Keeping the Kids on Schedule

 Posted by on February 16, 2011  Add comments  Tagged with: , ,
Feb 162011

In my post, The Stay at Home Slump, I mentioned that I sink into a bit of a depression every day around 4:00 P.M. Truthfully, in the last month or so, I’ve found the hours between 4 and 9 P.M. to be pretty much unbearable, and last night was especially bad. At 9:15 I went to bed, completely exhausted, and when my husband came in to see why I was in bed already (it’s practically unheard of for me to turn in before 11:00), I confessed that I’m just completely worn out and fed up.

The noise. The clutter. The chaos. The non-stop chatter and bickering. Trying to prepare dinner in a messy kitchen, with kid junk all over the table so that I can’t even set it, two girls talking to me at once, and a baby in the high chair, screaming…it’s just too much. Calgon, take me away!

I think that our family is experiencing some growing pains. The kids now have activities after school, Bee has more homework, our life is generally more chaotic, and as a result, we tend to let the schedule slide, particularly where bedtimes are concerned. When Cakes and DJ don’t get enough sleep, this negatively affects their behavior during the day, and by 5:00, I’m almost ready to sell them to a band of traveling gypsies. Yesterday, DJ followed me around, pulling on my pant leg and screaming whenever I tried to put him down, and Cakes and I had an altercation over computer time, which ended in me hauling her under one arm, kicking and screaming, down to her father’s office for a stern lecture, and a long timeout.

On the contrary, when the kids are well-rested, they’re really fairly adaptable and easy to manage. We know this. The problem is that I seem to be the only one who knows the kids’ schedule, or cares if they stick to it. The kids look to us to provide them with structure and routine, because they lack the desire, and/or ability, to do this for themselves. My husband doesn’t take the initiative to keep them on schedule because I’m not positive that he even knows what they’re supposed to be doing, and when, and he prefers for me to tell him specifically what I want him to do to help. He’ll happily help me with anything I ask, but I have to tell him. He needs that direction.

Last night, after much discussion, we decided that we needed to work better as a team to make our evenings go more smoothly, and to make a real effort to insure that the kids get to bed on time. To help with this process, I used my Staples Rewards check to purchase this dry-erase pocket chart.

I hung it on the back of our utility closet door, right by the kitchen table, where everyone will see it all the time (I used 3M Command Hooks, which I think might be one of my favorite inventions ever). My goal was to emphasize just the highlights of the kids’ day – when they need to be up, when Bee needs to walk to the bus stop, meal, nap and bedtimes, etc. The schedule will have to be modified slightly on Mondays and Thursdays, when the girls have dance, but it’ll work well otherwise. Now everyone knows who’s supposed to be doing what, and when, and as the schedule changes, I can just wipe off the time cards and change them around.

I’m hoping this will help me to not feel like I need to start drinking every day after lunch. I’ll let you know how it goes.


  7 Responses to “Keeping the Kids on Schedule”

  1. i feel like you just did a report on me!! lol…i have bought a poster board to write out a schedule…but the dry erase method might work better for us. We may have to try a few different methods before we get it down right.. i will get back to you also in a few weeks & let you know how it went for me!!

  2. Great idea! It’s so true, without some sort of structure, even with my little ones at home, everything falls apart. We end up wandering around the house, bored and cranky!

  3. Thank-you very much! I read your site about a year ago and for some reason got it in my mind to read it again tonight. Likely due to the fact that I am feeling horribly frustrated and unhappy with the way my days are going with my to sweet but strong willed daughters. This article was just what I needed. Thank-you for sharing your challenges it makes me feel less like an alien and helps to know that others are experiencing similar challenges. This weekends goal is developing a simple schedule for my 18mo and 3.5 yr old daughters!

  4. Loving the chart! Think I may need to visit Staples soon! Summer’s been fun but I’m starting to feel the stress of having all 3 girls home ALL DAY LONG lol. I see that your oldest girl is going to bed at 8:45, how old is she? Just wondering when I should let my 11 year old start staying up a little later. She’s usually in bed by 8ish. 

  5. o my goodness, you must’ve been reading my mind when you wrote this! it is spot on – except that i’ve got 2 kids.  but all the sentiments are the same!!!  nice to know i’m not the only one who is ‘done’ by 5pm.  thank you!

  6. I found you when I searched freezer organization, and found yours the only practical method. I love your blog and honesty! My kids are grown and I have 3 kids about same as Heathers’ in age span. What I did daily that brought PEACE to me was COMPLETELY ASSEMBLE dinner late morning or when my baby was taking her afternoon nap. I would pack the kids and my husbands’ lunches after I finished dinner prep. Most often I would bake box mix brownies or cupcakes for the after school snack or I would plan today is popcorn for snack. If there was something after school and I knew we wouldn’t walk in the door till 5, I would do a crock pot or an automatic oven turn on and set the table ‘Sit Down’ ready and have the dinner glasses filled and in fridge. Doing this prep elimated my stress. I could devote myself to whatever my kids needed. Homework, listening, playing outside or breaking up fights. For awhile we had a dance class that got us home at 7, so we ate dinner at 4:30. It stunk, but when we came home I didn’t have yet dinner to do. Hope this helps some of you!

  7. I’m dealing with the same issues! How did this end up working for you long-term?



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