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"Back to school resolutions" by Tami Kiser (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2018 Tami Kiser. All rights reserved.[/caption] The lazy days of summer with late-night dinners, no Saturday chores, suitcases from the beach trip still unpacked, and lots of evenings with family movies and Netflix, although nice while it lasted, must come to an end. Even this vacation lifestyle loses its glory as the long summer season comes to a close and we get ready for that new season of fall and the school year. My family desperately needs this change of seasons to get back into a routine and recover some habits that were lost over those glorious days of summer.   To help our family improve their game, I am taking advantage of the Back-to-School momentum and making these 7 resolutions: 1) The 15-minute Clean-Up This oh-so-simple concept is the savior of my often untidy home. I’m not sure why I let this slip away. Basically, what we do is after dinner (oh -- there it is -- the reason I let this slip -- our sit-down dinner often gets neglected in the summer ... ) we set the timer for 15 minutes and everyone has to clean up something, usually beginning in the kitchen with the dishes. As Dad loads the dishwasher, someone else sweeps the floor. Someone else gets sent to the game room to tidy it. Another person takes out the trash. And like a magic wand was waved over the house, our previously untidied home now looks immaculate. OK, not immaculate, but at least somewhat presentable. If you’ve not tried this -- seriously, give it a try. It’s extremely helpful to have your husband as the bandleader in this. And speaking of bands, it is also helpful to play your favorite songs, be they from Moana or Bruce Springsteen, at loud volumes. 2) New Screen-time Rules It seems that this tired mom, after being beat down over and over again, became rather lax about the video game and TV watching rules over the summer. Well, this wimpy mother is now being replaced by the super-charged, no-screen-zealous, and ever more glamorous Mom with back-to-school screen resolutions. It’s time to get serious, everyone. All that wasteful screen time is now being replaced with things like homework, sports practice, chores, reading, and so on. In my family, we are limiting all screen time, be that video games, youtubes, instagram, or Netflix to one hour a day during the week and 2 on the weekend, with an additional family movie time. If this is too hard to monitor, I am threatening to go to no screens during the week. 3) Printed Chore Charts to be Checked We have assigned chores, but somehow over the summer, these have been terribly neglected. I am redoing everyone’s chore charts and will print them every week. I will be diligent about seeing that everyone completes theirs and will pay chore money accordingly. Over the summer, weekends and weekdays sort of blend together. During the school year, it's really easy to focus in on Saturday as our chore/work day at home, even around the sporting events that may take part of the day.  4) Weekly Date Night with Spouse You would think that summer would be a good time to have more time with your spouse; however, for us, it seems the opposite happens. Over the summer, my husband and I are busy doing activities with the whole family. Even when we go away on vacation, it seems we never get time alone. The car ride doesn’t even allow for private and important conversations, since lots of ears -- even those with headphones -- seem to always be listening. So to get to know one another again, (it’s not really that bad -- we have had some lovely walks and a few dates over the summer) we are starting, and following, a weekly date night. Of course it doesn’t have to mean a full-course meal at a restaurant, (hopefully it often will!) but perhaps an ice cream or a tennis match or a walk in the park. 5) Sunday is Family Time. Period. I don’t have a very concrete way of distinguishing what’s truly considered "family time" and what’s not, but I wanted to be aware of celebrating Sunday as the Lord’s Day with the family. God commanded that the Sabbath be "set apart." In summer it seems that every day is a Sunday. I'd like to keep our Sundays special by going to Mass and doing something fun together with the family. I am going to try to keep activities that aren’t so family oriented away from our Sunday. I know this is a “fuzzy” area and may be hard to keep, but I at least want to try to be aware of this.   6) Evening Prayer Time We have completely lost all of our prayer time over the summer. Where did it go? I guess with no bedtimes and late evening activities, we fell out of a routine, and so did our routine of prayer. This is one of the reasons we humans need routine. Without it, good habits can go by the wayside. After the timer goes off on our 15-minute clean-up, we will use this buzzer to call us to prayer. I know that’s nearly as appealing as bell tolls at a monastery calling us to prayer, but it’s all we’ve got. Plus -- how convenient! We will take very quick prayer concerns and end with a Memorare or decade of the Rosary. Simple and short, but oh-so-important. 7) Adoration Finally, something for me! Do I have enough time in my week to go to Adoration for an hour? Not really, but you know what they say, “Too busy to pray? Too busy not to pray.” This is so true. God is the master of all time and is not bound by it. When we give an hour to our Lord, he can multiply that time, so that miraculously, we can get everything done that we need to. It also helps that during that Adoration time, we can see where and what we should be doing with our time. So yes, count me in. I’m going to give an hour a week to our Lord in the Adoration chapel. So these are my great resolutions to enact and follow in the coming weeks. Hopefully these habits will stick throughout the year to help us keep up our family game.  

Do you have habits that slip over the summer, too? What resolutions do you usually make at the start of a new school year?  

Copyright 2018 Tami Kiser