Kids Are Off to School – Get Your Sanity Back

Kids Are Off to School – Get Your Sanity Back

Kids Are Off to School – Get Your Sanity Back - PreparaMom

Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, we all face similar challenges each and every day. 

Ultimately, all moms have the same goal — to ensure our kids are safe by creating an optimal learning and growing environment as best we can. It can seem crushing at times. Between juggling school work, extra-curricular activities, household chores, and events with family and friends, it feels like every single minute of the day is booked up. 

That doesn’t leave room for personal time for yourself. We do our best, but most days it all boils down to being able to do whatever we can to survive. Even though a lot of us are glad when the kids go back to school in the fall, that’s when the real business of being a mom kicks into high gear with all of the activities. 

 

So, how’s a mom to keep from losing her sanity when school starts back? 

One of the best ways you can gain order in your house is to set routines early. I know that a lot of people hate routines and talk about how stifling they are. Trust me when I say that routines will be your saving grace and will help you keep your sanity most days. 

And the earlier you can do this, the better off you will be. Sure, there will be a lot of days when the routine may be thrown off track. Add flexibility to your routine as deviations in routines can cause upset otherwise. You need to be able to roll with the changes. Kids Are Off to School - PreparaMom

 

Why have a routine in the first place? 

Because it will be that pattern of stability you can go back to when you need it. If the routine is already ingrained, it will be a lot easier to adhere to overall.

One of the biggest issues with scheduling time is from sports or extra-curricular activities. As parents who did not have these opportunities growing up, we work very hard to make sure our kids have the chance to take part in them. As they grow up, these activities allow them to explore what’s around them so they can figure out for themselves what they do and don’t enjoy.

 

Providing Stable Routines Help Children Grow in Their Independence

Besides expanding the boundaries of their world to include school, sports, and clubs, this is also the time when they are really settling into their own opinions and personalities. They’re not only looking outwardly, but also inwardly to assert their independence. Establishing a stable routine helps children confidently begin the process of taking on and increasing responsibilities.

It’s important to establish rules, boundaries, responsibilities, and discuss good and bad choices early on. We do this with the understanding they’ll take these life lessons to heart later on when their decisions will have greater consequences. We let them do as much for themselves as possible. I’m a firm believer in promoting their independence as a life skill so they don’t need to rely on others as they get older. 

Of course, things aren’t always going to be perfect because nothing goes as planned every single day. Some days will be better than others, but one thing is certain—different challenges will come and go. All that we can really do if we want to be successful parents is to give our kids tools so they can tackle the challenges that will come their way in the next phase of their lives.

 

Be Prepared for Accidents!

 

Enjoy knowing that no matter what happens at the park or playing ball – you know EXACTLY where your first aid kit supplies are. Designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

How I Keep Organization in My House with Kids

How I Keep Organization in My House with Kids

How I Keep Organization in My House with Kids - PreparaMom

Some of us parents were born with serious Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that we have to put on hold when it comes to raising kids. 

I have no idea how or exactly when I became so “anal” about having an organized home, but I am a firm believer that everything HAS to be in its given place. And I don’t mean that it just has to be in its given place. Everything that comes into the house HAS to have a designated “home.” If for some reason it doesn’t, it becomes an eyesore for me and it will bug me until it does find a proper place.

 

My Organization Begins when Anything Is Brought into the Home

 

I read a book about 4 to 5 years ago that gave me a great motto for living as someone who craves organization: “Like with like. One home for everything.” (You’re going to have to forgive me, but right now the title of the book totally escapes me, but I have never forgotten the concept.) Over the years, I’ve tried to implement this philosophy in pieces, but now I noted that I’m more “intense” about it (for lack of a better term). 

Basically, instead of just leaving stuff randomly placed anywhere and everywhere, identify a home for it. It can be a corner of the house, a drawer, a closet, a cabinet or even an entire room. Just designate that as the “official area” for whatever you’re adding to your household. 

 

Everything Has A Home Within the Home 

 

When you do this, the most important thing for you to remember is that everyone in the house must know where the homes are and what goes there. This way, you don’t have to have those monotonous conversations about putting things back where they belong. You need total buy-in on this for it to work. 

