I’m not good at sticking to complicated things. I like to have the freedom to go spend the day out and about without feeling like I need to rush home. Sometimes when we’re at home, though, the kids get restless, and I feel like the day is easier if I have a schedule to fall back on.
This is the activity schedule that we’ve been (loosely) following lately. If they don’t want to do something on the schedule I don’t force them, this is just designed to make the day flow a little easier and make all of us a little happier.
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Before I’ve had time to wake up and become less of a grouchypants, we start by singing a few little songs. It puts me in a good mood (usually) and encourages that patient mom part of me. I also think that it helps them with their patience a little bit, too. Plus, I just think that music is a very important skill to encourage.
If I find that I just really don’t have it in me I’ll set out some instruments instead–they have a keyboard and xylophone that they really enjoy.
We sing lots of Little Baby Bum songs and songs from these children’s music CDs that we use as car music.
Next is breakfast, also known around here as morning monster feeding! Karissa will usually start saying that she wants food and little sister mimics this. Half of the time they repeat it enough to drive me crazy, and the other half of the time they must notice that I’m already crazy because they leave it alone. Sometimes I’ll give them something to do at the table while they wait. This usually helps but depending on the activity can also lead to more mess to clean up.
After food it’s time to clear the table and do some activities that require thinking! This is when we get out the puzzles, do pom pom color sorting, counting exercises, or lacing. Madilyn isn’t super into the puzzles, but I like watching Karissa do them. She will try for a while and then if she can’t get it she will start to get frustrated, but just ask for help.
I think that it’s important to get a little Vitamin D every day, preferably without toxic sunscreen involved. Our backyard has a huge shade tree in it, so we don’t have to worry about too much sun when we’re back there. There’s a 95% chance that the kids want to play in water when we go outside, and only about 5% chance that I get out of it.
Quick, simple snack (hopefully). Lately it’s been leftovers, slices of things like peppers, carrots, cucumbers, cheese or meat.
Madi still absolutely NEEDS a nap every day. Her mood this afternoon indicates that she didn’t sleep enough. Karissa likes to skip naps to hang out with dad instead, but can get pretty grouchy in the afternoons if I let her skip. Naps are usually my favorite part of the day, because if both of them are sleepy then I get to nap and snuggle both kids. Mommies need naps, too!
After we take a nap, we’re all recharged and ready to go. This is the time for creativity and fun at the table! Sometimes it’s as simple as water painting (I love these Melissa and Doug water pads), practicing using scissors, or stringing beads into a necklace.
We’re participating in the Half Price Book summer reading program. To be completely honest, this is mostly to motivate mommy and daddy to read to the kids more. They’ve both been showing lots of desire to read, and Karissa is constantly sitting with books in her lap trying to read by herself, reciting the story, or telling a story based on the pictures on the pages. This is very exciting for me, so I really want to help encourage that desire!
By the time dinner rolls around we’re all ready to sit down and eat together. Usually this is some kind of meat pan fried with vegetables thrown in, sometimes an easy crockpot concoction, or leftovers. Occasionally my husband makes a fantastic brisket that I can whip up veggies for, and usually they last us a week. Of course, after the first two or three days I start to dice it up and throw it in stir frys to make it less briskety.
After dinner we try to get the kids to help us tidy up, I usually try to clean the kitchen and ask them to pick up toys and books. This is met with mixed success, but is infinitely more successful thanks to a work/reward system that I will be writing about soon.
Baths, toothbrushes, diapers, pajamas, and bed!
By this time I’m thankful for some peace and quiet and ready to finish up what I need to get done and hit the hay myself.
Obviously some of our routines will be different than others, but this simple framework works great for our family.