigh and pelvic flexibility; Stimulates abdominal organs and kidneys; improves circulation; Helps relieve mild depression, anxiety, and fatigue; Eases menstrual and menopausal discomfort and sciatica.

Contraindications: groin or knee injury. If you have high blood pressure you should not fold completely forward; take it only as far as you are comfortable and for just 1 minute—as long as your doctor says that you are okay to do so.

Half Lord of the Fish Pose

Sit down on your blanket or mat; stretch right leg out in front as pelvis is pressed firmly on the mat. Cross your left leg over your right leg, left foot resting flat on mat next to right knee. Bend right leg, bringing right heel next to left hip. Pull left knee towards your chest with your right hand. Exhale and twist your trunk towards the back with your head facing the back, and place left hand on mat next to left hip. Hold pose for about a minute and release. Eventually this pose can be held longer. 1-3 minutes. Repeat on other side.

Benefits: realigns, strengthens and stretches the spine, hips, neck and shoulders; massages organs, alleviates fatigue, back pain, sciatica and menstrual pain. therapeutic for asthma and infertility

Contraindications: pregnancy and menstruation due to the strong twist in abdomen. Heart, abdominal or brain surgeries. Peptic ulcer or hernia. Severe spinal problems (those with mild slipped disc can benefit but avoid if severe).

5. Write a daily gratitude list or purchase…In Good Spirit – Positive Intentions™ Cards

A daily gratitude list is really helpful to shift your focus and help you appreciate the simple things in life that so often we take for granted. It doesn’t have to be long, a few sentences will do. If you keep a gratitude journal, you can also look back on your previous entries whenever you need a little boost of happiness and motivation. In Good Spirit – Positive Intention™ Cards are a great help. Each thought provoking card will either lift your spirit, make you smile, help you focus on the positive aspects of life, or bring a sense of peace. If money is incredibly tight, you can make your own list of daily gratitude cards. Have each family write a few things they are grateful for.

6. Keep a tidy workspace

It is not always possible to have everything in your home or office in perfect order, but your desk, or workspace, should be neat and orderly.  It will make you more focused, relaxed and less overwhelmed.

Messy DeskClean Desk

Graphics by Sarah McHale

7. Use checklists
Help your child get into the habit of keeping a “to-do” list. Use checklists to post assignments, household chores, and reminders about what materials to bring to class. Your child should keep a small notebook dedicated to listing homework assignments. When each assignment is completed your child should put a strike through it. Seeing a homework assignment being crossed off the list will give him a sense of accomplishment.

8. Organize homework assignments
Before beginning a homework session, encourage your child to number assignments in the order in which they should be done. She should start with one that’s not too long or difficult, but should also avoid saving the longest or hardest assignments for last.

9. Designate a study space
Your child should study in the same place every night. This doesn’t have to be a bedroom, but it should be a quiet place with few distractions. All school supplies and materials should be nearby. For younger children you should be close by. You will be better able to monitor your child’s progress and encourage good study habits.

10. Set a designated study time
Your child should know that a certain time every day is reserved for studying and doing homework. The best time is usually not right after school — most children benefit from time to unwind first. Include your child in making this decision. Even if she doesn’t have homework, the reserved time should be used to review the day’s lessons, read for pleasure, or work on an upcoming project.
You can also make it a fun learning time with an educational game.

11. Conduct a weekly cleanup
Encourage your child to sort through book bags and notebooks on a weekly basis. Old tests and papers should be organized and kept in a separate file at home. Have your children do the same with their room. It doesn’t matter if they are teens. Preparing them for taking care of themselves is much better than having them feel overwhelmed by simple tasks when they move out on their own. Kids can easily learn to do laundry, clean their room, make beds, meal prep and help with yard chores.

12. Create a household schedule
Try to establish and stick to a regular dinnertime and a regular bedtime. This will help your child fall into a pattern at home. Children with a regular bedtime go to school well-rested. Try to limit television-watching and computer play to specific periods of time during the day.

13. Keep a family calendar of daily events
Keep a large, wall-sized calendar for the household, listing the family’s commitments, schedules for extracurricular activities, days off from school, and major events at home, school and work. Note dates when your child has big exams or due dates for projects. This will help family members keep track of each others activities and avoid scheduling conflicts. Another great way to help keep organized is to have each child have their own color on the calendar. It makes it easier for each child to keep track of responsibilities this way. Does this seem overwhelming just to manage the calendar? Have each child list his important projects, assignments, activities on the calendar (unless too young to do so).

