I feel like my kids behave better and are all together happier when they are given direction and know what to expect. Lately I have been trying to find the best daily routine that will help things go as smoothly as possible. Without a routine things can get awfully chaotic around here! And with the time change and with days getting shorter, we spend most late afternoons and nights indoors so have had to make some adjustments. After trying some different things (what to do right when the kids wake up, when to end play time, when to cook dinner, what to have the kids do right after dinner, right before bed, etc), I have finally found a routine that works best for us. For now at least! It seems like whenever I feel like I have things down something happens and my world is turned upside down again... like what we'll be bringing home 4 months from now :)
Here's what our daily routine looks like:
* Read books to whoever wakes up first until another little body joins us
* Clean up breakfast while the kids play
* Get dressed, make bed
* At this point, up until dinner, our days vary a lot and are very flexible. Sometimes we'll meet up with friends for a playgroup, go to the library, go to the grocery store, play in the basement while I exercise or work on some project, go to the park (although our park days are almost over... sad!), color, play with playdough... whatever we need or want to do
* John goes to school from 11:45-3:30. Joe takes a nap and I get some one on one time with Dan... reading books, doing puzzles, making preparations for dinner, baking cookies or bread... I quite enjoy this time of day!
*Dinner around 5:30 or 6. I've been trying to do all the prep work and cleanup earlier in the afternoon so that all I have to do for dinner is put something in the oven or open the crockpot. This has helped a TON. The kids are usually a little tired and always hungry right before dinner and demand a lot of my attention. Being prepared for dinner is probably the thing that has helped the most with things running smoothly at night. Especially since I'm usually on my own (Pete hasn't been getting home until 7 or 8... thus the need for a good routine!)
*After the kids bring their dishes to the sink they head down to the basement or wherever they've been playing all day to clean up while I clean up dinner. This is also another part of our routine that has worked GREAT. We usually make it a race, and the kids have become mighty fast!
* Brush teeth
* Read books (John has to read 20 minutes each day for school)
* Read scriptures
* Say prayers
* To bed! Phew! If I can get the kids to bed by 8 I consider it a success. That leaves 2 hours or so for me and Pete. Then it's off to bed for me and time to do it all over again!
What things do you have in your routine to help things run smoother?