Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The value of a schedule

{our monthly meals minus the dinners}

The school of hard knocks doesn't even *begin* to cover all the things I've learned as a parent. There is no manual to tell you *how* to raise *your* child/ren. Sure, you can buy all the parenting books out there, but the truth of the matter is, unless and until you get your own feet wet, you're just like me...thrown under the bus.

That said, this summer is the first time I can remember ever doing a menu, serving breakfast and lunch at specific times, nap times for the little ones or quiet time for the older ones, and afternoon activities. I feel less stressed as a result of something that would appear to be common sense. But the phrase, common sense isn't common comes to mind. That's definitely true. I have a 12yo and I'm just now trying to incorporate schedules into our lives. Maybe it's because we have four now and a schedule is just *how* things have to be in order to function smoothly (read: less chaotic...still chaotic, but more orderly chaos ;-) ). And even if things don't work out each day, we can always make adjustments to our schedules and know exactly what to expect for the next day. The kids are responding amazingly well to it all. And why not? This is how their school operates and kids thrive on routine.

So, what's a day like at our house? Well, as I sit here at 7:35 a.m. writing my post with Mr. Andrew sitting in my lap and scratching at my keyboard, my day is starting a little earlier than usual. That's because I've realized that in order to do *any* posting this summer, it's going to be not only around the kids' schedule, but Drew's too. He's still in our office and should be transitioning to brother's room very soon, but until that happens, my days are filled with the kids and the evenings are filled with Drew sleeping. Any other posting that might get done is a total accident and something in the house has slipped during that time, like laundry, meals are pushed back, the kids might be watching *too* much t.v. *** Oh, so let's get back to our 'scheduled' days:

  • 8:00 a.m. breakfast is served (see menu photo to see what's served today)
  • morning cleanup - rooms must be picked up, beds made, kids need to be dressed for the day - they can pick out their own clothes, but either Neil or I have final say in whether they leave the house in it. This is rarely an issue since they all know how to get dressed. I'm mostly thinking about wrinkly clothes for church.
  • errands or daily chores (mine, not theirs)
  • 11:00 lunch (I photoshopped today's lunch in since Ashley erased it and didn't put it back - it's Frito Pie today!)
  • cleanup of kitchen, wipe down tables (Jonathan's chore), sweep floor (Ashley's chore) - the rest of the kitchen (mine)
  • get the kiddies down for naps (music and blankies are a must to make this work)
  • enjoy some quiet in the house for a few hours (a few because it takes Paige at least an hour to get settled in)
  • 3:00 p.m. afternoon snack
  • afternoon activities
  • dinner
  • go to the neighborhood pool with Dad while I get an hour or so to put Drew down for bed.
  • bedtime prayers and bedtime
Now, things will get mixed up from time to time and that's ok. For example, I'm taking Ashley to a volleyball clinic this evening from 6-8p.m., so no swimming tonight and tomorrow night we have our final volleyball practice, followed by Neil's first basketball game at the community center...again, no swimming. But no biggie. We'll do it again first available chance. Schedules are meant to be bent. I think there's an important lesson in that for kids as well. Things don't always go according to plan and that's ok.


-goofydaddy said...

wow. do you have space in your schedule for us? ;-)

Cheryl said...

I don't know about you - but I hate to admit that a schedule works wonders. I used routines in my classroom and it worked like a charm...why wouldn't it work at home too? My DS responds beautifully to a routine. Thanks for the encouragement.

(a fellow BBC'er)

Martina said...

i'd say we have more of a 'loose' schedule, but the basics are pretty much on schedule.

jonathan just got bumped up in swim lessons and now his new class is at 12 so we're going to have to make some adjustments.

Goofydaddy: of course we have space!! :)

Cheryl said...

Loose is the only way I can endure it! ;-)

I forgot to mention...have you ever heard of She is awesome at helping you keep your house and life in order with just a few minutes a day...including challenges for the kids. It works for us (we don't get too carried away with it) :-)

Martina said...

yuppers...been 'flyin' for mmm, five or six years's kinda morphed into my own schedule, but i still get the ridiculous number of e-mails! lol

Jess said...

i'm organized (to a fault) so it's always nice to see others that thrive with a schedule too. :)

Martina said...

can you really be organized to a fault? ;)