At the beginning of the schools year in August, I wrote out a schedule on my white board in the kitchen for the mornings and for after school. Well, that was shot all to heck almost immediately for various reasons. While at school, my children act completely different than they do at home, thank goodness. When they are at their grandparents house they also act much better than at home. So, what was the difference between my house and anyway else? Is it all the chaos or maybe it’s due to me not being able to provide my undivided attention to them at every moment? I think part of it is lack of routine.
In my mind, I know that children thrive on routine and structure. I tend to thrive on it as well, but as an adult, I like to alter my routine and schedule often to accommodate my health and moods. That is not the case with children. They don’t understand when the schedule is altered because Mommy is not feeling well that day. To create a schedule that we can truly stick to is not an easy task. We have soccer until the end of October which with practice and games for two children, that’s four days a week! My daughter has Girl Scouts ever other week after school.
When we think of schedules, we think of something where at 6am we do X and at 6:15am we do Y. Well, that is to complicated for a 5 and 7 year old, at least in my house at this point. Also, some days we leave earlier than other days because they take Accelerated Reader tests in the library prior to school when they have finished books. So, I decided to schedule via tasks. Each child has 5 tasks they need to complete each school morning before we walk out the door. As they complete each task, they can check it off their list. If they do them all 30 minutes prior to leaving then great but I do remind them to start on some of them about 20 minutes prior to us leaving. I made these in Excel and made them colorful. I then purchased inexpensive frames at a hobby store and I put the task list inside so each child can use a dry erase marker on the glass each morning to check off their tasks. After they are gone, I erase it and it’s ready for the next day! I also saved the file so that I can add to the list eventually to put things like making their bed on the list.
In the past I have often decided to implement a new schedule, new rules, new this and that, all at the same time to the point where I’m even overwhelmed. I can’t enforce it all and the children just run all over me. This time I’m going to implement things a little slower. This week, we will work on a new morning schedule and I have implemented one new rule for mornings which I will talk about tomorrow. If we can ease the chaos of the mornings, that will certainly take my stress level down A LOT and it will get them to school in a better frame of mind and not having to be yelled at to get out the door.