❑ Establish a routine.
Routines are all about the day to day. From teeth brushing to waiting for the bus to doing homework, make sure that the to-do’s of the day are factored into a routine schedule. Within the daily routine, schedule all of the extras – games, practice, PTA – as they pop up. Consider getting the kids together and creating a colorful poster of the family’s daily routine. Hang it somewhere where everyone can see it and don’t forget to include a space for sticky notes or a dry erase board where the “extras” are listed. Review your schedule each night at dinner so that everyone can prepare before bedtime for the new day ahead.

❑ Create systems that work.
Mom keeps track of everyone’s calendar – so use a system that will work for the whole family. Use a digital calendar like Google Calendar to invite multiple members, create several different calendars, schedule reminders and print your daily schedule. Use an “old fashioned” large, paper calendar that the whole family consults daily and put a dry erase board next to it for daily notes. No matter what system you choose, the key is to create one that you and your family actually use.

❑ Organize for how you live, not how you want to live.
It would be great to have every item in the proper place, but is that your real life? If backpacks pile up next to the door, put some hooks or a basket nearby to catch them where they fall. If your car is filled with athletic gear, use a bin stashed in the trunk where gloves, balls, and cleats are kept until next practice. Observe the natural rhythms of your schedule, and institute organization solutions that accommodate your norm instead of enforcing solutions that are not working. Check out our ideas for creating a “Drop Zone” for your home.

❑ Get all hands on deck.
Tap all of your resources – dad, grandmother, aunts, other mothers – to help accomplish tasks that need to be done. From carpooling to packing lunches, delegate your to do list and keep careful track of who is doing what using your systems and be sure every family member is on the same page. The kids should be a big part of helping out! Assign age-appropriate tasks to each child and set up a rewards system to encourage completion.

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