Thursday, 2 February 2017

Routine/Schedules/Daily Flow

A wee word about routine/schedule/breathing out/breathing in etc (depending on what philosophy you like!).

Different parents/children like different amounts of structure.   From complex down-to-the-minutes charts that neatly orchestrate a large family with many jobs to do, to nothing written, no plans, free-and-easy-and-everyone-is-happy-with-it families.

The down-to-the-minute charts are fun to make, but they DO take concentrated effort to train everyone in how to follow the chart (I kno this from experience!).  Also, Mum needs to follow up to ensure people are doing what they're supposed to be, and have completed jobs correctly.  It's totally do-able if you have the energy and the enthusiasm!  

The free-and-easy approach sounds great and it can be (I know this from experience too!!), but if you find your children bored and bickering, or wrecking things due to lack of direction, then you might feel to instigate a little more structure.

There is no ONE correct way.  Find the way that most people in your family are happy with (sadly, often, you can't please ALL the people ALL the time!).

And in different seasons of your life you will probably have to change it up a bit.  That's fine too.

Finding your way on the routine/daily flow path starts with looking at when you get up in the morning and when you go to bed. 
It can help to make a wee chart for yourself.

Slot in any sleep times that younger ones have.
If your smallest is just a baby, then it might be best to let things rest for a wee while, till some order presents itself with feeds and sleeps.
So, after wake up, naps (or quiet time after lunch where everyone reads/plays/listens to music/stories by themselves depending on age) and bedtime, slot in your meals and snacks. Then you can see you have "pockets of time" to spend however you want!

A day at home with young children might look like:

Wake Up, dress, wash etc

Breakfast, cleanup etc (vacuum, clothes washing, make beds ...)
PLAY, mostly without Mum, or do jobs together
Morning tea, cleanup etc
Read out loud, puzzles, baking, colouring, Lego - together
Lunch, cleanup etc
Quiet time
Outdoor time, painting, gardening etc
Afternoon tea, cleanup and start tea prep
Play, mostly without mum, watch video etc
Tea time, cleanup etc
In summer play outside, winter play inside

(You can create "mini-routines" for any of these events i.e., bedtime routine, morning tea routine etc if you want to) 

Because YOU know your children best then you can have things to suit their energy levels at various times of the day.

As your children grow the routine can stay the same if they're happy with that, you might notice the need for more time alone for some children to pursue things they're interested in learning deeply, or a child may want more time with you discussing things, researching, needing you to be more available with your confirmation, love or attention.

Routine/Schedule can seem like a complex thing - especially if one has experience of an institutional setting (school, preschool, kindy etc) where they NEED routine.  If your child has been in that situation (or if you have taught in that situation) you might feel that it would be beneficial to create that situation at home.    But you don't NEED to, and often it can cause more stress as you try to deal with "interruptions" and "zig-zags" in the day.

Any questions?  You can either leave a comment here, or visit our Facebook page  Adventures In Natural Learning

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