Aside from Jesus and taxes the only other guarantee in life is change. Especially when it comes to our kids and their schedule. Early on in my parenthood journey, and now, I found FREEDOM in my schedule. My ever changing and flexible schedule. When kids are sick, you are sick, your kid has an “off” day, your baby or toddler drops a nap and now is up for longer stretches… your schedule has to morph with it.
Creating a schedule has so many benefits for you and your kids. My schedule removes the worry of when things will get done, lessens the energy I would put out trying to keep all of the TO DOs in my head, and even helps with MOM GUILT. How many of you beat yourself up when your attention is not on your kid because you are taking “Me Time” or are trying to get a “To Do” done? Or ask, am I doing enough for my kids? or Am I spending enough time with them? Whether you stay at home or work this is a mutual struggle. A schedule can be a way to allow you to see YOU ARE doing things with them and there are pockets of time YOU ARE giving them quality time. Not only that BUT your kids can be comforted in knowing that there is time together and there is some predictability in their day.
So where do you start. First write a list of what your kids priorities are. What are the tasks and goals of a typical day/week? Here are some of MY examples:
Meals, brushing teeth/changing clothes, Nap time/Quiet Time, structured play, unstructured play, independent play, getting out of the house, play dates, school, homework… etc.
Next, start plugging into a Master Kids Schedule what are the fixed things (have to happen and at specific times) and then from there decide where more of the variable things (your other priorities and goals for your day) will fit.
Things to keep in mind while making your schedule:
1. When are you at your best? Do you have the most energy at the start, middle or end of the day?
2. When are your kids at their best? When do you think their play needs more structure versus less structure OR maybe they need to play independently from their siblings.
3. If you are stuck at home for longer stretches than you would like remember to make stations around your house and outside with different toys and activities. A change of scenery can go a long way for both you and your kids.
Here are some specific examples from my schedule.
1. I am at my best in the morning. I try to give more quality time then. I interact with them more. Either structuring something for them or just playing with them in what they are already doing. It is also a mindset. I am preparing to be present versus trying to accomplish one of my To Dos.
2. All of my kids and I hit a wall around 4pm. They are fighting with each other more; either because they are tired or bored. To help with this I have each of my kids play on their own in their rooms. If they need extra attention from me I will do something structured.
3. I start dinner EARLY. Sometimes it is 3:30 and I am prepping and cooking. I cover the meal and keep things warm. This is another step I take to help with the issues in the previous point.
4. If my kids are doing well, I do not interrupt it. Don’t fix what isn’t broken!
Here is my schedule on a typical day with my kids: Remember, your schedule will look different depending on the factors that are personal to you. Please use what is helpful and leave the rest!
At the end of the day remember quality over quantity. We love our kids. And I LOVE THIS Quote. It is a reminder that the AMOUNT of time is irrelevant. It is what we do and how we make them feel during the quality time we do have with them.