Monday, December 10, 2012

Sticking with the Kids Routine

My husband has a job where he has to work shifts.  Your husband may not work shifts but most jobs now aren't your typical 8-5 Monday through Friday Jobs and even if they are you can expect that your spouse will be working different hours unexpectedly form time to time.  So this is the husband is home for the day and my whole life changes.  Our life changes according to his schedule and when this happens I don't get chores done and the kids don't get naps and fed when they need to be and when it keeps changing our life keeps getting more and more crazy.  I can be flexible! I.e. miss a nap one day or have dinner late one day. But when it happens regularly then the irregular becomes regular and this really doesn't work for young kids. They need a schedule and a routine.  It helps kids feel safe a secure.  It also helps them to get enough rest and healthy food so they can grow in body and mind.  Not to mention sanity for mom and child alike.  No one likes a the grouch monster.

I finally realized that my husband didn't realize I had a schedule so to him putting the kids down for a nap an hour after lunch wasn't disruptive....Operation Schedule, was on!!

1.) Write out a tangible Daily schedule. i.e....
  • 8:00 Breakfast, Get dressed and ready for day, exercise
  • 10:00 School Time (We did worksheets, crafts, play dough, or other activities during this time)
  • 11:00 Play Group/Story Time
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 1:00  Quiet Time/Naps for Kids (Mom, Chores, Writing, phone calls, Rest)
  • 3:00  Homework/ Snacks (Older Kids coming Home)
  • 4:00 Kids Play, Mom Starts Dinner
  • 5:30 Dinner
  • 6:30 Family Time (Play a game, watch a show...)
  • 7:00 Bed Time Routine.....Baths/Jammies, pick up rooms, read books, brush teeth, Warm Fuzzy Jars, pick out clothes for tomorrow
  • 8:00 Go to Bed/Kids  Me finish Cleaning Kitchen and picking up
  • 9:00 Watch a show, check blog/email/facebook
This is just an example, write one out that works for you and your family.

2.) Have a Family Meeting (we do this every Sunday, check back for another post about this) and go over the schedule so that everyone in the family knows about the schedule, and they can add their impute too.  Make any necessary changes to the schedule.

3.) Make a Copy of the Schedule and put it somewhere that everyone can see it.  The picture below is a copy of the daily schedule I made. To make one like this you will need:
  • 2 12x12 card stock scrapbook papers
  • Scrap Cardstock or a couple more sheets of cardstock in a different color and cut them into rectangles for as many events as you have on your daily schedule....I used twelve smaller time rectangles and 12 longer event rectangles
  • Sharpies
  • Stickers/die cuts or whatever else you would like to decorate with
  • For Reusable one: Laminator/paper, Velcro

I Taped the two 12x12 papers together from the back.  Use the Sharpies to write the time and events on the rectangle size cardstock. (You will have to cut the rectangles out just cut them to fit on your paper.) Use a glue stick to place the time rectangles on the card stock and then match the event with the time and glue those next to the time.  If you want to reuse this you could laminate the cardstock and use Velcro for the events so that you could change them out as your life changes.  Decorate with stickers and anything else you like to your hearts desire. If you are laminating it and using Velcro I would decorate before you laminate.

4.) With all this technology now a days there are a lot of ways to write your schedule on your smart phone and sync it with your husbands.  We use icloud with apple and it works great. You just go into your calendar and add new calendars under icloud and hit share and choose your spouses email to share it with. (They have to be signed up for an icloud account too.)  There are a lot of programs out there that can do this though so check your phone for an app, or check your current calendar for a way to share it.

5.) If you work and have a Sitter, make sure your sitter knows what the kids need.  If your kiddos are at a daycare and they can't change the schedules for all of the kids, ask them what their schedule is like and try doing yours close to that one.

Solution: Now when dad's home things can run just about the same and there isn't the extended TV watching time or naps at 5:00 or chores that go undone.  It really has worked for us, I have to change the schedule sometimes with changes in out life to keep this working. The kids are much better behaved and I'm a lot less stressed when I stick with it. And when I had to be somewhere my hubby also stuck with the schedule much better because he agreed with it and because he knew what it was.  It's been nice coming home with kids already in bed or the house picked up etc. etc.

Don't forget to include your spouse.  My hubby started to feel a bit left out.  So we also did some days that felt like "Saturdays" and went out and did something fun as a family.  Or I started putting him in charge of some of the activities that we had planned or I even will write out a list of things that need to be done and let him pick something.  Spouses really do want to help sometimes they just don't know what to do to help so give them a little help without nagging. I'll have to post more suggestions on that.

What's your daily schedule like?  Does your Hubby come home and mess with the routine?  What was your best strategy?

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