I would love to say that I could keep up being consistent in my day-to-day life without one but the truth is, I need a schedule. At work, I’ve started to keep a book on my desk – at the start of the day, I make a list of all I need to accomplish that day. As more gets handed to me, I add to the list based on priority. A schedule keeps my mind clear from that constant worry of “what’s next” and I am able to focus on the task at hand.
I think my kids need a schedule just as much as I do. A set schedule is like a promise. I’m sure we are all guilty of the “we’ll do it later” response. It’s meant to stall if we are busy or maybe we hope they will forget the request all together. You will then spend the next couple of hours repeating “not now, later” as the question is repeated over and over. You will get frustrated and your kid will spend that time worrying that you will not follow through.
Now imagine this – your kid asks “mommy, can you play a game with me” and you respond with “how about we play at 3pm”? Keep a daily schedule posted somewhere visible to everyone (a white board works great) and add “play a game – 3pm”. Most importantly, at 3pm, even if your child has long since forgotten the request, make sure you follow through. It may not seem that important to the naked eye but you are actually teaching your child a valuable lesson about keeping your word, as well as reminding them that they are important to you.
Don’t just schedule things that come up – you can prepare your family for daily tasks ahead. Every bath night, we get whining from our oldest. He doesn’t want a bath, he doesn’t think he’s dirty, are we sure it’s bath night, can he have it tomorrow instead? It’s an ordeal just to get the kid anywhere near the bathroom. Of course, once he’s in the tub, I can’t get him out – but the next time I mention the word bath, the whining comes flying out of his mouth. Bath night has always been on a consistent schedule in our house but never in writing until now. Once it’s written for all to see on a daily basis, the whining stops and we get “Mommy is it time for my bath yet”?
A family schedule can also give you that much needed mommy-time you so desperately deserve. Write out your daily schedule – absolutely everything your family does on a day to day basis. There is probably one thing missing from that schedule. You. Schedule yourself in – whether it’s an hour in the tub while daddy takes the kids to the park, a date with your tv while the kids are on a playdate or even sleeping in on Saturday morning while the rest of the family visits Grandma. And most importantly, involve your family in creating the schedule. They will be more receptive to honouring the schedule if they are included in creating it (especially your partner if they get to schedule some daddy-time). If you don’t have another adult at home to help you out, talk to another mommy-friend. Agree to take her kids one afternoon a week if she will return the favour.
Since implementing the schedule in our home, we immediately noticed that our 5 year old has been very receptive. He even suggested we schedule weekly time together. So we put him in charge of Friday nights which he has decided is Family Game Night. We are looking forward to seeing what he has prepared for us tonight!