Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Routines

When Natalie was really small, I used to write down our routines all the time.  Having strict routines helped me have control in the overwhelming stretches of time that filled our days.  Routine is still important to us, and we credit it for a lot of the kids positive behaviors, but its not as sacred as it once was. 

With Natalie home from school for the summer, we started new daily routines. 

Natalie usually gets up about 7.  I'm not really sure when William wakes up.  Our baby monitor died and William still doesn't come out of his room on his own.  Now that we are potty training, I try to get to him pretty quickly once I hear him.  Still, most mornings it is Natalie who is up first, or Mike wakes both kids to say goodbye on his way out the door for work. 

Immediately, William goes to the bathroom for that easy success.  Then, we have breakfast.  While the kids eat, I do a number of things like setting up their toothbrushes, putting away pots that air dried over night, making my tea, putting dishes in the dishwasher, picking out William's clothes, gathering library books, and opening blinds. 

Once the kids are done eating, we now immediately brush teeth.  Before, William did not brush his teeth in the morning and Natalie usually had to pulled away from something else to do it before we ran out the door.  This system is working very well. 

After teeth, the kids get dressed.  Natalie enjoys choosing her clothes, but William is a bit more of a fight as he'd rather do other things. 

We can get all this done by 8am, which is my goal because I want all this to be second nature for the school bus pick up in the fall, which could be as early as 8am. 

Next we have notebook time at the kitchen table (which I've cleared of dishes).  Natalie enjoys notebook time, but William doesn't because he is only three.  I like having this focused time on something educational before they watch any TV.  I only force them to do a few minutes, but can usually get them to play with the stuff for longer.  (For example, today William and I did an alphabet puzzel and Natalie just did some letter writing practice, but a few days ago Natalie cut out pages for a book that we then read together (she read the sight words and I read the longer words) while William did some pre-writing games and lacing cards). 

After notebook time its TV.  While they watch something, I have breakfast, shower, and get dressed.  If we aren't going out, I will start to use this time for laundry, cleaning, and shopping list making. 

Usually, its getting close to our time to go out for errands or activities.  These are the same as they've been for a while.  We have play group one or two times a week and story time once a week.  We usually put in a second library trip near the end of the week.  Some weeks we go to the park in the morning or meet friends somewhere.  Near the end of the week, we go grocery shopping. 

When we get home, I make lunch right away.  They sometimes eat while watching TV and other times eat at the kitchen table.  Depending on how late or hot it is, and if they have already been outside or not, they might play outside for another 30 minutes before nap time. 

No matter when it starts, nap time is over at 3.  Sometimes, they sleep, but usually nap time is just independent play in their rooms.  I sometimes feel bad about forcing them to play alone, but I think it is very important for them to just figure out their own  play without me or each other.  I overhear all sorts of awesome play.  If they do sleep, I won't wake anyone up until 430, but usually they don't sleep they come out of their rooms right at 3.  This also works well for the school year as that is about when the bus drops Natalie off. 

After nap, its a trip to the potty for William, and then I get snack ready.  After snack, they usually go outside to play, unless it is raining (and they don't want to go out with coats, books, and umbrellas) or it is really hot.  I try to stick to the rule of no TV until after 4, and push that as late as possible, especially when they are playing outside. 

Once the TV is back on (or sometimes Natalie is playing on the computer on Sesame Street.org or StarFall.com), it is time for me to start thinking about evening preparations.  I do a little tidying up (especially William's room), start dinner, do dishes, get the trash ready on Mondays, maybe fold laundry if there is any. 

Dinner is when Mike gets home about 6.  Mike starts getting bath ready about 645.  While he does bath, I clean up the kitchen, try to get to the toys in the living room, and tidy up the kids' rooms, especially anything needed for them to go to sleep, like getting toys off the beds and finding loveys.  I've started to make getting them ice water part of doing the dishes so that it doesn't interrupt bedtime. 

William takes his bath first, so he gets out first.  Usually, I get him dressed and then start reading to him.  Natalie gets out of the bath a bit later and is ready for stories after getting dressed and brushing teeth.  Mike and I switch, and he finishes William's stories and I finish up with Natalie, usually reading to her from a chapter book. 

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