Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Coffee Talk Thursday: Where to Begin?

After thinking through whether a more structured approach to your day is the right approach for your family or not, depending on how new you are to all of this, you may need some help getting started. I'm here for you! Let's have coffee and talk away :)
So the first step is to think hard about what you want to accomplish each day. What things do you have to do? What do you want to do? What would you like to do but never seem to have time to do? Just write it all down. No one is going to critique you for wanting to watch old Smurf cartoons (well, that's a little weird, but ok, let's go with it anyway).

Now, I know what it feels like when you want to make some changes to start chomping at the bit and just want everything to be the way you want it to be, right now.  While it's hard, we just need to rein ourselves in and be patient. Change will come and things will be better, but we need to work hard to get to that goal.

Think about getting out of debt. It doesn't happen overnight but is a slow and steady process. (Even if we use that "gazelle intensity" that Dave Ramsey talks about, our home won't magically be perfectly tidy and running smoothly hour after hour immediately. It will take some time. Sigh).

As we look toward implementing a routine, first get the skeleton of your day down:
  • Think about rhythms and patterns--what goes well with what?
  • What set things do you have to work around? What groups well with those?
  • Don't get hung up on finding the "perfect" thing for a time slot. Just pick something and make it perfect!

 After a good week of thinking about this and praying about it, I developed this little routine sheet, which I illustrated so my kids could easily refer to it as well. Structuring our morning this way really helped my right-brain as well. (In case you're wondering, I was not an art major)



(torn courtesy my 2 year old, as well as additional scribbles)
(Disclaimer: I did not draw the red "hammer" over the bed, and I do not wake my children up using a hammer) :)
So I will now translate my hieroglyphics for you:) We read from left to right, top row to second row.
  1. Wake up (this is usually around 7)
  2. Get dressed
  3. Breakfast
  4. Mom cleans up breakfast
  5. Bible time
  6. Mom nurses baby (notice floating baby above "Bible")
  7. Boys go up to brush teeth/make beds/get dressed if they didn't earlier
  8. Chore #1 (usually throw in a load of laundry; maybe do something else quick)
  9. Activity #1 (right now we are working through Sonlight's PreK curriculum)
  10. (not featured) Boys outside around 11 am to play
  11. Lunch
  12. Lunch clean-up
  13. Nap
  14. Stories
  15. Additional scribbles yet to be interpreted (a penguin on an iceberg?)

 That is about as far as I got, which on our clock brings us to about 3:30 pm. Do we follow this everyday? No. But having it as a guide is nice. Takes the guesswork out of what to be doing next. Now if we want to get all fancy with it, we could begin to assign some times to our activities which is what I am in the process of doing. I am also trying to figure out what our afternoons should look like past 3:30. Lately we've been having snack time, then maybe outside for a walk around 4, boys free time while I make dinner. I would do well to plan a few half-hour chunks after dinner as well (chunks and dinner don't sound good together, do they?!), so I am intentional about getting a few things done, instead of just taking the night off (which sounds really good right about now!).

I'd love to hear what works for you. Do you have a time schedule or a routine? Please share your's! I'd also love to hear how you arrived at it. Do you find it makes a difference in your family's life? Tell me about it!
If nothing else, what was your favorite part of my drawing? :) Hope you enjoyed your coffee!







1 comment:

  1. I am a scheduled person; I prefer to semi-control the day rather than the day controlling me. Having said that, our schedule varies on day of week, season, etc.

    BUT, the one most important thing I have found that needs to be absolutely consistent for me is to have some alone time before the kids wake up. For me, a minimum of 1 1/2 hours is preferred. This gives me time to enjoy a steamin' cup of coffee or 2, have some devotion and prayer time and also get in some exercise. I also like to look over my to-do list and calendar for the day and get my "mental bearings" before the hosue is filled with noise from 5 kiddos! I occasionally have time to read this blog and make a comment......

    On the rare occasions I rise with my children (or worse yet, they beat me up) I ALWAYS regret not giving up that extra sleep to have some personal quiet time in anticipation of a busy and often loud day!

    Food for thought.