When my kids or my husband bring something home with them, I’m always on their case about where that item will live. They need to know exactly where to go to when they need that item and they need to know where to put it back when they’re finished.

 

My Office Supplies Provides a Great Example

 

So, let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. We now have dedicated office cabinets where nothing but office type supplies live. 

When I say “like with like,” I mean that all the writing tools, paper, binders, rulers, and note pads go here. Items of similar categories that make sense go together. And there’s only one home for it. So now there are no more questions of “Where’s a pen” or “Where’s this” or Where’s that”. Instead, my family knows if they need an office supply item, look in the “office cabinet/drawer” and be sure to put it back when they’re done.

Another great grouping that I know would help lots of people is my home for all things electronic. This is where we put everything like wires, cables, batteries, spare chargers, or anything else that is gadget related. (Wires are one of my pet peeves. If they are everywhere, it drives me nuts!)

This system has helped me to get my house organized and stay that way. Studies now prove what I thought about organization! Keeping your home organized relieves stress. Who can’t use a little less stress in their life?

 

Be Organized AND Prepared for Accidents!

 

Enjoy knowing that no matter what happens at the park or playing ball – you know EXACTLY where your first aid kit supplies are. Designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

How to Train Your Kids to Do Their Own Laundry

How to Train Your Kids to Do Their Own Laundry

How to Train Your Kids to Do Their Own Laundry - PreparaMom

Part of being a good parent is teaching your kids to be self-sufficient and responsible. And part of that means doing your own laundry. Getting my kids to do their own laundry has been a huge time saver for us! The earlier you can get this routine implemented with your own kids, the easier it will be for you and your family.

Don’t Push Your Kids – But Don’t Wait Too Long Either!

Please remember, every child is different and develops at a different pace. But that being said, overall, kids are more capable of doing things on their own than we give them credit for. (Let’s face it—if they can operate a smart phone or video game system, they can do their own laundry!) 

The problem is that we either subconsciously don’t want them to be independent or we think that it will just be quicker and easier if we do it ourselves instead of taking the time to teach them how to do it.How to Train Your Kids to Do Their Own Laundry - PreparaMom

The Best Way to Teach Laundry Responsibility To Your Kids

The best way to do all of this is to introduce laundry to them in phases. When they’re younger, get them involved in the laundry process with you. Let them see you sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting the clothes away. Be sure to explain what you’re doing as you go so they can understand it.

Teach Kids in Phases All the Parts of Laundering

As your kids get older, you can let them join you in doing different parts of the laundry. This can include simple tasks like sorting their own clothes out into a pile to fold or have them fold something simple with you like shorts or small towels. 

The idea is that eventually, over time, they will become used to all the different processes and (with a little supervision in the beginning) you can let them do each part of the laundry process on their own.

The phases my kids went through when they were learning to do laundry:

  • Phase 1 — Put their folded clothes away
  • Phase 2 — Fold their own clothes + Phase 1
  • Phase 3 — Take their clothes out of the dryer + Phase 2 + Phase 1
  • Phase 4 — Take their clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
  • Phase 5 — Put their dirty clothes into the washer + Phased 4 + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
  • Phase 6 — Put detergent and fabric softener in and start the washing machine + Phase 5 + Phase 4 + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1

A Little Investment of Time, Pays Off Eventually

I think I started my kids on this process when they were 5 and 7, although I definitely could have involved them in it a lot earlier. Now they are 8 and 10 and they’re doing their entire laundry on their own. (Up until last week, my oldest was taking care of measuring out the detergent. But now, the 8-year-old wants to learn how to pour out the detergent, so he’s getting there!)

It is SOOOOO worth it to take that extra time and effort to train the kids on these processes. I know sometimes it’s much quicker to just do it yourself. But in the long run, your kids will learn how to be more self-sufficient and you won’t regret the decision to teach them when they are young.

Be Prepared All the Time!

At the park or playing ball – be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Figure Out How to Afford a Housecleaner and Hire That Person!

Figure Out How to Afford a Housecleaner and Hire That Person!

Figure Out How to Afford a Housecleaner and Hire That Person! - PreparaMom

See if this sounds familiar: You spend an entire week working and getting the kids off to school and extracurriculars. But then you get to the weekend and your bonding time with your family gets spent with—wait for it—housecleaning!

