The end of the summer holidays usually means frantic shopping, sulking children and grumpy parents. It doesn’t have to be that way though – there is another way to settle back into the school routine! Read on to see our top 4 tips to turn last minute mayhem into blissful efficiency…
1. Establish a Routine
One of the hardest adjustments after the long summer break is getting the kids back into the routine of early nights, early mornings, homework time etc. The same goes for the parents. You have to fit in school runs, making packed lunches, working around after-school clubs and whatever else your youngsters are up to. Well getting organised is key to making the transition as smooth as possible.
Mind Map out your family’s weekly routine and put it up somewhere everyone can see. As a Mind Map is very visual, it is the easiest way to display your weekly routine making it very clear for the whole family to see what everyone has to do. Its radiant structure means you can add on new items without having to start again from scratch too. Get your children to create the Mind Map with you – it’s a fun activity that will not only make them feel involved in the decisions made, but also help drill it into their memory. A stress-free way for everyone to buy into the new routine!
2. Create a Central Calendar
The beginning of a school year doesn’t just mean remembering term dates and holidays. As a family, it’s guaranteed that you are going to have an awful lot more than that going on over the year. To avoid the inevitable clashes and stomach lurching moments when you realise you were supposed to have made a costume for your son’s stage debut tomorrow night, keep it all in one place, in one big colourful calendar.
Include the school term dates, deadlines, exams, any key events such as parents’ evenings and school trips. Also add on any family activities, such as holidays, doctor’s appointments or parties. Everyone in the family should be represented on the calendar, so to keep it clear, give everyone a colour and use a code to show who is involved in what key dates and events. You could even use stickers to show repeat activities.
Let your children add on their own activities in their chosen colours to get them interested and following the calendar – and more than likely sounding the alarm when they can see something important to them is coming up.
3. Plan Meals Ahead
Back to school means back to making packed lunches the night before for most parents. As well as thinking about breakfast and dinner, you also have to plan lunches in advance. Creating nutritious, tasty meals every day can be a challenge for even the most gifted culinary wizards. As with most things, planning in advance is the only way forward.
Start by making a Mind Map of all the foods everyone in the family likes. Perhaps start it yourself, adding lots of healthy options and categorising them into the different food groups. Then get the rest of the family to take a look, adding anything else they like that isn’t already on there, and feeding back on what they do or don’t like. Using the icons in iMindMap can be an easy way to do this, with crosses and ticks, or happy and sad faces.
Once complete, you can use this map as your basis for planning meals every week. Every Sunday you can sit down and quickly pull together options from the different food groups to create healthy, well balanced meals for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Once decided you can stick a Mind Map of the week’s meals on the fridge and perhaps take turns with everyone pitching it to help create the meals. By making this a more interactive experience, it’s a great opportunity to start teaching the kids how to cook!
4. Categorise Your Action List
It’s a common sight in most kitchens to see a piece of scrap paper with shopping lists and to-do lists scribbled onto them. Whenever you think of something you need, you add it on. However, when you are thinking for a whole family, it is easy to drop the ball and forget some of the essentials.
A list is the least practical way to make sure you cover all bases. Instead, create a Mind Map with a main branch for every different category on your action list, for example To-Do, To Buy, To Plan, To Call etc. You can break this down even further, dividing the categories into further sub-categories such as under To Buy – Food, Clothes, Household, School Supplies.
By branching out the different categories in a Mind Map, you will trigger ideas that you may have overlooked otherwise. Plus, if you’re using iMindMap you won’t run out of room – it’s an illogical but universal truth that when you reach the bottom of the page, you usually stop thinking of what else could go on there. With a Mind Map, this won’t happen so you can make sure you get everything down.
There is no limit to what you can use Mind Mapping for in your everyday life, to make things easier and more organised. Get started with these 4 tips to ease your family back into the school routine and you’ll soon find you discover more and more tasks you can simplify by using a Mind Map.
We want to hear any ideas you have for lightening the load with Mind Mapping, so please add your comments below and share the benefits!
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