It is the second week of 2018 already. I can hardly believe it. It feels like time is flying by already. I know most of you are still in holiday mode, but I wanted to take a moment to share a few thoughts around the importance of planning for the year. I’m sure many of you use your mobile devices and computers to keep you on track, and that’s fantastic but I know for myself, and I believe there is some science around plotting out the year ‘old school’ with a diary and good old pen and paper. To my knowledge, a good family plan has never harmed anyone. In fact, it brings order, helps keep everyone’s mind space clean and healthy and so much more.

Can I encourage you to set aside a few hours this week to prepare for the month ahead? For now, let’s not take the entire year on, let’s just focus on the rest of January and making sure we’re in line for this month. For most families, the end of January begins the new school year, and we all know how much needs to happen before then. There are school lists to write, bags to buy, books, pencil cases, uniforms and shoes. And, if you’re changing schools there is added pressure involved. The back to school list can get extensive.

Now is the time to organise those before-school-starts-haircuts, movie days or outings with friends before your weeks fill up with soccer practices, dance runs and music lessons. Make sure you make the most of your precious time with your children before they return to school. A great calendar and planner can help you do all of this. Apparently, a well thought out plan can keep you cam calm as it gently reminds you of the next step. I guess it’s one less thing taking up too much mind space which causes stress and emotional unpredictability.

After the holidays and when the time is your friend, maybe an afternoon when the kids are at school, find some time to plan for the important dates in your calendar further into 2018. Many working parents find it helpful to coordinate and intertwine their work rosters into the family calendar. Make sure you write in everyone’s birthdays including Grandma & Grandpa and pets. School holidays, family trips, weekends away, it’s even exciting to think about Christmas and New Year 2018! Where do you plan to be? Do you need to make bookings for camping, hotels or flights, in advance? Also, if you know when things like accommodation or flights go on sale, mark it on the calendar, so you don’t forget. Include immunisation updates for kids and even pets. These, of course, are just a few suggestions of what you can include. Don’t think about that too much right now – but go month by month, continually looking forward. To help out, here is a link to the NSW school holiday dates for your calendars ready to go!

It is widely acknowledged that one of the founding fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin once said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Failure encourages growth and learning, but preparation is even more valuable when it decreases stress and allows you to concentrate on pressing matters of the future instead of things that you haven’t done for tomorrow.

Enjoy the summertime bliss of January with your children before school begins, and remember that amongst all the planning and organisation there should also be a time of rest. To recover from the rush of Christmas – and become ready for a new year. Sometimes that’s one of the most important things that we forget to plan. Rest.

Much love, Susanna