i was given some excellent wisdom that is greatly impacting the peace in our home. i thought i would share it with you as we are all kicking off summer which tends to look much different from the school year.
we are establishing a rhythm in our home. a rhythm is, by definition, a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound. a rhythm gives more grace and flexibility than a schedule, but still helps everyone to feel secure because they know what to expect.
our daily rhythm looks like this:
school activity (keeping allie current and preparing caleb for K)
show while griffin has crib time
chores/table top time
clean up & room prep
show with a snack
computer & dinner prep stations
let me explain a few things:
*the / mean that the first thing needs to be accomplished to do the second thing (incentives). for example each person must get dressed before they can free play and chores must be done to join in on a table top activity.
*table top activities change each day... play dough, puzzles, board games, art bucket, etc. i pick it for the morning.
*clean up is a way of giving my kids a responsibility for the entire house to be picked up. they know that this helps them be able to enjoy our space more and find their things easier... we usually do a "clean sweep" twice a day. it never takes longer than 10 minutes and helps me keep my sanity! the second "clean sweep" takes place right after dinner and includes clearing the table, sweeping the floor, and washing the table off. don't underestimate your kids... even the young ones love helping!
*griffin is dropping his morning nap which means he starts crib time. he goes into his crib the same time that he use to nap, but now i leave the lights on and give him toys. he does this for about 30 min each morning while the kids watch a show. this gives me a chance to shower or have a quiet time (which ever one didn't happen before kids got up). this is a glorious thing that i've done with EVERY sisco kid... some took longer to train, but it is WELL WORTH it and i advise it! you are teaching your kiddo that they can entertain themselves and it helps with the separation anxiety because... alas, you do come back. :)
* room time is during griffins long afternoon nap. every kid goes to a separate space and has time to themselves for an hour and a half. they need it... i need it. we all win! sometimes they sleep, but usually they play (hopefully quietly).
*computer and dinner prep stations might be my favorite new idea. dinner time can just get sooo crazy so fast and if i want to be a happy momma when daddy gets home then i have to have a plan. our plan is that one kid does computer activities while the other helps me in the kitchen. we switch after about 15 minutes. they love doing both and they aren't fighting because they each have something to do! my three year old is usually tired and enjoys watching the big kids play computer. my one year old toddles around and plays with measuring cups or Tupperware during this time and is usually happy unless dinner is past six! :)
*i have free play later in the morning because that is usually when we have play dates with other people and that fits great into our routine.
so there you have it.... rhythm... peace.... rhythm.... joy... rhythm... secure kids
i would love to hear what keeps your house at peace...
i love to learn from other families and welcome any ideas!