After putting shot after shot powerfully into the net or deep behind the back line during a tennis lesson, my instructor stopped feeding me balls and said, “Terry, what you need to be thinking is- this is hard. When faced with a center court approach shot, just get the ball back over, it’s no time for a winner.”
The end-of-summer/ school year transition is upon us. Just as we reached those more relaxed days of summer, back-to-school preparation and seasonal and activity change is here. What you should be thinking is- this is hard. Once you acknowledge that this is a tough time of year you can better prepare.
First acknowledge what is hard: extra time needed for shopping, preparing kids rooms, wardrobes and supplies, clutter created by incoming purchases, the feeling of no true end or beginning, forms to fill out…all while keeping the kids entertained!
Then create a plan:
- Establish an artificial last day of summer with its’ own rituals. Perhaps take the kids out for the last Slurpee- of – summer during the day and have the last margarita- of- summer that night.
- Schedule appointments with yourself and your kids to manage back to school tasks after “summer” is over. Schedule room, clothing and supply organization, as well as shopping and appointments.
- Entertain kids by delegating tasks to them. It’s ok for kids to be bored at the end of summer, but even better for them to be helpful. Have them create a shopping links list for you. Teach them organization skills while including them in preparations.
- Reduce clutter by creating seasonal homes for transitional items. Between seasons is when you have the maximum amount of items around the home. This is the amount of items to have established homes for. Incoming, outgoing and seasonal items should all have their own containers in their own zones.
In tennis, the over-all goal is to win by getting more points than your opponent. Simply reacting to a returned ball reduces your chance of success. But sometimes you just have to get the ball back over the net, so you can evaluate, plan and take action later in the game. Applying these same strategies to home and family care will allow you to wind down summer and prepare for the school year to come.