I know many parents don’t believe in scheduling their kids’ time, and while I certainly don’t believe in over-scheduling my kids, I do believe in sticking to a routine that is both predictable and flexible. I think having a routine gives children stability, and that stability allows them to feel more comfortable in their environment so they can focus on playing and learning. The flexibility is mostly for sanity’s sake- because really, do things ever go 100% according to plan? As much as I love having a routine in place, for both my sake and the kids, I can never take it too seriously. Rare is the week where we actually follow it to a tee.
I started posting a weekly picture routine on our fridge over the summer, and I LOVE it. I’ve found this hugely helpful for a few reasons. First, I love being able to talk to Porter about what day it is, and what to expect from that day, every morning as we eat breakfast. I think he’s better behaved and transitions are easier when he knows what to expect. He’s gotten so he’ll go over to it and ask me what number we’re on (he can’t read, but does recognize numbers, so all my days are numbered), and then proceed to tell me with great authority what we’re doing that day. And secondly, I like that it holds me accountable. If the picture routine says that today we do special time, its a lot harder to come up with last minute excuses not to do it.
This afternoon I reworked our routine a little to reflect some recent changes, so I thought I’d share what we do.
- Monday: Porter has preschool in the morning, and in the evenings we do family home evening. Or at least, we try. In pencil I’ve written in the plans Wyatt and I have for when Porter is at preschool- we attend a group called Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn at our library this day.
- Tuesday: We attend our ward’s weekly playdate. We meet in the gym and the mommies can visit while all the kids play with the nursery toys. Our Relief Society even provides snacks for us.
- Wednesday: Porter goes to preschool, and Wyatt and I run errands. Wednesday afternoon instead of doing quiet time like usual, Porter and I have special time together, where we spend some time in the afternoon just the two of us.
- Thursday: both boys having swimming lessons in the mornings, and we’ll also go to the library to pick up our holds and play with their toys.
- Friday: Porter goes to preschool, Wyatt and I go to the YMCA so I can attend a fitness class, and after diner we have a family movie night.
- Saturday: we get in the car and go somewhere fun. This is really vague, because it totally depends on the week what we end up doing.
- Sunday: we go to church and learn about Jesus.
I slip this into a page protector and stick it to my fridge, and I have a few spare pictures (which I have yet to print out) to place on the schedule as needed. For example, I have one for visiting grandparents, one for a babysitter coming, one to put on the day that daddy comes home from work, and one for the nights when I take the boys to the YMCA with me.
Another thing I’d like to add is the Wyatt still naps every day, and Porter does quiet time for 2 hours every day except Wednesday, and the occasional weekend when daddy is home. This gives me a few hours of quiet time to myself every day. Which I rely on.
I love this way of organizing our time. It helps to keep me motivated, and I think its a good balance of activities and staying at home. It also allows room for flexibility when needed, Mon- Wed mornings can move around to accommodate other plans, and for the most part our afternoons are spent at home. I know this approach might not work for everyone, but it is really working for us.
Do you have a routine you follow at home with your kids? If so, what do you do?