It seems like there is a never ending stream of tasks on our to do list – from house keeping to work to after school activities – heck even getting to school can be a challenge! So how can we create a schedule and routine for our lives that will minimize the work and maximize the fun? Here are 4 ideas for documenting your schedules and creating a routine to make our days with less grind and more grins.
Keep a family calendar where it’s visible to everyone. Choose a paper tear away version or a wet erase (to keep little fingers from erasing!) – just make sure it’s big enough to fit several activities on a day.
Give every person in the house a color to write their activities in OR make each activity a different color – it’s your choice! Map out the calendar a month in advance and add to it as things pop up. Have a quick family meeting to go over the week’s activities and assigned tasks.
If trying to tackle a chore all at one time (i.e. laundry, cleaning the house, etc) break it into days. Spreading a task out over several days can maximize how much you get done in smaller chunks of time. For laundry: wash whites on Mondays, darks on Tuesdays, towels on Wednesdays. For house keeping: break it up by rooms. Bathrooms Mondays, kitchen Tuesdays, vacuum Wednesdays and so on. Keep all the cleaning products in the room they’re meant for to cut down the amount of time gathering up all your items. Even group up your errands: grocery on Sunday, Target on Tuesday, etc.
By having everything broken into days, you’ll be less likely to be overwhelmed by what’s on your to do list. When everything is scheduled, it will allow you to plan instead of panic. Be sure to add your tasks to your family calendar so make sure that you’re budgeting your time right.
Choose chores for your kids based on their age and supervision level. Show them how to do their task and then let them take the lead. Choosing chores that they are able to do by themselves builds confidence and gives them a sense of accomplishment. Create (or buy!) a chore chart that gives children a list of what they need to do – use pictures of tasks for the little kids. Have them check off each item to help them keep track.
Layout a routine for your kids for going to school and one for when they come home too. Nothing crazy, just a set of instructions that they are responsible for to help get you out the door in the morning, and a list that will get everyone on to fun things when they come home from school. Choose items that they can do themselves and that are helpful for preparing for the next day. A routine can look something like:
Plates to the sink
Get dressed including shoes
Pack backpack (lunch box, water bottle)
For after school:
Put shoes away
Hang up back pack
Lunch box / water bottle to the kitchen
Set a visual timer and let them choose the order of the tasks – but they have to finish in that time frame. Choosing which tasks to do first will give them the freedom they want, but with the end result being what the parent wants. And once they have their routines down, you will save time and energy that you can put towards fun activities instead.