Establishing a Schedule

If you hit the hay wondering where the day went, or if you regularly feel you can't get everything that needs doing, take a hard look at your schedule. It's common for parenting magazines to suggest a specific schedule for new babies. (Feed at 6 am, bathe at 7 am, tummy time at 7:30 am, and so on.) But kids of all ages respond well to a schedule - and so do busy adults. This is not to say your schedule should be set in stone. Stuff happens that will interfere from time to time. The trick is to be flexible, but still make an effort to meet your schedule. And if your schedule isn't working for you, you should be willing to rearrange it.

By way of an example, here's my morning schedule: -- Wake up with baby, usually about 7 am; greet my preschooler and let her get out of bed. -- Feed baby his bottle right away. Get hubby out the door for work. -- Make tea for myself. -- Read to the children (mostly my preschooler), starting with the children's Bible, until about 8:30 am. -- Prepare breakfast and eat with the children. -- Dress the children and myself. -- Play time! -- Start homeschooling no later than 10 am, putting baby down for a nap first, if he seems sleepy. -- Begin preparing lunch no later than 11:50 am. -- Lunch on the table by noon. -- Eat with kids and hubby by 12:10 pm. If I don't have this schedule, my mornings whiz by and nothing seems to get accomplished. But the schedule can easily change as needed. For example, if I need extra work time, I might work as the kids play after breakfast. Or if the kids need baths, they do this in the "play time" part of the schedule. And some mornings, the kids wiggle through reading so much I let them play for a bit before breakfast. When scheduling, start with the essentials, like meals, dressing, and Bible and worship time. Then fill in as you can. If you find there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done, something's gotta go. It can be difficult to trim your schedule; there are plenty of worthy activities to get involved in. But for you and your family's sanity, it makes sense to cut back on things you really don't have time for. On the other hand, it is essential to schedule in some quiet time for yourself. You don't need hours to relax or pray, but you do need at least a half hour a day. Some moms like to take it in ten minute snatches here and there throughout the day, while others prefer to take their quiet time all at once. Try both, decide which works better for you, and make sure you schedule for it. You owe it to yourself - and to your family.

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