I thought I would write a series on parenting during this enforced time out to help some of you that might need ideas on how to hold it together with everyone home. Some things I will cover are daily schedules for kids and moms, getting kids to obey, home simplicity, meals, chores, goal setting, reading, raising high performance kids and any other ideas that pop into my head about how to navigate this time at home and maybe learn something you can use to raise good kids after this quarantine ends.
When I was a young mom in the early 90s, I was quite literally losing my mind. Although I had left teaching to be a stay at home mom, I really had no idea how to be with these children all day and how to keep my house looking decent. I thought that maybe I just wasn’t very good at this whole mom thing. It’s a bad time to figure that out when you already have four kids! I knew that I needed to do something different, something that would help me keep my house clean and help me raise these children to be smart, curious, compassionate, hardworking, honest, and good citizens of their communities.
Over the course of the next few months, I really thought about the systems in my house, read many homemaking and parenting books, and tried to identify what my ultimate goals actually were. This was before the internet so I really could only rely on books that were in the library or knowledge I had gained in college as an education major.
These were the things I outlined as my major goals:
Keep my house fairly picked up and clean.
Learn to cook and bake in order to make healthy meals and save money.
Teach my kids all of the skills they would need to enter school.
Raise children who help around the house, strive for achievement, and love one another.
Be a nice mom who enjoys her children.
One of the things that didn’t make sense to me at first was how I had no problem organizing 25 first graders, keeping my classroom clean, and keeping them on task and learning. However, the more I thought about it, the clearer it became. My classroom stayed clean because routines, schedules, and expectations existed. The students stayed on task because there were clear rules and expectations for them. It was a total epiphany! If this worked in my classroom, then it would work in my home, too!
So, how do you organize things and time? The very first thing I did was organize the time so I would then have time to organize things. My kids at this time were 3, 2, 1, and a newborn. I made my kids and myself a daily schedule that looked like this:
6:30 am - Mom gets up with baby and then gets ready. It was essential for me to get up and ready first or I would never get to it. I'm lazy and so are kids when we stay in jammies.
7 am - Wake up and play in rooms. (I personally liked my kids up early because then they all napped in the afternoon).
8 am - Breakfast I made breakfast so we all ate at the same time. This became important as they got to school age.
9 am - Get dressed, make beds, brush teeth. When they finished their morning routine they could watch a show until 10. This gave me time to do dishes, organize the outing for the day, etc.
10 am - 12 pm Outing. We either went to the park, played in the yard, had friends over, did the grocery shopping (whatever was scheduled for the day.) Or on rotten weather days, we did learning activities.
***This is where we are currently doing school work that needs my help****
12 pm - Lunch and play inside while I cleaned up lunch dishes.
1 pm - 3 pm - Naptime. As they grew out of naps, they still had to read or play quietly while others slept.
***school kids are finishing up schoolwork or baking/crafting/reading etc***
3:30 - 5 pm Play outside. I normally was outside with them.
***you could all learn something new right now...painting, drawing, crochetting, baking***
5 pm - I would let them watch a show and color while I cooked dinner.
6 pm - Dinner as a family. Then, clean up.
7 pm - 8:00 pm Play outside in nice weather, inside in winter. Practice music.
8:00 pm - 9 pm Baths and books.
9 pm - Bedtime
***I think it's super important right now to keep the same schedule since we are trying to do school and kids act better and feel safer when they know what is happening next.***
While kids were napping I used that time to organize my home like my classroom. This meant that all like things were in bins together on a shelf. That way when they finished playing with that toy, let’s say the blocks, then they could just put them right back in the bin. Once I had everything organized, I did have to spend some time teaching them how to put things away properly. This, of course, didn’t mean that the playroom was never trashed, but it did make it easier for them to pick up when asked.
As my kids got older, I kept this same schedule, because with 10 kids I always had babies and toddlers who needed it. It also helped me stay sane in the summer because all the kids were used to living with this schedule.
One thing my kids always liked was having a menu posted for the day. They looked forward to meals, but also, the times were listed for older kids. During the summer, the kitchen was closed during off times and only open during meals and snack times. This put an end to all day grazing and endless snacking that we all experience our kids doing constantly in the summer. Am I right?
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post! I will