Monday, February 15, 2010

Stepping Through Our Day

Allyson says, "I'm always curious to see how other moms of little ones structure their day to get everything done. I know it's not very fun to write about, but practical wisdom is what I need right now."

Angela says, "I also think it is fun to see how others' days are structured between meals and schooling and laundry and wiping bums, I mean noses.  I am always surprised with 'new' ways to do things, or feel normal that I may be doing things somewhat correctly."

Michelle says, "I'd love to here how you structure your day."


There is much to say on the subject and many days I feel like I'm floundering.  Just when I feel like we have hit smooth road, a bump comes and I topple and have to rethink our structure.  How thankful I am for God's grace.  Without it, I could not handle this busy life alone.  Schedules are meaningless without outside strength! 

That being said, we have a basic daily schedule .  I try to keep it flexible, but it helps to know what to expect next.  Not only does it help me anticipate what I need to do next regardless of how foggy my sleepy brain, but it helps the children maintain a sense of order.  We tweak our plan as necessary throughout the year.  For example, Brian is off every January and February so the days are full, but we eat our evening meal earlier and put the kids to bed in early evening.  In the spring and summer when Brian works long hours, we eat later (or eat without him) and the children stay up later to play with him and to enjoy the longer sunlight hours.  And of course, some months of the year we take off from school and that changes the dynamics of the day also. 

I like to think of the before-lunch hours as our Power Morning because the majority of the work of our day is accomplished during this time.  After we are all groomed and fed, I take about twenty mintues to do a small cleaning project.  I have a general cleaning routine that I spread throughout the week.  On Mondays, I thoroughly  vacuum the downstairs.  (Of course, many touch-ups are performed on other days.) On Tuesday, I vacuum the upstairs.  Dusting is on Wednesdays.  I clean the bathroom on Thursdays.  And so it goes.  Once that is complete, I throw in a load of laundry and we begin our school day.  

Since the kids are little, much of their school work requires my help and guidance.  We begin with Bible reading and history reading and one other subject (nature or art or music, etc.).  I require the little ones to sit with us for these times, too, so we are all together and the house stays relatively straight.  When we move onto seatwork, I let the younger ones play quietly and the two in school sit at the table and work as indepently as possible.  Often, I use this time to start another load of laundry and start dinner.  That's right.  I've found that peeling vegetables and browning meat and cutting out biscuits goes much more smoothly in the morning when I am fresh and the children are occupied and well-rested.   Sometimes I finish dinner in the morning and store it in the refrigerator to re-warm in the evening.  Sometimes I simply store the prepared ingredients and finish cooking closer to meal time. 

By lunchtime, schoolwork is done.  The laundry is dry and waiting the be folded.  Dinner is semi-prepared and one section of the house has been cleaned. 

Immediately following lunch, I do the dishes (We don't have a dishwasher.) and then we have a much-needed rest.   We settle on the couch for reading time.  I let the children choose one or two books each or we read for our current chapter book.  Soon it is time for Benjamin to nap and quiet time for the everyone else.  Some days we have a formal quiet time where each child has to be in their own space with a pile of books and a talking restriction.  Some days they are allowed to play quietly together in their room.  Some days, they gather on my bed and watch a video together.  After a quick straighten-up, I use this time for quiet, too.  I catch up on e-mails, write a letter, read, make phone calls, or take a nap myself. 

All too soon, the house fills with chatter again as we reconvene in the living room after rest.  Since the housework is complete and dinner is well underway, we often go outside to play or play an indoor game.  This is also the time when I sit down to fold the morning's laundry pile.  The kids are responsible for taking it upstairs and putting it away. 

We eat almost as soon as Brian gets home.  The after-dinner hour seems to bring out the fidgets in the kids.  While Brian and I are cleaning up the kitchen, they often get into tussles and the noise level rises.  It is in everyone's best interest to give them purpose after dinner whether it is providing a chore to do or a game to play.

Once the kitchen is clean and dishes are put away, we have a family time of sorts.  This can mean Bible study or taking a walk or simply talking while enjoying a snack.  We don't bathe the kids every day, but if it needs doing, this is the time. Their bedtime is around eight.  In the winter, it is often earlier and in the summer, later.  Brian puts the three older children to bed and read from a chapter book of his choice.  I nurse Benjamin and put him to bed. 

We insist that the house be quiet after bedtime.  The children are not allowed to get back up for a drink or a toy (although it does happen).  This means that Brian and I have two to three hours of peaceful time at night to  read or talk or blog or watch a movie together.  I often multi-task and sew while doing other activities.  Before we go to bed, we make sure the downstairs is tidy and fresh to begin the next morning! 


  1. You truly are super-mom! You inspire me - thanks for sharing!

  2. that felt like as close a glimpse as possible
    of my life 20 years ago.

    you're right, a schedule is a good use,
    to modify, to throw out the window!

    if you have no schedule, you are letting the day
    schedule you!

    someday, your children will thank you, i promise.


  3. Wow. What a goal!! I would love to run my house this way... but I am so flighty and sporadic and bad at schedules. You sure do make it sound divine!


  4. Thanks for sharing your schedule! I love that it seems so simple... so do-able. I may have to read it over again and give something similar a try! I love that everything yucky is done before lunch. :)


  5. Sounds like a great schedule ,it seems structured and yet relaxed and natural .
    I think I'll put some of these things into practice myself .
    And hopefully I can do it more than once LOL :)

  6. Thanks so much for sharing. I have been re-thinking our schedule for after Britni graduates and you have given me some good ideas for Abi. Your day sounds so peaceful.

  7. Of course, our schedule is different because we are at a different stage...but I agree that a flexible schedule is such a useful tool! Scheduling doesn't come easy to a natural procrastinator (that's me!), but it's worth the effort to put some structure in the day. (And flexibility is key.)

  8. What a wonderful schedule! I might steal a few ideas from you! And I agree, you are truly an inspiring mom!

  9. The flow of your days sound much like ours, Kristin!

    Blessings to you and yours...

  10. Thanks! Some great tips and some things to make me feel normal. My kids are doing and putting away their laundry, doing dishes, cleaning....glad to see other moms are EXPECTING things from their children as well. Have a super terrific day...

  11. Wonderful post. I really need to get back into our schedule. Our days sure do run smoother with some sort of plan.

    Just wondering, what time do your children wake up? I'd love for Tim & I to have some time in the evenings, but with Eliya and Jonathan (to potty) still waking up throughout the night and Emahry and Jonathan getting up around 5 AM, Tim and I seem to conk out as soon as the kids are asleep.

    Any tips on getting toddlers to sleep in later. (Our kids are normally aslepp by 7:30 or 8.)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...