Saturday, March 8, 2014

I need a routine!

Up until recently, I worked outside of the home full-time. Like a lot of working moms (64.4% of American mothers work outside of the home according to recent data), I was constantly exhausted and didn’t feel that I was doing any of my “jobs” (employee, mom, wife, friend, housekeeper, cook, dog-walker, etc.) well. I found that a schedule really helped me to be more productive at work and at home. Then, when I decided to stay home with my kids (thanks to a cross-country relocation, the exorbitant price of child care in our new area, and the desire for a career change) I found that although I had more "time," I was busier than ever and I still needed a schedule in order to feel productive - and sane!

Whether you stay home with your kids or work outside of the home, having some sort of a routine will help you to stay sane in the midst of your crazy life. This is also - and especially - true for kids! Make up a daily schedule that works for you and the kids, and try to stick with it, although it may be different on different days.  Here is an example of our typical Friday schedule:

Break of dawn
Wake up way too early
Breakfast/Mom drinks too much coffee
Boys play/Mom works
Mom does workout video/Boys jump around in the way
Boys get dressed/Mom showers
Library storytime
Preschool/Mom works at coffee shop
Play time outside
Boys watch a show/Mom cooks dinner
Bedtime routine - bath, pajamas, read stories
Bedtime/Mom & Dad relax!

Although we no longer write out our schedule, you might want to write yours to start out. When my kids were younger, I found that they needed to actually see the schedule so that it was more concrete. You can simply use a dry erase board for this, or you can get a little fancier with a printed schedule including pictures (just search for and download some from Google Images). Here is an example of one that I used to make our morning routine go more smoothly a few years ago:

If you have some extra cash, you can even purchase a pre-made schedule like this.

For kids with special needs, a simpler schedule might work best - like this one, which uses a system called Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS).

Use whatever works for you, but remember to keep it simple!  Happy scheduling!

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