 

14. Prepare for the day ahead
Before your child goes to bed, he should pack schoolwork and books in a book bag. The next day’s clothes should be laid out with shoes, socks, and accessories. This will cut down on morning confusion and allow your child to prepare quickly for the day ahead. It also sets a good precedence for the future. Again…you are preparing your child for eventually leaving the nest. You don’t want him to fall on his face. Plus the pressure is much less if everyone knows what is expected. Beginning young with responsibilities and a plan of action will ease the transition to adulthood.

15. Create Clean Space

Clear the clutter from your sight, your life and your mind. Just like the motto, “When it doubt, throw it out.” When you doubt you will ever use something again…don’t keep it in the attic or heaped in a pile in the garage. Donate, give away, sell at a garage sale…or heave ho into the recycle bins.

16. Keep track of awards, goals accomplished, and all work, sport and educational achievements made
Sometimes when bogged down in life with chores or a tough job, it is easy to forget how much we have accomplished. If you think you haven’t done much, remember that you were the fastest swimmer out of the sperm bank. You were already achieving goals before you were born. Whenever you hit a milestone – write it down! It will be very useful when you’re feeling tired by the end of the day and know that you still have several more hours of work before you can call it a day. Have your children do the same. They may think that they haven’t accomplished much, but when they see a list of even small accomplishments, it will make them realize that over time….they have achieved a lot.
  Even small accomplishments are something to be proud of. Always remember that even trying is an accomplishment. So many children feel that they have failed if they don’t get a great grade or first place. Let them know that the only failure is never trying anything.

17. Plan Vacations and Staycations
It is no secret that vacations can be costly.  However, with proper budget and planning, you can make vacations really special. There all all-inclusive packages on land and sea. If you plan far enough in advance you are much more likely to find the best deals.

For last-minute or budget conscious travelers who want a vacation experience without the associated stress or travel costs, staycations are an ideal alternative. Many families find that staycations provide the excitement of a full-on vacation without the expense and hassle of packing and traveling. Staycations are about exploring new adventures that are close to home that you ordinarily do not have time for. For the best staycation planning guide: check out your city or county calendar of upcoming events and attractions. It can be as simple as kayaking in the closest lake or ocean, a BBQ in the park, and then a music festival in the evening. If you want a fun packed day for the kids…get them all paddle-boarding during the day and a fun kid-friendly night at a family fun center. The next day find a fun camp for them and take yourselves to a day spa or a wine and food tour. Staycations are easily tailored to individuals, couples and families to optimize fun and minimize travel and lodging expense.

18. Do not neglect your social calendar
Just as important as it is to create great work space, learn to work together, and meal plan ahead, having social interactions with friends and peers is important for you and your child. It doesn’t need to be expensive. Picnics in the park with friends is great.

19. Acknowledge that you are a goal seeker and achiever

Even if you don’t realize it, the above mentioned “goal seeker and “achiever” is probably true. You may feel that you are overwhelmed, but you are reading this article. You are seeking solutions for your too terribly busy day and life. You are on the right path. You took the first step. Now continue making positive decisions that will help you achieve your goals. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you need to start everything on this list in a day. It took a while to realize you were in a rut. Now make a plan, set your goals, and feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that you are already heading in the right direction.

If you think of anything that you believe will help ease the stress of other busy parents and kids, please feel free to leave your comments or write to the author at elana@elanab.com.

Consult your doctor before using any health treatment, plan, or activity — including vitamins, herbal supplements and natural remedies. Also, tell your doctor if you have a serious medical condition or are taking any medications. The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended as a substitute for medical advice or counseling.


About the author: Elana B. is an award-winning writer, speaker, and internationally published author. As a writer and ghostwriter she has written hundreds of stories from shorts to books to screenplays.

A gifted storyteller, Elana B.’s new children’s series, Too Terribly Busy and the “Too Terribly” Series of books, teach in a fun, creative way some of the most important lessons in life. Through this entertaining series of books, children will learn morals, manners, how important it is to achieve goals, as well as conflict resolution. Sneak peek of the first story in the new series: TooTerriblyBusy-SP1.

More Elana B. and other related articles:

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30 Minutes of Physical Activity
The Feel Good Way to Better Health…Endorphins
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Natural Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure

Other great articles:
8 Benefits of Regular Exercise
Overwhelmed – 7 Things You Can Do to Calm Down
The Writer’s Life and How to Make Money as a Writer

 

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