September 23, 2020
by Mary VanRavenhorst, OTR/L, BCN

With school in full swing, some kiddos are doing distance learning, some are doing in-person and others a combination. Many parents are juggling several different school schedules this year. Take a deep breath. Here are some ways to control the chaos.   

  • Sundays: Set aside time on Sunday night to organize the plan for the upcoming week.  This is a great time to communicate to your family any changes in routine like the start of dance class or upcoming dentist appointments.  Likewise, it is a great time to reflect on the previous week to make any modifications that may be needed.  Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
  • Goals: Set small goals for your family and remember to celebrate the successes!  It’s easy to get stuck on what made the week challenging.  Make sure to reflect on what parts of the week went smoothly.  Communicate to your family your observations of what went well.  They may be likely to repeat the positive actions if they are given credit for it.  
  • Homework: Identify the method of homework organization that works for you and your family.  Some ideas may include a large white board or a calendar system. It may be best to go digital and use an organization app. 

Organization Apps  

There are lots of great and FREE apps to help keep you and your family on schedule. Organization apps can be synced and used across devices, phones and laptops by all family members. Here are some of my favorites.  

  • Cozi has a scheduling system that is designed with family scheduling in mind.  Since each family member can be designated with a different color it is easy to see the week at a glance and make sure that everyone is accounted for.  Syncing devices is simple, and everyone can have access to the schedule. 
  • Remember the Milk is a great list-making app to help coordinate home, personal, and work related tasks.  Lists can be shared between devices and you can break tasks down to what is needed today.
  • Todoist and Evernote  can help you assist your children in setting tasks and deadlines. Tasks can be organized into school, home and work. Reminder alarms can be set. 

Whichever organizational system you choose consider developing a color coding system for each family member to quickly identify that each family member is accounted for.

For many children and adults, knowing what to expect can be really helpful. I hope these tips and organizational tools make your family life a little less stressful.

Blog author Mary VanRavenhorst, OTR/L, BC, is an occupational therapist who specializes in Pediatric Occupational Therapy at Mankato Clinic.