Life can be hectic and chaotic in general, but add kids into the mix and it seems to double responsibilities and obligations. If you have children, it’s even more important to simplify your life, not only for your sanity but also to be a good role model for them. Teach them early on that no matter what society says, they can choose to live a simple, peaceful life.

Have Each Child Choose One Extracurricular Activity

Some parents are run ragged by getting their kids to all their various activities. This is certainly the case when there are several children in the family. Decide now that each child can choose only one extracurricular activity per year or season, depending on how much you feel you can handle. They may grumble in the beginning, but they too will enjoy a less stressful schedule.

Create an Out-the-Door Basket

Set up an area right beside the door that you go out of in the mornings and designate a basket for each child (and adult). Before bed, each person is responsible for gathering up everything they need to take with them the next day and putting it in their basket. This makes mornings go much smoother!

Create a Weekly Lunch Menu

Before you go shopping for the week, sit everyone down and come up with one lunch menu for everyone for the week, with very little variation. In other words, no one is allowed stuff that no one else likes. They can have that at home during the week.

For example, buy turkey and ham and the kind of cheese everyone agrees on. Buy one or two types of fruit and vegetables only. Purchase one type of bread that everyone likes, even if it’s not their favorite. Then on Sunday late afternoon, gather everyone in an assembly line and together, make all the lunches for the week at once. Since there’s very little variation, this will make it go quickly and be one less thing you have to do each morning during the week.

Move More Slowly

No matter what you do. Build in more time between activities so you aren’t rushing through eating dinner, for example, so you can get homework and dishes out of the way. Set rules for no running in the house, no dashing out the door without sitting down to breakfast. Start savoring your time with your family—it’s one of the best things you can do for all of you.