I don’t know about your kids, but my kids thrive on a schedule. It took me a while to figure out how important a set schedule was for our family. Graham gave up his nap right around the time I had Maddie, and our days became super irregular. I was doing my best to fill the long days with activities, and for about a year, we went here and there and our days never looked the same.
Graham’s behavior was terrible during this period. It was actually the therapist that I started seeing for my postpartum depression that insisted we get on a set schedule. And boy, was she right! About a month after we started following our new schedule, I could already see a difference in Graham’s behavior. I think he feels more secure when he knows exactly what the plan is for the day. The schedule also gave me dedicated breaks, which was crucial in my recovery from the depression.
Our schedule during the school year is pretty basic, but the summer requires a little more detail. I like making visual schedules for the kids so they can see the different activities themselves, rather than me telling them what the schedule says. My favorite part about having a posted schedule is that the kids think that the schedule is the boss. For example, if they see the paint supplies in the afternoon while we’re playing (and I’m NOT in the mood to deal with the mess of paint) then I can say to them, “Well, let’s check the schedule and see if it’s time for painting.” We go check the posted schedule and I’ll say, “Oh no. It looks like craft time is in the morning at 10. It’s 4 in the afternoon right now, so we can’t paint. I’m sorry! Looks like we’ll have to wait until tomorrow.” It (usually) helps to prevent tantrums because the kids will believe that the schedule is the rule.
I also love how the schedule has dedicated “play with mama time.” This helps me focus on my kiddos. I try to be the best mom I can be during these time slots. I put my phone out of reach, sit on the floor, and really interact with them and play. It’s done wonders to strengthen my relationship with both of my children, but especially with Graham, after having such a hard time with him during his toddler years. It’s also great for those days when the kids ask me to play with them all day long. You know how it goes – “Mama, play with me! Play with me! Play with me!” I can answer with, “I really want to play with you right now, but the schedule says it’s time for mama to clean up.” Of course there are tons of days where I throw out the schedule and we do something fun together. (There are also lots of days when I skip clean up time. You guys know I’m not a fan of housework!)
We keep our schedule on our fridge and so many people comment on it when we’re hosting play dates or having friends over. A few mom friends have already asked me to email them a copy so they can have a schedule for their kids. So I thought it would be a great thing to share here on my blog. I’ve kept it as an excel document, so that it’s editable and can be customized as needed. Add, delete, and rearrange to fit what works for your family!
If you think your home would benefit from a set schedule, I’d love to share mine with you! (And please remember that I’m not a graphic designer, so it’s not the prettiest schedule you’ve ever seen. But my kids love it, so hopefully your kiddos will like it too!)
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