At one time, I was of the mindset that I would spend my time cleaning our house because I felt really bad about having someone else do it. After all, I’m very well capable of doing my own housework, so why should I pay someone else to handle it for me?

But then, I realized that I was starting to feel resentful. My family and I would spend almost a full day on the weekend cleaning the house. Then, we barely had time to go out and do things before the weekend was over. It felt like I was trapped in a cycle of work, clean, crash, and then realize the weekend was done and it was time to start all over.

So, I figured if I can take back a whole day and spend it with family, it would be totally worth it to let someone else take care of the cleaning.

 

So, how was I able to find someone to clean my house and not break my budget?

 

By reallocating some funds. According to Thumbtack, a 3-bedroom house that’s about 2000 square feet costs (on average) between $150 and $250 to clean. If we just take the flat average of $200 as my goal, that means I’ve got to reapportion that much money for the housecleaning.

 

What did I cut in my budget for a housecleaner?

 

  1. Starbucks — The average venti latte at Starbucks is going to run you around $5 a pop with tax. If you’re used to getting one each day on the way to work, you’re spending $25 a week or about $100 a month on (admittedly great, but overpriced) coffee. Cut out your Starbucks fix and you’re half-way there.

 

  1. Eating Out — If you’ve got a family of four with outside activities, you know it’s just too easy and convenient to stop off and grab takeout rather than cook a meal. According to one survey, the average family of 4 eats out 18 meals a month and spends about $230 on those meals.  Put that with the Starbucks and you’ve got $330 saved so far for your housekeeping goals.

 

  1. Shopping for “stuff” — This one can be tough, but you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re at the store for some home essentials, you have a set list of items to buy, and then you get sidetracked looking at the cutest sandals you’ve ever seen or the most aromatic scented candle you’ve ever smelt. So, you buy on impulse. Even if you were to cut back to the tune of $70 a month, when you put it with the dining out and Starbucks cut-backs, you’ve now saved about $400 for the month. That translates to two cleaning sessions with a professional housekeeper doing a deep cleaning of your home.

 

Your Cutbacks May Look Very Different Than Mine

 

While I shared with you what we did to get the money to afford housecleaning services, this is by no means the ONLY ways to find the money. The idea I want to share with you is that you look at what you’re currently spending. Be mindful and creative with where you cut back on your budget because we do spend way more than we think we do!

Figure Out How to Afford a Housecleaner and Hire That Person! - PreparaMom

Determine What’s Important and Reflect That In Your Budget

 

At the end of the day, this was a win-win situation for me. I’m helping support the local cleaning business owners while they help me get back my valuable time with my family. Plus, it helps me keep my sanity since I absolutely hate cleaning. And my husband is 100% on board with this too—after all, happy wife, happy life!

 

Budget to Be Prepared!

 

Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Be prepared, and stay in budget, with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

6 Easy Laundry Hacks

6 Easy Laundry Hacks

6 Easy Laundry Hacks - PreparaMom

It may not be the most hated chore in the household (that’s reserved for that pile of dirty dishes in the sink), but laundry can be a pain in the neck.

It’s not the actual washing and drying that’s difficult—it’s the folding and putting away that can drive you crazy, especially if you’re a parent with lots of little ones causing the amount of laundry to multiply exponentially.

If you’re searching for a way to make this a little easier on you, give these laundry hacks a try:

(Please note: we do not make any money off the links below. We’re simply wanting to make your life easier by providing links if you’re interested.)

 

1.     Get a Flip Fold

If you watch The Big Bang Theory, you’ve probably seen Sheldon folding his clothes with one of these. It’s a clothes folder that you place a shirt on and with three quick flips it is folded perfectly and ready to go out on display at a clothes store.

While it’s not ideal for all clothes, this can save time and make your clothes stack up nicer. Plus, kids love it because it looks like fun and they will be more likely to join in and help.

 

2.     Keep All Your Socks Together

If you’ve done laundry for an entire family, then you know about the mystery sock. That’s the one lone sock that turns up at the end of a laundry session that doesn’t have a mate, no matter how hard you look.

Instead of losing a single sock every washing, invest in a mesh laundry bag. This way, you put all of the socks in the bag, wash them in the bag, and they’re all still together when you take them out at the end.

