Over the summer, we got out of our routine, as I tried to simply survive horrible morning sickness and crushing fatigue. However, as I started to come out the other side, alive, and we started a new school year, I knew we had to get back into a routine or we were doomed to failure.
The first day was a total disaster, as I tried to incorporate our relaxed summer “routine” into a school routine. Needless to say, it did not work, and everyone had a miserable day. The next day, I vowed to do something else. This will be different for each family, so this is just what works for us.
We rise really early (6 a.m. or before). My husband leaves for work around 6:30. Then, the kids and I eat breakfast and wake up 🙂 As soon as breakfast is done (or sometimes, while I am cooking it), I read our Bible reading to all the kids while they play or sit “quietly.” Depending on the toddler and four year old, sometimes it’s more lively than I’d prefer.
Then I’ve found it works best if I put on a learning movie (LeapFrog, Baby Einstein, etc.) for the toddler and four year old, and help the seven year old with his reading and math. Then, I give them a break to play or watch a fun, short movie, like Veggie Tales or one of the many options on SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
Then it’s time for more schoolwork, such as history and science. After that, it’s outside playtime, while I clean up the house and do laundry. Then, we have lunch and go outside for more playtime and nature study, or inside play if it’s nasty out. About 12:30, its naptime! I love naptime, and it’s rejuvenating for everyone.
At 3:30, when everyone wakes up, we finish up any undone work, and then the boys go out for some more play or watch a short movie. They also help pick up toys and any other chores that I need their help with. I try to encourage as much outside time as possible!
We try to stay flexible, but I’ve found that we all do much better with a routine (not a strict schedule). The kids know what to expect and when to expect it. And I can plan my days accordingly, so we have time for extra trips to Grandma’s or a picnic. This makes for a lot less stress!
However, I wouldn’t want anyone to think that our days run like clockwork, that no one gets cranky or into trouble, or that the toddler doesn’t climb onto the table and slings yogurt all over my kitchen, because these things happen on a regular basis. Having a routine doesn’t make for perfection; just a bit more predictability, which makes it better for all of us!
Jenny Underwood is a wife to her amazing husband of 17 years and stay-at-home momma to 3 kids with another on the way. She blogs at https://www.inconvenientfamily.com where she is learning that blessings aren’t always convenient.