Photo: Kelli Matthews

New jeans, fresh kicks, a cool backpack, perfectly sharpened pencils and beautifully organized binders. Forget January 1, for me, the start of the school year is the perfect time to set new resolutions. Fall presents itself as a blank slate – an opportunity to start fresh and make corrections. 

As the 2016-2017 year gets rolling, I have a few family resolutions I’ve made with my partner and my two boys to share: 

Focus more, be “busy” less: Our calendars are full. Sports, music, work, classes and activities keep us on the run seven days a week. I don’t know that we take anything off the calendar (we’re having some discussions about that!), but we can choose to be fully present and focused.

Each Sunday, I do a “weekly review,” for my personal work week but also for the family. I look at not just the upcoming week, but also two or three weeks out to take a big picture look at our work, family and school obligations. Spending the time to plan cuts down on the last minute scramble or that dreaded hectic feeling I have when I’m not prepared. 

Do the reading in advance: Speaking of prepared… I can’t tell you how many times during the year I find myself saying, “why didn’t I know about that?” I’ve missed a music assembly where my son was performing, the school talent show and fundraisers. In my defense, either Dad or I attend just about everything, which probably makes the misses even more obvious. 

Of course, not knowing, is usually my fault. I might ignore the “Thursday envelope” that comes home in my son’s backpack or the email from the school secretary. This year, I am committed to ensuring my partner and I capture all the school events, activities and opportunities on the calendar. But I am also helping our fifth grader do a better job of telling us about what’s going on. 

Support each other: We all have times that we feel maxed out, stretched thin, insecure or just tired. Seeing those times for what they are and not letting negative energy get out of control can help us all feel supported or just understood. 

Find the fun: We’re usually pretty good at this, but it’s still a good reminder. Trying new things, going on hikes, attending sporting events, seeing a movie… spending time together is fun and we genuinely like each other. When we’re in need of a good idea, I ask my friends on social media or rely on our local parenting magazine events calendar. And sometimes finding the fun means dropping everything, shutting the laptop and being okay with that. 

Find a great pair of boots: Okay, this one is just for me. But seriously, I need a great pair of black boots. 

How about you? What “resolutions” do you have for the new school year?