Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mapping Out Our Days

Being flexible as we trade the arts and crafts for a play date in the park!

Have you ever felt lost in your day to day routine? Lately, mine hasn't been working for me because I haven't been working at it. I often feel lost. I sometimes feel like I'm just scraping by with the bare minimum. Then at night I wonder where the time went. I tell myself I'm going to do better the next day. The next day comes and my promises from the night before are forgotten. It's a bad cycle that I've slowly worked myself into. It's easy to see that everyone is happier when I'm more organized, more on top of things. When things run more smoothly. When I'm more balanced. Balance. One of the items on my fall bucket list was to try and find a more balanced routine, and I think that I have finally done it.

I've tweaked our routines and created schedules for R and myself. A routine doesn't mean a schedule, of course, but I think having a schedule as a guide is going to keep me working towards my goal. There will be days that the schedule is impossible to stick to, and that's okay. Believe it or not, even with the "schedule" we are flexible. I'm just someone that needs a guide. This is what I came up with:

R's "Schedule"

Monday-Friday: (times are approximate, of course)
7:00 am- Wake up and dress himself
7:30 am- Breakfast and morning chores
8:00 am- Free play
9:00 am- Speech practice
9:30 am- Outside play
10:30 am- Preschool time
11:30 am- Free play
12:00 pm- Lunch
12:30 pm- Free play
1:30 pm- Story time
2:00 pm- Quiet time
3:00 pm- Mommy/son play time
4:00 pm- Arts and crafts
5:00 pm- Dinner prep (R helps set the table, wash vegetables, etc)
6:00 pm- Dinner
6:30 pm- Family time or free play
7:15 pm- Clean up time (put away all toys)
7:30 pm- Bath time (play!)
8:00 pm- Brush teeth and dresses himself in pajamas
8:15 pm- Cuddle, read, and tell stories
8:30 pm- Bedtime

As I said, this is by no means strictly enforced. There are days when an activity doesn't hold his attention for the "allotted" time. There are days when he could easily do an activity all day long. There are days that we spend the entire time outside and days that we have five hour long play dates. Sometimes we are busy.

But, with this as a guide, I can plan for our days. I can more easily judge how much time we've spent together and how much time he's spent playing on his own. It illustrates what I would like to include in our days. It's a reminder of what I value. We are currently very busy with renovations that are stretching out and taking longer and longer. My mind gets cloudy with details and I try to prioritize spontaneously from moment to moment. Guilt creeps in because I'm surely neglecting some aspect some where. This is me trying my best but also realizing that our days will not be perfect and flexibility is key.

*Free play- Can be time spent together, time he spends entertaining himself, or any combination of the two as the day allows. I think he needs time to play on his own and entertain himself and I need time to get other things done. But sometimes, you just have to stop and play in the moment. It can be blocks or books, etc. 
*Speech- We have speech therapy for thirty minutes twice a week. The other days we will practice in various fun ways on our own at home.
*Preschool- R loves "school" and asks for it. This can include worksheets, simple science experiments, themed arts and crafts, manipulatives, books, etc. 
*Story time- Time we spend curled up with books, reading aloud to one another.
*Quiet time- This is him entertaining himself quietly. It's important for us both.
*Arts and crafts- This is time he can spend dancing, singing, acting, or creating anything his heart desires. 
*Outside play- I aim for at least one hour outdoors each day. Some days we get less, some days we get more. This is going to be a goal I continually work on during the winter months. 

Also throughout the week, we go to preschool story time at our library and have play dates. Those are the days I run errands and they are adjusted accordingly, but it was easier to just post a generic schedule rather than posting the modifications for each day. The weekends are a hodgepodge of time spent as a family, with extended family, and chores. 

I admit that I love looking at other's routines and schedules. I know that theirs will surely not work for us, but I still feel compelled to look. What are your routines? What keeps you organized? Please share!

Wondering about the importance of routines? Check out this great post from Hands On:As We Grow.


  1. I can't believe how organized you are in your planning. I am impressed. My schedule is: eat breakfast, go outside and stay there. I need to come up with a better plan now that winter is approaching!

  2. I totally relate to the "scraping by with the bare minimum" lately. Our schedule is in one of those flux times, needing adjustment to a new season and stage in life.

  3. Our days don't often look exactly like this, but it's something for me to glance at throughout the day. Especially now that winter is coming, you're right! It's really easy for us to spend entire days outside during the fall, but I'm not a fan of the cold and I have to force myself to go outside on the really cold days. And honestly, if I don't have some sort of plan to fall back on, our days turn into ruts that neither of us really cares for. I do so much better when I'm organized and prepared, even if the day doesn't go as "planned." You know what I mean?

  4. Oh, thank you for stopping by, An Almost Unschooling Mom! That's what I felt like. What we had been doing just wasn't working for us anymore.

  5. School keeps us very organized in the mornings with drop-offs and pick-ups, but during the summer our organization is basically making sure we eat. Although, I wrote down what we did for three days once, and I DID see a schedule that had sort of just happened... And I actually had more of a schedule when I only had Emma, because there was less spontaneous play since she didn't have built-in playmates.

  6. We had been flying by the seat of our pants for awhile, but it was getting to where we were sleeping in late and staying up later. I was falling behind on everything again, and waking up to go to Speech in time was getting to be problematic. I wish that I was better at juggling everything spontaneously, but it's impossible for me.

    I can see where a built in playmate would be great for something like this (although I know it has to make other things more difficult)! R plays so well by himself for EVERYONE else but me. Seriously. Everyone brags on how he can entertain himself with the simplest of items for hours on end. I have no idea about any of that because it doesn't happen that way when he's with me. If I ask him to go play by himself for fifteen minutes so I can do something mundane like the dishes, he comes out every three minutes to see if I'm done.. or to see if he can help me. It's sweet, and I'm glad he wants to help and I'm touched that he wants to be with me.. all.. the.. time.. But really, he also needs to entertain himself some too. This is my way of not having to agonize over whether or not I've found balance within that day. haha. It's actually going VERY well. He's playing by himself happily and he's not asking to watch TV or play computer games instead while I finish up chores.

    Wow, I'm talkative tonight. I'm just so thrilled with the outcome and I'm actually not as drained as I usually am at this time. lol.

    Thank you so much for stopping by, Maryanne and commenting. And possibly reading my extremely long reply comment. I really appreciate it.


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