Your Uncluttered 5-Step Pathway to Truly Sane Evenings

calm, time management, stress reductionThe toughest part of the day is the often those frantic early evening hours when there are mouths to feed, homework to do, and cranky kids to handle. 

The trick is to streamline your to-do’s so you can feel calmer and focus on what counts. Here’s how:

1) Ease Into the Evening

Instead of walking in the door after work or errands and immediately launching into another chore, allow time and space to downshift into evening mode.  Creating a calming ambiance, by turning off the TV and playing soothing classical, jazz, or instrumental music, can instantly reset the emotional tone of the house.

2) Create a Dinner System

Rushing to get dinner on the table is a major source of evening mayhem, but a little bit of preplanning can help you power through with a minimum of stress.  Use weekends to chart out your nightly dinners, grocery shop, and even preassemble parts of a meal when possible.

3) Keep the Kids Busy

All the shortcuts in the world won’t help if you’re constantly being interrupted, so a little creativity may be needed to get the kids out from underfoot.  Make the time you cook be about you and let your older kids know that you are there only to be asked a very important question.  For younger children, it might be necessary to involve them in the meal preparation or to put on an appropriate DVD.

4) Plan Homework Time

After the kids have had a healthy snack and 30 minutes down-time after school, they should begin their homework so that it is completed before dinner.

5) Share the Work ... and a Break

Dividing tasks between you and your partner can make family time more serene for both of you. Be flexible with this.  If your partner is stressed when walking in the house, offer a later-in-the-evening task, such as washing dishes or packing lunches for the next day.

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