Angela Jacobsen, Australia’s Supernanny has a very interesting philosophy about balancing family life, something that almost every mother I speak to has issues with, including me. It sometimes feels like a never ending juggling act and so I was really interested in her thoughts on the matter. The main target areas are time, space, fitness and nutrition. I hope you enjoy this piece.
Healthy mums are happy mums and too, although often mums worry about everyone else except themselves! I want to focus the mummies in order to help create a harmony throughout the whole family. Mothers often feel guilty about putting themselves before their family.
My concept of Family360 has developed after extensive experience internationally, working with families of all cultures and statuses. Family360 focuses on the four main target areas Time, Space, Fitness and Nutrition Management. When one or several of these areas are out of balance it can create havoc in your household mainly manifesting in bad behaviour from the kids!
Let’s break Family360 down into each area.
Let’s face it, you are bound to have way too much “stuff”! When the kids are at school you have the opportunity to de-clutter your house. Here are some easy ways to get some organisation and extra space back!
- Go through the kids’ wardrobes and remove all the items that are too small, too big, too worn or never worn! Divide these into piles. Store the clothes that are too big and label the box with the size of clothes. Store the clothes that are too small if you have smaller children or plan too. Give to charity anything that is too worn or never worn. Whatever is left needs to be labelled especially school uniforms. Iron on labels are quick and easy!
- Go through the kitchen cupboards and throw out all containers that do not have lids, as well as all lids that do not have containers! Label all containers with your surname in a marking pen so the whole family can use. A pen that won’t wash off in the dishwasher. Be sure to go over your surname each term in case it is starting to wear off.
- Go through all the toys. Throw out all broken toys. Store any toys that are no longer played with if you have younger children, if you don’t give them to charity. This is a great time to fill the bath and disinfect the toys that can be, some can also go in the dishwasher. Now divide each child’s toys in half, keep out the current favourites. Place the other half in containers and label with each child’s name, rotate these toys with the ones you left out every month or so.
The kids will have crazy diaries that include their classes, play dates and birthday parties! Fear not, you can stay in control of your family’s activities by applying some simple organisational structure.
- Buy a diary for the house. Choose a large one with lots of space to enter all the daily activities. Keep this near the telephone or on the bench so you can easily enter new plans as they pop up. When the school newsletter and any invitations comes home, immediately enter all dates into the diary. Try to RSVP immediately too.
- Buy a wall planner. A blackboard or a whiteboard is best, so you can easily change the planner weekly and when inevitably, plans change. The best place to hang this is near the fridge or in a common area that everyone can see, so they all know what’s happening each week. If you are super organised you could do this daily. Choose a different colour for each family member including your husband and pets. Enter each family members activity in their colour so they can keep track of their own activities, this encourages independence in the children and reminds your husband if you are out with the girls or have a yoga class.
- Write up a meal plan for the week from your planner and diary. You can break this into lunch and dinner if you have kids at home. You will be able to plan accordingly for play dates and ensure that the kids eat nutrionally all week. From your meal plan you can create a shopping list and shop at the start of each week, order online if easier and have your shopping home delivered.
We all know that kids need fruit and vegetables but sometimes we forget to look after our own bodies. Apart from the basics, we can also add to our nutrition through vitamins. I went to a naturopath recently, as my partner and I are trying to have a baby and I was surprised how much both our bodies are lacking, but yet how quickly we responded to the natural medicine. Our naturopath also said we were overweight for our height so we looked for a healthy easy way to lose, gain and maintain! My energy levels have sky rocketed again and we are both losing healthy amounts of weight each week. Often mums skip breakfast as they are too busy, but even a shake or a juice on the go is the kick start your metabolism needs to fire up for the day.
Mums need to stay fit to keep up with their kids! Chasing kids around all day definitely keeps you fit, but you can cram in more fitness by following these simple tips.
- Get enough sleep – both kids and parents. Force yourself to have an early night at least twice a week. When the kids go back to school they will have a bit of a shock to their system after the school holiday sleep-ins, and to help them adjust quicker bring forward bed time by five minutes every night so they get more sleep. You can change the clock in their room if necessary, to trick them!
- Finding ‘You’ Time! Make sure you spend at least 30 minutes per day doing something you enjoy that involves fitness. Gym, yoga, walk to a coffee shop – there are endless options. They could also involve taking your baby swimming or attending a class which designed to be great exercise for both baby and mum. Whenever possible, walk or ride to do the school run – easy, great exercise for both mum and kids.
If you are struggling with your family especially you children’s behaviour, then take time to analyse your Families360 key areas and see if one or several are out of balance. If you would like any help from me, please login to my website.
By Angela Jacobsen aka OzSuperNanny