Thursday, July 30, 2009

Scheduling Your Day

I am a stay-at-home mom to four small children.  My oldest is about to start 1st grade and my second is going into Kindergarten.  It is very easy for my life to be one big ball of chaos if I am not organized.  Now that school is about to start and I have to get everyone up and ready and out the door by 8 am, I have to get myself and my kids back into a morning routine.  I have tried lots of different things, but most of them haven't worked very well.  This is what I have settled on.

The night before.
  • We make lunches.  They are packed and put in the fridge.  If there is anything that will be gross if I make it the night before I wait until that morning, but everything else is ready to go.
  • We set out clothes.  I help all 4 of the kids pick out clothes, undies, socks, and whatever else they will need for the next day.  When they wake up, they are ready to go.  I even set out my clothes.  It is so much easier to not have to worry about what to wear when I am in a hurry.
  • We get backpacks ready.  Anything that needs to go to school is put in the backpack so it is ready in the morning and there is no frantic searching right before it is time to leave.
  • We go to bed on time.  This is crucial for making sure the morning runs smoothly.
Before School.
  • I get up at 6 am and get ready for the day.  I also start breakfast and throw a load of laundry in.
  • About 7 am the kids get up and we make the beds.  If it doesn't happen in the morning, then it just doesn't happen.
  • They get dressed and put their jammies in their cubbies or in the laundry.  (We wear jammies 2 days in a row).
  • We go eat breakfast.  See my previous post for ideas of what to do for breakfast.  You can also look in the recipes section.
  • We brush our teeth.  At this point, the boys play while I fix the girls' hair.  Check my hair and accessories section for more on this.
  • Then shoes, coats, backpacks and out the door.
This entire process takes us about 1 hour.

Once the kids are off to school, my days vary a bit.  I have chores that I need to do.  I have a daily schedule that I follow for this.  There will be a separate post on that in the next couple of weeks.

After school.
  • Kids bring me their backpacks.  We go through the backpacks and pull out the homework.
  • We eat a snack and then do homework
  • Once homework is done, everything that has to go back to school goes in the backpack and they are put away.  We have a hook that they hang on (until they get too heavy).
  • After homework is done, the kids can play until Dinner.
After Dinner.
  • Kids clear their dinner dishes and my husband or I put food away and clean up the kitchen.
  • Bath time.  I do not bathe each child every night.  It is too much for me to get all 4 of them in and out of the bath without going crazy.  I wash the girls one night and the boys the next night.  Whichever gender is not getting washed gets to play.
  • After bath time everyone gets jammies on.
Bedtime. (the after dinner and bedtime routines sort of flow into each other, but I have separated them for ease.)
  • After jammies we pick out clothes for the next day.  Everything (including socks and undies) goes into their cubbies.
  • We read stories and scriptures together.
  • We say family prayer.
  • We brush teeth and go potty.
  • We go to bed.  This includes prayers, hugs and kisses,  and tuck them in.
All of the kids are in bed by 7:30 pm.  Some of you may think this is too early, but it is what works for us.  They usually wake up around 7 am.

After the kids are in bed I make the lunches for the next day and finish up any extra stuff that didn't get done.  I try and make sure that I am done by 8 pm so that I can have some time with my hubby or to myself before we go to bed.

As a side note, we play music for the kids when they go to bed.  We have done this for years and it is quite helpful.  It drowns out any noise that may keep them from sleeping and it signals their bodies that it is time to settle down and go to sleep.  It is also great to be able to take on trips.  The music helps them maintain some of the comfort of their bedtime routine at home.

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