Ok - I am starting a new series called Common Sense Family Living - let me preface this by saying I am a 35 year old mom to three boys whom I adopted in 2007. I am a working mom and during the summer and holidays I stay at home because I am a teacher, so I feel like I have a taste of being a stay at home mom too! I am learning and I reserve the right to change my mind, retract statements, and adapt to my families needs as they grow. Family living is my priority and it dominates my time, my thoughts, and many of my conversations with my husband.
Scheduling is huge part of our family life. I actually rolled my eyes and laughed at Rick when he suggested it and really resisted it. Owen now asks to have a schedule and we live and die by the schedule.
Recipe for Schedules: - best used on days where you are home with your kids. I am a working mama and don't use it as often on school nights because those nights are pretty regimented already.
1. The first day you try it - really schedule every minute. Include fun activities that they will love so they learn to love it, but also schedule naps, chores, book time, etc... This is your chance to be a good mom and dad by getting all those things you intend to do in the day.
2. Write the schedule down - make it so it is fun to read - I believe in lots of color.
3. Read it as a family and then post it in a common area. You must read it aloud and spend time discussing any expectations for each section so all participants including daddies will buy into the schedule.
4. STICK TO THE SCHEDULE! Later days will lead to some flexibility, but during the first few days stick to it. This will eliminate second guessing, annoying questions etc...
5. Assess the day 's schedule during dinner. Perhaps the schedule is not finish, but it is important to check in with the kids to see how it is going.
6. Make the schedule for day number two using more input on time and activities from the children. You may have to say NO, that is ok. Try to say yes.
Benefits of scheduling:
1. You get to schedule your day - you now have control. Some days I feel like I have a ton of patience for craft projects, reading aloud all day long, and being outside playing. Other days I feel like I need a little time to myself to sew, clean, or read a good book. You have control!
2. Your children are less likely to object to nap time, quiet time, chores or other previously "unpopular" activities you would like them to participate in and start to respect each scheduling module and its expectations. Sometimes my youngest feels like nap time or individual play time is a punishment, but not if it is already scheduled. Sometimes he is excited to do it!
3. My kids live by and love the schedule. I don't have to answer 80,000 questions about what they should do next. It is a calmer and more CONTROLLED day!
Some PITFALLS of schedules to watch out for:
1. You have to build an expectation of flexibility for your children. Inevitably something comes up or a scheduled item takes longer or shorter than you expect and adjustments have to be made. Conversations and discussion should constantly be taking place in regards to the schedule in order to make adjustments as needed.
2. Husbands are not as compliant as your children. Depending on the dynamics of your family this may be reversed. Rick loves the schedule, but wants to do spontaneous things like go to Home Depot. I have learned to make adjustments like adding things like Daddy's choice in the schedule. He also sees how well the kids operate under a schedule and likes it. I include him in writing the schedule so he knows what is coming up for the day - kinda ironic since this was his idea in the first place.
- I will post a picture or two later of schedule examples!