March 18, 2008

Getting Back on Track

I've known for awhile that I needed to majorly tweak our daily schedule. The one that had been posted on our refrigerator was put together at a time when Kenna was nursing 4-5 times a day and napping about 3 times a day, so obviously it's been obsolete for awhile!

Last week I made it a priority to evaluate our activities and put some structure to them. I've long known that in our household, anyway, unstructured "free time" leads to mass chaos, major sibling squabbles, and a frazzled and frustrated mom. I prayed a lot about how to handle the afternoons, which is where things have ALWAYS broken down. The kids were whining to watch various PBS programs, and I had no rhyme or reason for letting them or not letting them, other than I would feel guilty if it seemed they had been having too much "screen time." Computer time was another issue--it used to be in the mornings, taking me away from school instruction when someone strayed into another web site and couldn't figure out how to get back to the game at hand. (There were also issues with Tobin finding new web sites that I hadn't had a chance to approve!)

So. Last Wednesday I had a working schedule together, and we've been practicing it for a week and a half trial run. It's even color-coded; thanks, Sarah, for that idea! (I just need to get a new color cartridge so the colors are the right ones!!) So far things seem to be falling into place beautifully! I'm sure this will last a short time, as Kenna is bound to realize that things are going smoothly and decide to change her routine. For now, however, I am grateful for the sanity this is providing.

Kids want computer time? Check the schedule--you get it two days a week, with each child getting their turn during one particular time slot.

Kids asking to watch a PBS program? Check the schedule--you get Super Why 2 days a week, CyberChase 2 days a week, and Word Girl on Fridays.

Mom wants to meet a friend at the park or run some errands? I have two blocks of time during which we can do such things--and we aren't "giving up" anything terribly important.

Chores will be done after breakfast, right before soon as I put together our chore chart! (Actually, "family service" chart. Helping each other should NOT be a chore!) This is one of the few things left that I need to work on.

Overall, I'm pleased with the results. It really helps me to stay on task, as I tend to stray to the computer if the kids seem to be playing nicely together. Inevitably it ends up that I get wrapped up with what I'm doing and all of a sudden kids are yelling, crying, getting hurt, and I'm yelling back because they're irritating me and DARN IT, WHY CAN'T I SEEM TO HAVE ANY TIME TO DO WHAT I WANT OR NEED TO DO?!?!

Now, if I can stick to the schedule, I have blocked times to do office work, and the kids are gainfully occupied--AWAY from each other!

As you may have noticed, however (or maybe not), this does leave me much less time for blogging! I've barely been able to skim my friends' blogs, let alone write about all the fascinating things going on in our lives. Hopefully I'll get better at spending my office time so that I've got our home accounts, my business activities, and "fun" computer time balanced.

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