I am not a scheduled person, ya'll. I'm kind of random and I get bored easily. I like to switch things up.
Yet, I have kids who need schedules and structure. "High nurture, high structure" is the parenting philosophy that Deborah Gray lays out in her book Attaching in Adoption. High structure is hard for me to do, but my kids need it.
At this point I have a 5-year-old and a 4 1/2-year-old who are both home with me fulltime. E will start half-day kindergarten next month (woah, that's really soon!), but J-Man will continue to stay home with me and "homeschool" for preschool. We've decided to keep him home another year instead of putting him in preschool so I will teach him some things at home and we'll probably sign him up for sports or other activities.
Anyway, I realized the other day that most of my kids' day consists of free play. I believe in the power of play, especially for kids from hard places. I believe play is learning, therapy, healing, connection all rolled into one. However, I realize they would do better with a little more structure. They end up bored a lot of times and that makes them get into mischief or just bug each other.
So I revised my very loose schedule that previously hung on the fridge! I filled in some gaps. I blocked out some "preschool" time.
I'm still not sticking to it completely, but my days feel more structured and I feel better about it.
Here's the still-loose, but less-loose schedule I've now stuck on my fridge:
7 Everyone up. Really, my kids are usually up between 6 and 6:30, but I've trained them that I will come out at 7. Yay me. They are supposed to turn on the tv or play quietly until 7. I usually try to get up by 6:30 and read my Bible or devotional before coming out to face the day at 7.
7:20 Breakfast & Coffee. Coffee is crucial here, people. J-Man wakes up hungry so I have to feed him right away.
7:40 TV. I try to limit my kids' tv time to an hour a day. I relax on that rule on the weekends and a little more often in the summer. So if they haven't watched an hour yet, they will usually turn on the tv after breakfast. If I slept through my Bible reading time, I will sometimes steal away to do this now.
8:30 Get dressed and brush teeth. This is for me and the kids.
9-11:15 Preschool. This is the time of day I want to start making the most structured. My husband gets home from work around 9:30 (he works odd hours and split shifts) and so this time of day tends to be all of us wandering around the house, trying to check off our own to do lists, or trying to figure out what to do. This has needed to change. So I want to start structuring more outside play, workbooks, art, and computer games in here. We also have snack around 9:30.
12 Clean up.
12:30 Quiet time. Mom does chores. Some days my boys still take naps, but every day they spend about a hour playing quietly in their rooms. This is a sanity saver in our house. For all of us. I typically rest during this time, but I think I'm ready to make a switch with that. I would like to make this my chore time, my get my crap done time, so that I'm not so scattered when my kids are up and so that my evenings are free to hang out with my husband.
2:30-4 Errands. I've been doing all my errands by myself when my husband's home, but I think I need to start just making my kids come with me sometimes. Structure, right? Of course, I don't run errands every day so this might be chore time for my kids, too. I think I need to start giving them some more household responsibilities.
4:30 Make Dinner.
5:30 Eat Dinner.
7:30 Read, Bed. Parents Relax. If my kids haven't napped, I put them to bed around 7:45, but if they have napped, I'll let them stay up till about 8:15. Then I want to focus more on relaxing with Chris instead of trying to get stuff done once they go to bed!
So there you have it. It's still rough and there are some up-in-the-air ideas, but I feel better about having a little more structure for the kids.
How about you? Do you stick to a schedule or is your day more free flow?