Now the kids are back to school or kindy, you’ve got all the time in the world right?
Have you spent the last week being busy or flapping around, spinning the wheels like always?
If you haven’t had a calm and peaceful start to the year…this is your challenge for this weekend:
Sit down with your children and put together some morning and evening schedules so you all have a clear plan of what needs to be done and by when.
It sounds silly but this is the one thing that has changed our lives.
Now just to add in a little disclaimer: our kids are 8 and 10 now, but we started this when our eldest was in 4 year-old kindy. They’re never too young, just adjust the way you approach it.
This is how it goes in our house:
We sit down together and decide what we MUST do. Which is simple - leave for school/kindy at 8:30 at the latest!
Then we ask the kids what do we need to do before we leave? Then we write the list down in a rough copy - just everything that we need to do before we leave. We always put down all the kids suggestions regardless. If they get a bit excited and you don't agree with what they say - DON'T SAY NO. Just say, let's have a play on the list and factor that in to your timetable, but keep them focused on their MUST DO list.
Then once it's complete we prioritise it. What do we want to do just before we leave? What’s the last thing we should do? Then working back from that we form a list from finish to start, with the kids deciding the order. If they have full responsibility at this stage, it’ll work a treat because they have set the expectations for themselves!!
Then we simply allocated how much time we think it is going to take for each task. Older kids can be involved, younger kids still have the discussion but you do the deciding. Make sure you add in a fluff factor - 10 minutes is realistic - allow 15-20 if you can. If this means you’re getting up at 4am, take a good look at how much you have on your list, MUST you do all of it?
We then make a beautiful chart to put on the wall for us all to see every morning. This has helped everybody understand exactly what they need to do it at every time during the day which alleviates any issues that we might have and gives the children ownership over their day. Plus, if Grandma or a friend is doing the morning routine, the schedule is on the fridge so for the kids, nothing changes!!
Our job is not to tell them what to do, don't be an authoritarian, that won't work - your job is to help them stay on track (their track), by simply referring to the schedule. Please try and get out of the habit of telling them, "And now you need to..." - simply ask them the time and what should they be doing now.
If they can’t tell the time yet, you tell them the time and ask, what does the schedule say, or point to the next thing, what do we need to do now? This will take a little while but I promise, not being a dictator to your kids will pay off. It’ll take longer initially, but give it a couple of weeks, stay calm, supportive and most importantly CONSISTENT, it’ll work!
It’s at this point I’d like to make a note: some parents like to give their children a lot of chores in the morning, those parents are the frazzled, frustrated parents who's kids aren’t doing anything they should.
Decide as a family what is the most important thing for you to have every single day and only put those things on the list. Once you’re doing everything calmly and orderly you’ll find you create twice as much free time, then you can add in the extras. Make sure what you’re doing allows for slow mornings while still crossing everything off, then nothing is negotiable.
Once you make even one little thing negotiable it all turns to dust - I promise!
In the afternoons and on the weekends, you can decide if you’d want to give your children extra tasks and chores. In my opinion mornings should be for connections and calmly setting you ALL up for a happy and successful day.
I have attached our current plan as an example as well as an idea for the little kids to help in a more visual way.
Please join our brand new Facebook group to discuss this and everything parenting in more detail, I would love to hear your thoughts and for you to share your experience!