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September is one of three “new years,” especially for those of us who have children or work with them. We – and our kids – are getting settled into the schedule and routines of a new school year, so this month is an ideal time to regroup and assess what’s working and what’s not in our parenting, at work, and personally. I like to think of September – like January – as a fresh start.

If you’re wanting to regroup and settle in to new and better habits and routines, here are some tools and ideas to help:


Do you want your kids to help more around the house?
Download my Household Responsibilities Audit (from my book Happy Campers) and assess what tasks can be shifted from you to the kids this year.

Read more…
How doing Less Made me a Better Parent.
Let the Kids Cook Dinner

Would you like to stop yelling at your kids?
Listen to Carla Naumburg’s tips in this episode of the podcast: Ep. 103: How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids.

Want some help dealing with challenging behaviors?
Signe Whitson has excellent advice in Ep. 97: Parenting the Challenging Child .

Do you have teens who you’d like to start stepping up and becoming adults?
Download my Ready for Adulthood Checklist (from my book Happy Campers) and go over it with your soon-to-be-adult to review what they want and need to learn this year.

Listen to Ep.102: Grown and Flown with Lisa Heffernan.

Are your mornings crazy?
10 Solutions for Chaotic Mornings

Want more tips for raising thriving kids?
Check out my book, Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults and my podcast, Sunshine Parenting!


Do you want to make some adjustments to your schedule and priorities?
Listen to Ep. 56: Off the Clock with Laura Vanderkam. I enjoy Laura’s quick daily podcast, Before Breakfast. She shares awesome productivity advice.

Do you want to assess the work you do and how you can make it more meaningful or efficient? Here are some of my favorite books on the topic:
Atomic Habits
Deep Work
Digital Minimalism

Crucial Conversations
Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day
The Go-Giver
Be the Gateway


Are you ready to put on your own oxygen mask?
Listen to Ep. 36: Project Me for Busy Mothers and check out the Project Me book all the amazing downloadable resources Kelly has on her website!

Figure out your “Sweet Spot.”

Learn to Breathe.

Do you want to spend more time with friends?
Get inspired by my conversation with my friend Sara in Ep. 57: The Importance of Adult Friendships.

Do you want to get lost in activities you really enjoy?
Read about Finding Flow.

My September Reset

I’ve had a few conversations this week that have helped me get clear on where I want to focus my time this fall. My One Word for 2019 was FOCUS and I would say that, so far in 2019, I’ve been only moderately successful at staying focused on what’s most important and spending my time the way I’d like to. I tend to get easily distracted and waste time working on things that are not my priorities. Here’s what I’m shifting this month in order to reset and focus on my priorities:


I’ve been at camp and haven’t had a chance to spend time with my aging parents. Since my dad has major health issues, they can’t come see me, so I need to go to them, starting with a visit this weekend. For the first time ever, we have no kids at home. Yes, we’re officially “empty nesters!” For my relationships with my kids, I want to focus on having quality one-on-one interactions – calls, FaceTimes, visits. Next week, I’m taking my oldest daughter, Gretchen (age 25), to Happier Hour with Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft in San Francisco. I also want to keep up communication and connection with each of them.


I have so many projects and ideas, and I am much more productive when I narrow my priorities and schedule. After some great advice this week from Eryn and Sam, here’s what I’m prioritizing this month:

• One-on-one connections and in real life interactions – setting up calls, meetings, and speaking events where I get to connect with actual, real people.

• Spend more time on my podcast. My podcast is currently my favorite work-related activity, and I have some amazing guests lined up for this fall’s episodes. I’m going to add in some new segments to make the content super helpful for listeners.

• Write focused, helpful emails for the people who graciously welcome me into their email box each week.

• Share monthly friendship skills resources (posts, videos, podcast episodes, downloads) to help parents, teachers, and youth development professionals coach kids on their social skills.

Personal Priorities

For September, I’m focusing on getting daily exercise of some kind. This week, I even went to a yoga class for the first time in two years! I’m going to schedule meeting a friend to exercise at least once per week (CycleBar with Anne and tennis with Vivian are currently on the schedule!). I’m also going to schedule at least one social event per week – a date with my husband; a couples dinner or card game; or a coffee, walk, or lunch with a friend.


More tools and resources

15 Books for a Happier, More Purposeful Life

How are things going for you? Download my More of/Less of/Same of worksheet (at the bottom of this post) to assess!

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