Thursday, August 13, 2015

Our Morning Routine

     A good morning start to our day is essential. I need to be able to prepare for the day ahead by taking the moment to get myself ready, complete a few household tasks and read encouraging words. By the time the children awake, I am awake myself and ready to lead our day with purpose. Maintaining a daily routine/schedule allows there to be peacefulness and order in myself and our home. (With two children only 17 months apart, chaos can very quickly take over if I'm not proactive in our activities).
 
      Implementing a daily schedule or routine can be much more difficult than devising one. It takes a lot of personal discipline, a character quality that still needs much improvement in myself. Furthermore, maintaining a schedule/routine with young children necessitates flexibility and margin. We're still adjusting and learning the most efficient use of our time together. We rarely accomplish everything on our morning daily schedule according to the specified times. On more difficult days it may take us all day just to complete the morning's tasks! Yet, we at least have a pre-determined focus so that the chaos can be kept to a minimum.
 
     The following is our current morning schedule with two little ones ages 17 months and newborn:  
 
Daily Schedule - Mornings
Time
Mama
Tennyson (17 months)
Annelise (nb)
5:40-6:40 a.m.
Morning Routine:
·         Shower/ exercise
·         Dress
·         Make bed up
·         Carry dirty laundry downstairs
·         Fix hair
·         Make-up
·         Put away clean dishes
·         Personal devo.
Sleep
Sleep
6:40-7:20 a.m.
Feed Annelise
Sleep
Eat
7:20-7:40 a.m.
Prep. breakfast
Sleep
Sleep/ wake
7:40-7:50 a.m.
Tennyson’s a.m. routine
Morning routine:
·         Diaper change
·         Dress
·         Straighten bedding
·         Carry dirty laundry downstairs
7:50-7:55 a.m.
Start laundry to wash
Free play
7:55-8:15 a.m.
Tidy downstairs
8:15-8:45 a.m.
Breakfast & family devo.
8:45-8:55 a.m.
Clean up kitchen and dining room
Pack n’ Play or table activity
Sleep/ wake
8:55-9:30 a.m.
Stroller walk or children’s bath
9:30-10:00 a.m.
Outside Play
10:00-10:40 a.m.
Feed Annelise & read story to kids
·         Group story
·         Morning snack
·         Independent play
Eat
10:40-11:00 a.m.
Playtime with Annelise
Independent playtime
Playtime with Mama
11:00-11:20 a.m.
Playtime with Tennyson (“Tot School”)
Playtime with Mama
Independent playtime
11:20-11:40 a.m.
Facilitate sibling playtime
Playtime with Annelise
Playtime with Tennyson
11:40a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Tidy downstairs
 
 Notes:
  • I call it a "schedule" and do include the times. However, the times are more of a guideline for me to know what can realistically be included in a day. Otherwise, I'm likely to plan too much and then we'd have trouble reaching those goals. Throughout our day, I ignore the times and try to follow the order. My desire is to establish consistency and predictability for the children and myself, qualities that help us to thrive and not just survive the day.
  • Newborn feeding schedule- Tennyson was on a feeding schedule beginning in his NICU days, and it was fabulous. I loved knowing exactly when he'd eat and plan accordingly. I didn't have much luck doing the same with Annelise. She feeds on demand. So, although our schedule includes a timed feeding schedule for her, we don't abide by it. I still added those occasions to our schedule so that the time would be accounted for and I would be prepared with an activity for Tennyson.
  • Tidy downstairs- The downstairs of our home is our main living area and includes the laundry closet, dining room, kitchen, and living room. This is were we are during the day and it can become messy fast. I've found the best way to keep the mess down is to have a tidy time at certain times throughout the day. A quick tidy at least 20 minutes before each meal works well for us.
  • Pack n' Play- The kitchen is one area that is difficult to clean with a curious and busy toddler. I need to be able to sweep the floor and do dishes without "helping" hands. My solution has been to set up a pack n' play in our dining room area for him to play in for 10 minutes after each meal. This allows me to get the kitchen and dining room tidied back up after a meal. It also allows him practice in accepting boundaries (he'd rather have free range of the house, of course!). It's good for him to learn to be contained in one area and occupy himself with what's available to play with, and not meltdown. He's come a long way, and will contentedly play until the 10 minutes is up. (I set a timer for him to have a visual and auditory indicator of the 10 minutes. When the timer sounds, he's allow to get out and I offer him a reward). 
  • Playtime- Tennyson is still getting used to the idea of a sibling. Although not severe at all, we do have moments in which he has a difficult time sharing attention. (He'll go where he shouldn't or pull everything possible onto the floor).  Therefore, I desire to have designated times in which each are getting attention individually and then a time in which I work with them sharing the attention. Currently, their sibling play is me asking Tennyson where Annelise's  foot, hand, nose, ears etc are located. He points to each part on me, himself or her. Another way to bring them together is to read a book while both are cuddled up in my arms/lap. We don't do this as often because he's quite wiggly and it's hard to handle him while protect her from getting unintentionally hurt. It's still good for them to see that attention can be shared!
  • "tot school"- I'll have more on this later. We've begun adding pre-planned activities to our day, which has been so much fun. He enjoys having the one-on-one time with Mama, as well as something new to do each day.

      Our daily schedule will continue to evolve as the children grow. We're currently focused on just the morning routine, and once we become proficient at it and/or the need arises for more then I'll add an afternoon and evening routine. 

     So far, this plan seems to work for us! A well organized day is much better than a chaotic one!

     

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