Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Making a Schedule

I've been thinking for a while that I needed to make up a schedule for our week days.  I have a morning routine that I follow pretty well.  But it's those "empty" times in the afternoon that are the problem.  You know, those times when there's nothing that needs to get done, no where to go, those times when your kids seem to be climbing the walls with energy and do nothing but nag with such questions as, Can we watch TV?  Can we play on the computer?  Can we have a snack (for the third time this afternoon)?  We're so bored, what can we do?  Can we....????

Sometimes Lizzy literally climbs the walls

Yesterday I decided it was time I came up with a plan to hopefully thwart the mid-afternoon/evening whines.

Mornings always consist of schoolwork.  After lunch all the children have a quiet time until 2:00pm where they are required to read for the first half hour and then can play after that.  David reads to himself and Lizzy reads books to Joy.

So my new routine starts after rest time.

2:00-3:00pm Outside time.  Unless the weather is really bad, all kids will be outside for at least an hour.
3:00pm Snack
3:15pm Chores
4:00pm Free time
5:00-6:30pm Help make/prepare/clean up after dinner.  Pick up the common areas.
6:30-7:15pm Free time
7:15-7:30pm Get ready for bed
7:30-8:18pm Read 1-2 chapters in latest book.  Bible time, write in prayer journals, prayer, and then bed.

David using his imagination while testing out our new safety goggles--he's pretending to snorkel

While I am a firm believer in giving children lots of unstructured time so they learn to use their imagination and be creative, it helps my children to have set times for things.  If I tell them to go outside, sometimes they will and other times they whine that they don't want to.  But when I have it written down right here that it is Outside Time, they go out and play without a fuss.

When I leave their entire afternoon open to free time, they struggle with not knowing what to do and naturally revert to begging for screen time until I am ready to throw said screens out the window.  It also has a tendency to lead to sibling fights.  It's still early days, but two days into the routine I can already see a difference.  Here's to hoping this does the trick and we can cut down on the whining and fighting.

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