The Ant Bug graduated from Kindergarten this week. Let the summer fun begin! We have all been looking forward to summertime, and the increased hours available for water fun (what else can we do in the Florida heat?). However, for the last few weeks I have also been thinking a lot about our daily life, the things we want/need to accomplish each day, and how we can all stay engaged in good activities and refrain from squabbling and whining.
This year we are finally at a place in our lives (the kids and myself) where I can lay out a predictable daily routine. The biggest help is that Little Boy Z is very predictable in his sleeping schedule. He takes a morning nap beginning at 9:30-ish for 1.5 hours, then another nap at 3pm for about 1.5 hours. Monday night I sat down and created a daily schedule, working around sleep time. We have tried it for two days, and I like it so far. We still have a few kinks to work out but the girls are responding well. I love having a schedule to rely on, and children really thrive on routines.
The trickiest part for me to figure out is the time slot from 3-5pm. I need a few minutes of quiet time with Little Boy Z to get him ready for his nap, but I also needed something for my girls to do. In the past they have watched a show, but I wanted to avoid that so early in the afternoon because they seem to have a hard time turning the show off at the required time, and then I have grumpy children to deal with for awhile.
So… enter the “listening and coloring segment”. The girls get to choose something to listen to (like an audiobook or classical music or children’s recording), and to keep their hands busy they can color a picture while they listen. So far, so good. Yesterday they listened to Peter and the Wolf (we’ve been listening to this a lot lately) and drew some great pictures.
Today they listened to a Winnie the Pooh story CD we had checked out of the library.
In the future we have plans to do the Carnival of the Animals, and other classical music. I will have to see what audio books I can find at the library. Any suggestions?
After listening and coloring comes quiet time. Once my kids outgrew their naps, I haven’t really been able to implement a quiet time. I am trying again, with a few challenges to overcome. The first is space: ideally, each child should be in their own room. But my girls share a room, so the best solution I can come up with is for them to alternate days, one girl upstairs in the bedroom and the other downstairs in the living room with me. But, we also have to deal with some fears about being alone upstairs, so we are still figuring this one out. I’m hoping that this will motivate them a little “After you do your quiet time in your room, you can pick the show to watch” (for 30 minutes).
So in case this might inspire you, here is our daily schedule. Keep in mind that times are not set in stone (you won’t catch me waking up a child who wants to sleep in past 7 a.m.!), but this gives us a good guide and order to follow.
7:00-7:30 a.m. Morning Chores #1: Wake up, get dressed, make bed, put away pajamas, say prayers, read scriptures
7:30 a.m. Family Prayer and Scripture Study
7:40 a.m. Breakfast
8:00-8:30 a.m. Morning Chores #2: Dishes, brush teeth, brush hair, piano practice (Ant Bug), name writing (Sweet Bee)
8:30-9:00 a.m. Free play / Mom shower
9:00-9:20 a.m. Clean up living room
9:30-10 a.m. Screen time (Z nap)
10-10:15 a.m. Snack time
10:15-10:30 a.m. Daily jobs
10:30-12 noon Creative time
12 noon Lunch and clean up
1:00-3:00 p.m. Out and about
3:00-3:15 p.m. Snack time
3:15-4:00 p.m. Quiet time (Z nap)
4:00-4:30 p.m. Screen time
4:30-5:30 p.m. Creative time
5:30 p.m. Evening chores #1: Set table, empty recycling, wash hands
5:45 p.m. Dinner and clean up
6:50-7:20 p.m. Bath time
7:20-7:30 p.m. Snack time
7:30-7:45 p.m. Evening chores #2: Brush teeth, bathroom, pajamas
7:45-8:00 p.m. Family prayer, read aloud chapter books
8:00-8:30 p.m. Quiet time in bed
8:30 p.m. Lights out
Just a few more notes:
“Creative Time” is my code word for craft projects, school activities, workbooks, painting, stories, playdough, science experiments, board games, etc. I want to make a list of all of our ideas for easy inspiration, but that is still on my to-do list for the week. Creative time will also invariably include free play time too, so I have some time slots in the day to do exciting things like clean the bathroom or sweep the floor.
“Out and about” is our time to go to the library, swimming, grocery shopping, errands etc. Sometimes our out and about adventures start a little earlier and involve a picnic lunch, so we adjust the schedule as needed.
Also, I teach piano lessons on the side, so on lesson days our afternoon schedule will look a little different for the girls. (You can check out my brand new Piano Fundamentals blog here-getting this site up and running has made me a little absent from Nurture Mama lately, but “to everything there is a season”, right?!)
I can say more about out chore system if anyone is interested, but I think that is more than enough for this post!