Getting on a Good Schedule for the School Year

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Wish you could be one of those super-organized moms who's never forgotten a play date till the kid shows up on your doorstep? It sounds like a no-brainer, but one way is to start, keep, and have everyone in the family consistently refer to a VERY detailed calendar. The family calendar is particularly helpful for those dealing with type 1 diabetes, because you have more info to juggle than the average family.

Whether you use an online calendar (that you and your spouse/caregiver can access easily) or a printed one, it's helpful to display it in a central location (like the fridge -- if it's online you might want to print it out each week). It will take a few hours at the end of the summer and about 30 minutes a week to keep the family calendar current, but what you gain in a lack of chaos is priceless. Load in the following information:

School: First, put in everyone's school schedule -- what time is drop-off and pick-up? If you're carpooling, who is driving that day? Get the school's master schedule and note any days off, early-dismissal days, or school-sponsored activities, such as dances, fundraisers or school plays. PTA meetings and any other commitments should be jotted down, too.

Health: Be sure to note any doctor's appointments you have scheduled, whether your child's, his or her siblings' or your own; don't forget the endocrinologist, dentist, certified diabetes educator and anyone else you see. Record when it will be time for pharmacy refills, to reorder medical supplies, or to change an insulin pump set. Some parents also like to write down snack and family meal times.

After school: Extracurricular activities should be written down next. What days and times do these occur? Do any activities overlap? Who'll drive the kids and pick them up? Having all the information in one place can help you see the big picture -- and serve as a visual red flag if you get to the point of over-scheduling yourself! Think about the timing of activities, too; it might be necessary to pack an extra meal or snack.

Work: Be sure to write in your and/or your spouse's work schedules, meetings and volunteer commitments.

Fun: Pencil in any sleepovers, play dates and date nights, too. Community events can also be noted -- when is the annual parade, JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, or weekly farmers' market? Include those so you don't forget. Likewise, you might note any upcoming plays, concerts, or cultural events you don't want to miss.

Have a family meeting once a week to go over the schedule and discuss any upcoming commitments. This keeps the lines of communication open and ensures you're all on the same page.

When someone asks you how you manage it all, you can point to your calendar and say, "My lovely assistant handles everything!"

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.

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