Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Thinking – Rethinking our Routines

We’ve been working on setting up a new routine here this week and there’s still a lot of adjusting and fine-tuning to do. 

Setting aside a large amount of time for “school” one day a week just isn’t cutting it for us right now.  We’ve been trying to make sure to spend one day per week at home, which I feel is reasonable, but I’ve been trying to get all the house-cleaning done that day, set aside a large chunk of time for tot school, and stuff in a bunch of other items from the never-ending to-do list… and I’ve been left feeling pretty… well, crabby, to be honest.  Stressed, exhausted, unhappy… that’s just not the mood I want to be in when M and I have special time together. 

So, I’m thinking of having activities that M can do by himself on Tuesdays (or whatever day it ends up being) that I can check in and out of while I take care of other necessary household *stuff*.  I’m not sure how I want to set this up… maybe tot trays or workboxes.  I like the Montessori method of having a specific “work” area that the child brings the work to, and which he cleans up before picking a new activity.  In my mind it works beautifully, but realistically I’m not sure M will really cooperate with it.  He’s not exactly a pick-up-after-himself sort of guy. :)  But we can all learn, right?  I bought a bamboo mat for him to use as his work area at Target this week as an optimistic act of faith. :) 

The other part of the plan is to then have 20 to 30 minutes a day of what I’m calling “circle time” in my head.  I don’t know what I’ll call it when talking to M; circle time sounds a little funny when it is pretty much just he and I!  But it will be time for a story, one or two activities, poems, songs, flannel board, etc.   I plan to make our weather chart part of this on a daily basis, sense we’ve gotten away from doing it.  Also, we will add in prayers, character building lessons, learn the days of the week, and maybe a game once in a while.   I think I will have it all revolve around certain themes.  The current theme is autumn, and I’m thinking there’s enough resources out there that we could easily do seasonal and holiday themes for a very long time! 

We’ll either try to do this in the mornings or after nap time, before it’s time to start cooking dinner.  M rarely takes a nap any more, I just have him rest for a while after lunch – this is when I let him watch a little TV (usually a dvd of Clifford shows or something along those lines), or sometimes he sits in bed and looks at books.  I’ve thought of doing our “circle time” after lunch since it would be easy to fit in then – but after trying it a couple of times I’ve found it to be disastrous.  He may not need a nap, but I definitely need a break of some sort at that time of day.  That is my energy low point and I need to take that time to rest, focus on something else, and just recharge my batteries. 

We’ve got a busy fall ahead of us – Mondays we have a pray/play group with a bunch of moms at church, then we run errands before lunch; every other Tuesday we will have a class at our local nature center (“playful polliwogs” – isn’t that cute?); Thursdays we’ll alternate between story time at the library and another church pray/play group at various moms’ homes;  Fridays will be our days for field trips or play dates with just one or two friends.  There’s also some activities at the local community center scattered throughout the calendar that we want to go to.  Whew.  I hope we can manage it all… and I hope that if we can’t manage it all I will have the presence of mind to rethink things and say no to some activities.  It’s hard to do, isn’t it?!?!

So, just thought I’d spell it all out here so I have a record of my plans, and maybe I’ll even get a few great suggestions!  Feel free to tell me how you get things done and still have time for your child(ren).

Happy fall!  Have a beautiful day! :) 


  1. I am having schedule issues as well....still trying to find something that works out well with the little ones...

  2. You have a very busy life! I like the idea of workboxes and tried it out at home. Occasionally it works, but only if Anna can somehow integrate it into her own play. Maybe your routine would work better if you have several smaller "school" sessions throughout a week rather than one big one. Then you could potentially focus on different things every day and adjust to what Matthew finds interesting. Good luck!

  3. Wow! You are very busy. I find that doing that much out of the house exhausts Bear. She is a little homebody. As soon as we get in the car, she is already saying, "home, home." LOL.
    We do a little bit of school each day. However, sometimes, it just works to do a lot one day and not much the next.
    Some of "circle time" we do at the breakfast table while we are eating - for us it works well for songs and the story component.

  4. I've been doing a sort of modified workbox system. I bought a 12x12 paper drawer for each kid. In each drawer I put something they can do by themselves. This might be coloring books or puzzles or play dough. So you could do that for cleaning stuff.
    Meh, I just realized you might of just been wanting to vent, and not have someone jump in and solve your problem. I'm working on that one.
    It is hard to say not to things, I certainly suffer from that.

  5. We are a lot like you - get out most mornings for fun activities together/with other kids. We do stay home completely one day/week and that is when we do cleaning/baking for thew eek. I've found reserving about an hour after naptime most days is when I can get the most "mommyschool" done. I work/play with her during that time and then turn her lose with some "tot trays" afterwards - which she does close by while I get dinner ready. Works for us! Good luck.


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