As an added bonus, the bag can double as a travel case for organizing your clothes on vacation!Laundry Hacks for prepared parents

 

3.     Separate Your Clothes by Person

I’m sure you’re used to sorting your laundry by color. But if possible, also sort it according to who they belong to. That way, when you get your clothes out of the dryer, you don’t have to do a massive sorting session to see who they belong to.

If that’s not practical in your household, at least consider washing the kids’ clothes separately from the adult’s. That way, when the clothes are finished, you can have your kids help you put up their clothes, saving you sorting time.

 

4.     Pre-Sorted Hampers

If you have the room, invest in a few different clothes hampers and label them: Colors, Lights, Delicates, etc. Whatever system may work for you and your family’s needs is best. But make sure you put the clothes in the right bin and then just toss them in without having to sort them.

 

5.     Combine Laundry with Something You Like Doing

Laundry isn’t just washing, drying, folding, and putting up. It also involves a tedious task—ironing. But if you find yourself dreading this, then try to liven it up.

Pop on your headphones and listen to an audiobook or an upbeat playlist from Spotify. Whatever you can do to take your mind off the task at hand will help you get through the chore as pain-free as possible.

 

6.     Get Everyone Involved

It may sound goofy but try turning laundry day into a party. Put on some music that everyone will enjoy and dance around a bit as you all put away your own clothes. If you have young kids, you may need to help them a little, but it can still go quicker, or at least it will feel that way.

 

Laundry hacks can help you gain time

Laundry doesn’t have to be the bane of your existence. As with any chore, it’s all about finding the right mindset and a way to get organized and shave off some time here and there.

Stay Prepared for Life’s Accidents

Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

How to Sneak in Reading Time

How to Sneak in Reading Time

How to Sneak in Reading Time with your Kids

Even before our kids are born, we start imagining just how much they can accomplish and how we want to help them get there. One of the biggest “legs up” you can give your children is with daily reading.

Don’t believe me? A recent educational survey showed that if your child reads 20 minutes a day, they will be exposed to almost 2 million words by sixth grade and will score better than 90% of his or her classmates on standardized tests.

Reading should be organic and fluid, so it’s important to work in every opportunity to get a little reading time in. Here’s how you can do just that:

Tips to Prepare for Reading Time

Reading doesn’t have to be from a book

Many people think 20 minutes of daily reading as plopping your child down with a copy of the Cat in the Hat. But that isn’t the only way to get in reading time.

When you’re riding around town, have your child sound out the words on street signs, banners, and advertisements. This will go slowly at first, so be sure to help them out. But as your child builds fluency, you can go faster expecting them to read more and more as you drive.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of comic books to attract hesitant readers. Educators have recently discovered that graphic novels can be a great way of promoting reading, even in the upper grades.

On a final note, television can be a good way to sneak in reading time. Just turn off the volume and turn on the close captioning and they can read along with the TV show (and some of those cartoon shows are a lot less annoying with the sound off).

Get audiobooks and apps

As an early reader, it’s important for your child to hear stories read aloud as they read along with the book. The most obvious form of this is when you sit down with your child at night to read a bedtime story.

But there are other ways for you to get this time in. Some adults may have fond memories of reading along with storybooks and audio tapes as a child.

Now, you can access many of these from sources like Audible. The energetic narrators will engage your child. For younger children, you can help them with word acquisition and phonics. Apps are available, such as Homer and Reading Magic, which can do just that. Finally, check out your local library and look for audio reading kits and books on CD.

Library play date

Speaking of the library, it’s important that you introduce your child to this wonderful place so it can become a fixture in their lives. Take your child to the library for a play date and let them explore the books. Pick one out they would like to take home for the week.

A good rule of thumb is to let your child pick one for themselves while you pick one for him or her based on your preferences. Be sure to get a book for yourself. Seeing that you value reading in your own life is a great way to encourage reading.

While you’re at the library, check out the schedule of activities and be sure to stop by regularly for story time—another great way to sneak in some reading.

Prepare to enjoy the benefits of your child reading

If reading becomes a chore, then your plan to help your child is going to backfire and they will see reading as work. Take time to subtly work in the reading without them realizing it and you have a chance to give them an advantage in today’s highly competitive world.

Be Prepared for More than Reading

Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.