Time Management = Team Work

October 2, 2009 by  
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Sports from childhood. Football (soccer) shown...
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Another post in our Time Management Series:

Families these days can be busy. It may seem there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things your family wants to do. If this is the case with your family, it might help to know that time management equals team work.

To be sure everyone is able to meet the obligations they have, it’s important that the family work together rather than having the parents doing the majority of the work. There’s an old Scottish proverb that says “Many hands make light work because it is but little to everyone.” This means everyone in the family needs to chip in to get necessary household chores done so everyone can benefit.

Here are some other time management ideas to consider when your day is hurried from the time you get up until it’s time to go to bed.

* Make a list of everything your family does on a regular basis (sports practices, band practices, scouting, meetings, religious observances if applicable, volunteering, etc.).

* Transfer those activities onto a master calendar so you can see how busy your schedule is.

* Prioritize which activities are most important and let go of some that may not be as important. Activities that are most important are those things that are non-negotiable: sleeping, working, school, travel time to and from. Next in priority are the things you have to do: eating, taking care of pets, self-care, and chores. Finally, think about the things you’d like to do.

* Remember not to schedule something every minute of the day. This is over scheduling and could ultimately result in family members being burned out to the point of exhaustion. You may want to reserve one day a week for your family to rest and recuperate from the past week before heading full-speed ahead into the next.

Now that you know what your priorities are, you’ll be better equipped to ensure everyone knows what’s expected of them and when. Don’t expect to have the entire time management system worked out and running smoothly right from the start. It will take practice until the family is comfortable working together so it might be best to keep expectations low.

Teaching your children to become responsible adults, including learning how to do household chores, may not be the easiest thing you do. However, you’re training them to take care of their own belongings, respect and care for the belongings of others, and support one another. You want them to learn to put others ahead of themselves and to be able to work together for the good of the entire family.

Create a chore chart which shows what everyone is expected to do to help out. If a family chore chart is too confusing, create a chart for each person in the family or prepare “to do” lists for each person. Having these physical charts allow each one to know what to do and ensures that everyone is pitching in.

Remind everyone that the quicker you get done with what needs to be done, the sooner you’ll be able to get to each activity so each person can start enjoying their time. When it comes to family dynamics and getting to places on time, time management equals team work, and vice versa.

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The Importance of Striking a Fair Balance

September 28, 2009 by  
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FORT WORTH - APRIL 29:  Members of the Arlingt...
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Depending upon the age of your children, they may be involved in a myriad of activities. You know the importance of striking a fair balance between allowing children to be involved in activities and having time for the family to spend together. Unfortunately, the children may not agree with your definition of “fair.”

Perhaps your older children are interested in a number of activities. They may want to be involved in baseball, football, soccer, martial arts, gymnastics, softball, basketball, or ice skating. Then there’s band, dance, musical instrument lessons, or voice lessons they’re interested in. Throw in scouting or volunteering and the number of possible ways to be away from home increases even more.

It’s important to make sure your kids aren’t involved in too many activities. Children, like adults, only have 24 hours in each day. They have to attend school and sleep at least eight hours a night. This leaves eight hours for eating, doing chores, doing homework, spending time with family, and then extracurricular activities.

You can choose to limit each child to one extracurricular activity per season. If your child is athletic you might allow them to play two sports each school year as long as they don’t coincide with one another. Do you have a music lover? Allow them to play in the band, but you could ask them to wait until summer to take individual lessons.

How do you maintain balance among the different family members? While you may not favor one child over the other, it may seem that way to your children. Try to spend quality time alone with each child at some point during the month. In fact, you may want to plan a special “date” with each child. This will enable them to have undivided time with you or your partner and squelch any complaints about you not spending time with them.

You’ll also want to be sure you to spend quality time with your partner so they don’t feel left out. Planning a weekly or bi-weekly date night is important for maintaining your relationship. Instead of spending your time talking about the children, take the opportunity to dream about your future.

While you’re spending time with others in the family, don’t forget to take care of yourself. You can’t be expected to be able to meet others’ needs if you’re overly stressed or burned out. A trip to a day spa which will pamper you may be just what you need to rejuvenate.

So, you’ve limited the number of activities each person in the family is allowed to participate in. You are also spending time with each child to ensure they feel loved. Now it’s time to keep all of the activities from cutting into the family’s free time, but what can you do to accomplish this? One thing you might consider is actually scheduling activities for the entire family to do together.

Talk about activities that everyone in the family would enjoy. This could be anything from visiting a museum, going fishing, or watching the latest movie. If your children range in age, you may find it difficult to find activities everyone will enjoy. In this case, switch up the types of activities you choose so everyone has at least one or two activities they enjoy.

Keeping your family running smoothly isn’t easy when each person is running in and out of the house to different activities. You know the importance of striking a fair balance between outside activities and family time – using some of these ideas may help create the balance you seek.

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Teach your Child to Be a Good Sport

September 8, 2009 by  
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It is good sportsmanship to shake hands with y...
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Children learn what they see modeled before them. When it comes to being a good sport, are you demonstrating how to be one? You may not have thought about how to teach your child to be a good sport, but it may be something to consider – especially if you think they’ll want to play organized sports.

Sportsmanship can be defined as the way you conduct yourself suitably to all participants in sports. Included in this idea is playing fair, striving to do one’s best, and losing gracefully. If these are qualities parents want their children to display, why is it there have been newscasts from around the world of parents acting just the opposite?

Your children may wonder why good sportsmanship is important. You may be wondering how to instill good sportsmanship in your children from an early age so it will be evident as they get older and need it.

Most children instinctively want to win and considered to be the best at everything. Unfortunately, the desire to win may cause some children to display poor sportsmanship rather than good. You might want to use some of these tips to help your child learn how to be a good sport.

When children are preschoolers their parents may have a tendency to let their children win. Although this is usually done from a parent’s love for the child, it can give them the impression that they can win at any game because they won against their parents. The better choice might be to teach your child how to play a game and then “let the chips fall as they may.” They might actually learn more about the game, and being a good sport, by losing at an early age.

If they complain and whine about not winning, let them know how much practice it took for you to become good at the game. You could also offer to play with them whenever they like, as long as you’re not in the middle of something else, so they can get better at the game and possibly beat you in the future.

Model good sportsmanship while watching sports on TV or in person. Cheer for your team, of course, but make positive comments about the opposing team. Say something about the good defense or how well the team works together. This teaches your child to enjoy the game, be a fan of one team, but respect the players on the other team.

Encourage your child and praise them when they show good sportsmanship, no matter what the game. If they’re not quite the good sport, acknowledge and address the negative behavior. Good sports play fair and follow the rules. Children need to understand the difference between being a good sport or a bad sport; your praise for positive behavior will reinforce that knowledge and entice them to choose the higher ground.

As a parent, you want your children to play fair. When you teach your child to be a good sport, remember they learn a great deal by watching you. If you’re a good sport, your children will be more likely to follow suit.

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Outdoor Adventures – great online resource

August 17, 2009 by  
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Julia's first family bike ride!!
Image by s_mestdagh via Flickr

We found a great online resource (thanks to Lynette of Blogging Starter Pack) for kids.

REI online has a Passport To Adventure page complete with a printable Adventure Journal, interactive map to find family friendly places for bike riding and hiking and prizes for participating.

Check it out at REI’s Passport to Adventure page here. Enjoy!

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