The week has been incredibly busy already. It is report card time at work, so evenings are even more jam-packed once the boys are in bed than usual. Homework is cranking up, and I am sure the stores are getting further away from my house every time I need something I forgot to get during the weekly shop. Yet, even though I am rushed off my feet, I stopped to take in something; this was something I had not taken the time to think about for a while, seeing it again stopped me in my tracks. You see, I was going through old files on my portable hard drive and I found memories….many wonderful, meaningful memories from my children’s early days.
Seeing pictures of my sons as babies is fairly common in my house; I have several framed baby pictures scattered around. It was the pictures of my children as toddlers and pre-schoolers that just whisked me back to days of wonderment and awe, imagination and discovery, and schedules!
Yep! I had rediscovered how scheduled I had been in my past life. I worked, the children went to nursery school and then pre-school, but my life was more orderly (for the most part) and I enjoyed more time with my children. (Did the days get shorter as they got older?) Of course, I had a teacher style schedule set up for the summer, but it was fun and ensured I did not waste the days planning for something and not actually getting round to doing it. Here is my summer fun schedule for my pre-school aged sons:
7:00-9:00 Breakfast, brush teeth, clean up, free play
9:00-10:00 Fine motor skills: including writing numbers and letters, tying shoes, cutting, gluing, etc.
10:00-10:45 Independent playtime
10:45-11:45 Outside play (weather permitting) or inside activities
12:15-12:30 Brush teeth, clean up
12:30-2:30 Nap/rest time: Quiet activities such as board games, puzzles, and computer programs
2:30-3:00 Afternoon snack
3:00-3:45 Outside play (weather permitting) or inside activities
3:45-5:00 Painting, crafts, theme week activities, projects, etc.
5:00-5:30 Late snack
5:30-6:30 Clean-up, plan for the next day, story time, dinner
My kids were very happy during this period. They knew what to expect and felt comforted by a routine. I remember how Button would question my changes: he was okay with them once I explained we were doing a full day activity together (or something along those lines), but always relying on the schedule to know what to expect and when. I made sure to let the children know about changes the day before so they could prepare.
My trip down memory lane has served a great purpose. It has reminded me of what worked in my life before Button got sick and everything went out the window. I realized today that we are rebuilding our lives and that we are finding ourselves as a family once more. We are almost three years beyond the schedule above. My kids have homework, activities, PT, play dates and interests that don’t involve Mommy or Daddy.
Our family needs a schedule that works for us now. One that gives each of us time to do what we need to, yet allows us all to come together frequently. I cannot go by my old teacher-led instincts for this schedule. It needs to be shaped according the Z family.
My next post will discuss the importance of schedules and how to create one. I will be revisiting some old techniques I used which were successful, including lists of chores for various age groups. We are getting the Z family into order, just by using the knowledge and experience I already have. I also welcome your ideas and suggestions. Every family is different but we can take what works for ourselves in our own, unique and wonderful situations.