Merlino & Gonzalez September 2017

How to Demystify Your Kids’ Jampacked Schedules EXTRACURRICULAR OVERLOAD

Every parent knows that a poorly organized tangle of kids’ activities is a recipe for a migraine. As school starts up again, so does sports season, and your kids’ extracurricular ambitions pile up like the falling autumn leaves. Don’t let yourself get burned out. Here are some tips to stay sane in the midst of the extracurricular whirlwind. Consolidate all your scheduling, jotting, and activity-tracking into one system. Let’s get one thing straight: You can’t afford to be scrawling “Abby piano lesson rescheduled 9/21” on the first scrap of paper you come across. That doesn’t mean you have to be hyper-organized, but it does mean that you need to keep your entire calendar in one place, whether that place is Google Calendar, a fridge whiteboard, or the old-fashioned standby: a calendar with a lighthouse on every page. One particularly attractive option is the Cozi app (, which not only consolidates an entire family’s calendars, but allows you to include to-do lists, shopping lists, recipes, chore checklists, and more. Whichever system you choose, keep it updated. Its word is law. Form parent alliances. Those soccer practices

Jacob’s going to? There are other teammates there, and they have parents shuttling them around, just like you are. Set up carpools — Noah’s mom drives them both Tuesday while you’ve got Thursdays — to manage scheduling conflicts between your kids and drastically reduce the time you spend as a chauffeur. To simplify the process and make sure everyone’s on the same page, check out the Carpool-Kids app at carpool- It’ll let you directly invite other parents and set up weekly or one-shot carpool schedules. Maintain balance. You almost certainly will need to say no to additional extracurricular activities every now and then. Sure, simultaneous baseball, football, and soccer seasons might seem healthy and fun for your kid, but you need to consider your own needs, as well. Many parents give their children free rein over what to choose, but limit activities to one or two per season. Johnny wants to do underwater basket weaving? Strange choice, but sure — though he’ll have to abandon either fencing or ice hockey. Make sure you weigh each child’s needs equally, and keep the rules the same for each of them.

A NUTTY AFTERNOON As an estate planning firm, we are often helping clients safely for a few hours, whipping everyone up into a frenzy. Eventually, John and Ken, our always fearless leaders, got out some brooms and chased the monster out of the office. He was returned safely to his natural habitat, but not without causing some serious damage first. Rocky the Squirrel Attacks Our Office

squirrel away their assets for future generations. A few weeks ago at Merlino & Gonzalez, that phrase became a lot more literal. We were simply going about our regular business when we began to hear a rustling noise behind one of our walls. Turns out, a squirrel had somehow snuck into our office. And he wasn’t there to work on his will. Now, we’re an office of animal lovers here at Merlino & Gonzalez, but we’re guessing you don’t want a squirrel running around your workplace either. This little guy terrorized us

Luckily, nobody was hurt, but the building didn’t fare as well. Our friend, who we’ve named Rocky, caused a flood in the basement, wrecking some sheet rock. The real concerns, though, were the wires he managed to snack on. We were worried that our beloved office might catch fire, but we avoided that fate. When we had an electrician come to fix everything, he said we were fortunate that the damage wasn’t worse. Who knew that a little squirrel was capable of causing so much trouble? Everything is back to normal now, but we are making a little policy change to ensure that we don’t invite anymore critters like Rocky back into our walls. Every employee is required to keep any nuts they bring in for a snack under lock and key. Hopefully that’ll do the trick!


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