BACK TO SCHOOL:<br />
A Parents' Survival Guide

The goal here is not to work harder, but smarter.

"Stop!" "Get off of me!" "Stop staring at me!" "Moooooooooooooooom!"

As you take a deep breath before addressing the everyday frustration that is sibling rivalry, you are secretly excited because school is right around the corner. This means less refereeing at home and more time to work on household projects that you have conveniently put off during summer vacation.  Yes parents, back to school is a time for you!  A time for you to refocus, get organized and prioritize.  Here are some steps to get back into the swing of things and help create an environment your family will thrive in!



Envision: Get in a quiet place and envision how you want things to be.  Whether it is before the kids wake up or when everyone is in the bed sound asleep, take this time to reconnect and find your inner peace.  When you are still and quiet this will allow you to see what you want in your life and what is best for your family will become clearer.  This is the beginning of creating the life that you want so your household runs efficiently and effortlessly.



Get Organize: Now is the time to de-clutter.  Too much clutter can become stressful in any relationship. This is a time when you weed out what you DON'T need, from the food in your refrigerator to the clothes in your closet.  If you haven't worn that suit in five years, it’s probably time to let it go. Begin with one room at a time. Get rid of old clothes, old shoes and things you just don't need or use.  Make one bag for trash and one bag for give away.  Once you have mastered these simple steps to organization, share it with your family so they know how to maintain it. This will help not only de-clutter but de-stress your household.  Everything will have its place and there will be a place for everything.



Prioritize:  The start of the academic year is a great time to set schedules.  Don't let the overactive mom or dad in your circle influence you to put your kid in 10,000 activities. Odds are they running on adrenaline from constantly driving their kids cross town and both parent and child will be burnt out before December. Talk with your kids, find out what they really want to do as far as activities are concerned.  What have you observed in the past?  What do they enjoy and what do they dread?  Focus on what will benefit them and go for it and with it.  Have multiple children?  Have each child pick one thing.  Yes, it's okay for Bobby not to do soccer and flag football and basketball. They will get more out of doing the sport or activity they love, then by seeing just how many they can do at once.  Extracurricular activities are about quality, not quantity. 



Take Care of You:  All summer you have been shuffling kids to their doctors appointments, camp activities, beach days, etc.  Now is the time for you to make your doctors appointments! That annual physical, gyno visit (for the moms) and dental check up are vital to living a healthy life.  Remember: if you don't take care of you, you can't take care of others. Take a full spa day if you can (yes, Dad, you too!) Manis and Pedis are also great if you can't do a whole big package, as is getting a fresh hair cut or taking a trip to the barber.

The goal here is not to work harder, but smarter.  Use these steps to get back to nourishing you and creating a peaceful environment your family can thrive in. Because, "Peace, like charity, begins at home." -Franklin D. Roosevelt





Audrey Griffin is a wife, mother of four, inspiring educator and parenting lifestyle consultant. Visit her website, check her out on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.