Monday, October 25, 2010

Messy Monday: Implement a Routine

Awhile back, when I was really struggling with figuring out a workable plan to help my manage my home and family (not that I'm through that stage yet!), I came across a great tip on the former website Biblical Womanhood to plan a morning routine. Implementing that idea greatly helped to curb some of the chaos, or at the very least, to direct it, thereby making it feel more manageable.

Here's how it worked:

Every morning, think of three to five things that absolutely have to be done and list how you'll do them--in order.
While you can change your tasks daily, I have found it most helpful to allow these three to five items to remain consistent each day. That way, you don't have to think about them (after all, there's already enough to think about!); you just do them.

So for me, my routine morning items were:
  • Make breakfast
  • Clean up breakfast (table, dishes, sweep floor)
  • Have the kids get dressed if not already and make beds, brush teeth, comb hair
  • Throw in a load of laundry
I can't tell you how much it helped me to having this guiding direction. It helped me focus when things felt like they were spinning out of control, like when I discovered the boys dumped an entire bottle of Softsoap on the bathroom floor and were pouring water on it to "clean it up," since it kept sudsing as they tried to wipe it up. Tend to those unexpected interruptions, and then get back to the routine.

As it became more comfortable and routine, I added onto it a bit. Now, after laundry, on a good day, the boys will help with chores. On a bad day, they watch a PBS cartoon while I do a chore.

At 9AM, I aim to have our morning routine jobs completed and we head to the living room for Bible time. We listen to a fun Scripture memory song (my kids love this CD--20 Bible Verses Every Child Should Know), read the corresponding story, read a chapter in the Bible, go over AWANA verses, and then get on with our kindergarten lesson plans (usually my younger two head off to play).

Around 10:30, we take a break for a snack and some free time, and then I finish whatever else we need to work on, and we're usually done by lunch time. Although I didn't start out with scheduling times for my morning routine, as it has become more ingrained, I find the times naturally fall into place, give or take a few minutes.

If scheduling your day according to the clock seems to overwhelming, structured or rigid for you right now, I encourage you to try easing into a daily routine, starting with simply three to five things you can do this very morning.

You can read more, and see an old picture routine chart I made for the kids, here.

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