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How to manage the day-to-day chaos that is kids, school and work

Danielle Smith is a former award-winning television news anchor and reporter turned digital correspondent, host, spokesperson, media trainer, lover of all things video and public s

Back to school in our house means back-to-chaos. I only have two kids, but between them, they play seven sports competitively throughout the year; typically six of those are happening at one time. Between school, sports, work and just life it feels like we are constantly one step away from chaos, but we find a way. Here is how we do it.

To say that we are busy is bit of an understatement. Yes, we prioritize school... yes, we prioritize fun and family and yes, we even make sure the kiddos have free time to spend with their friends. How do we do it? By finding a way to make the chaos manageable.

These are the tips we use, especially this time of year.

1. Stick to a schedule

At the beginning of each week, we take a look at the week ahead so we know what to expect from school, practices, games, meetings and even out-of-town priorities from mom and dad. The small people know they are expected to sit down and tackle their homework as soon as they get home from school so they won't be up late in the evening after a Tuesday night practice or a Thursday night game. Since Mom and Dad work, Dad coaches, both kids play sports and go to school, keeping on track is a must.

2. Divide and conquer

As a general rule, Dad is in charge of all things sports; he knows the ins and outs of game times, updates, rainouts and who needs to be where and when. If I need to help ferry one of the kids to a practice, he will let me know. I attend games, but not practices. On the other hand, I'm in charge of school projects, monitoring which nights we are studying for tests and signing all permission slips. We make sure our home and sports business is conquered.

3. Trust your kids

My small people are at an age now (8 and 10) where a portion of their responsibility is to help us handle the busy-ness that is our collective schedules: school, sports and work. They know I can't be chasing them around asking if they have filled their water bottles and put their shin guards on their little bodies. Our family is a team. We trust them to play a part in our everyday schedule.

4. Decide family priorities

We know we are busy, but we also know school and grades, time together as a family, specifically meals, sleep and laughter are priorities. The moment we stop realizing any of these, we know it is time to make a change. It is our job as a family to keep each other in check.

5. Make mealtime easy

I would love to tell you I spend hours each day in the kitchen preparing meals my family loves. I don't... but I do watch my kids love their food, listen to them tell me about their day and hear them ask for more whenever they are hungry. That is my priority. I do this by giving them quick and easy meals that prioritize good food and family time. Jimmy Dean has new lunch and dinner options like the Delights Three Cheese Pasta Bowl that my small people declared "tied for their favorite dinner of all time." Seriously. They even asked me for the recipe.

What are your tips for managing the day-to-day chaos that is kids, school, work, activities and life? I'd love to know.

Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration with Jimmy Dean and SheKnows. All thoughts and opinions shared are mine and mine alone.

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