Ah, Fall. It’s that wonderful time of year when the heat of the summer starts to abate and the kids head back to school. Until recently it was my favorite time of year. In years past I would spend lots of time planning my fall menus and fun activities to do in the weekend. Nowadays it seems like I am mostly planning a strategy to survive. With tutors, sports and homework – every spare moment from the time school lets out to the time everyone goes to bed is packed to the gills.
We are all really busy these days. When I look at the activities that my family spends our time on – we have committed to each one for a good reason:
- Tutoring – my son is struggling to keep up with the intense expectations in school and he needs some more tools to help him cope.
- Sports – physical activity is very important and gym class 1x per week isn’t enough to build a healthy body
- Homework – this is the activity I would like to remove, but that doesn’t seem to be an option. In my opinion, they only thing we should be working on in the evening is reading.
However, a lack of spare time doesn’t change the fact that “you are what you eat”. In order to thrive in such a hectic environment, taking to time to eat healthful meals as a family is more important than ever. Every problem has a solution, and this is no exception. As parents, we all want to tuck our kids in at night feeling good about the environment we have provided for them. Providing a nurturing environment includes feeding them well-balanced meals at the family table.
We can’t be in two, three or four places at once. We can’t be in the kitchen preparing dinner while we are attending back to school night or soccer practice. So what’s a mom to do?
The answer is…develop a set of routines and habits that make it easier to get everything done. The best approach here is to focus on repetition and practice. Develop a dinner time routine that will set yourself up for success tonight and the next day. Be sure to take is slow, though. Make small changes, but do them everyday so that they become automatic.
For starters, try this: When you are cleaning up the kitchen tonight before going to bed, take 15 minutes to set yourself up for tomorrow. Look into your pantry and make a decision right now about what you are going to cook for dinner. Then get out the pots, utensils and pantry items that you will need and set them out. Now, take a deep breath and enjoy the rest of your evening, knowing tomorrow will be just a little bit easier.