They duel with me like Lethargarians, "From 9:30 to 10:30 we dawdle and delay. From 1:00 to 2:00 we linger and loiter..." Oh, the banter. It's been an exhausting battle trying to stay on top of school and chores.
I've come across several posts in the past week that made me remember that chaos did not always have the upper hand. Sarah posted pictures of her chore wheels and Jennifer put up her family schedule. Hmm. We used to operate by charts and schedules. Maybe we should try that again.
Duly inspired by the organization of others, I spent all last weekend making up a schedule and chore charts (I went with rectangles. Circles baffle me.) Stuart leaned over me and offered helpful suggestions. "Why don't you switch Faith and Lauren's piano lesson with science."
"Honey, if I move that this whole thing will collapse in on itself. Now leave me alone and let me think!" After two days of mental anguish and finagling, I finished putting my brain on paper. It now takes up an entire wall in our back hall.
(The kids pretend their chore charts are hotels and every morning Charlie rushes to move the window washers on everyone's boards to the next window.)
The Master Schedule
It's been a great week. The children have plowed through a mountain of school work. The house is in order. Everyone is happier and I feel more like a mom than a traffic cop.
Kate's Guidelines for Creating and Living on a Schedule
1. Create your personal schedule first.
2. Fit your children's activities around your schedule.
3. Don't fill up every minute of the day. (I left myself several empty blocks of time to fill however seems best each day.)
4. Schedule a quiet time for your children. They need quiet even if they have moved out of the nap stage.
5. Schedule activities where your children can work in pairs or small groups. (You can enlarge our master schedule to see how this works at our house.)
6. Alternate calm and active activities.
7. If you have young children, expect everything to be thrown entirely off kilter when little Xerxes strips out of his diaper or dumps over the potted plants. You'll get back on track in an hour or two. Or you can always call it a day and pile all the kids in the car and go to the park.
8. If you have infants and toddlers, expect to have to create a new schedule every few months.
9. You might not want or need a schedule for the entire day. You may find that a couple of scheduled hours is just the thing to eliminate the dinnertime/bathtime/bedtime crazies.
10. A schedule is a tool not a guilt trip. You will have rough days. See number seven. But the good days will outnumber the bad with this tool in place.