Redefining Your Day
Last time we left off, you were Adding it Up – listing the activities for each member of the schedule and making sure they don't exceed 24. How did you do? Today we are going to take a bigger look at those time schedules you put together and see if we can tweak them a bit to help them accomplish your overall vision a little bit better. (Using the Free Family Scheduling Template might make the job easier, but it can all be done on a piece of paper as well.)
Remember when I asked you to think of your kids as grown-ups and what you will wish that they have learned by that time? Well, I think one of the hazards of parenting is that you think you are raising children, when in fact you are raising adults. What I mean is that we need to operate daily knowing we are raising adult males and females to serve God in mighty ways. I think if we considered this each day, it would be easier to stay focused on our vision and not get caught up in the details.
My Little Adults:
So let's redefine our day by considering this truth. What are the main things you need to teach your now-child so that they will become a healthy adult?
Here are a few points:
1. Character matters – what personality traits do you need to help foster, or teach him/her how to overcome? Do any of these items need to be built into your schedule?
2. We make our habits, then our habits make us. What are your habits as a family? Are these habits you hope your child will follow? If you are rushed every morning, and doing school in your PJ's, will you be surprised when your adult children have trouble getting to work on time and presenting themselves well? I absolutely love this post by Ann Voskamp on habits – a MUST. READ.
3. Set your
child future adult up for success by first teaching them one thing well. If your morning routines are a wreck, teach them first how to place their pajamas in the hamper and how to have their room presentable at the start of a day. Then make sure you are doing the same in your room! (ouch!) * I will be sharing more about habits and chores in later posts.
4. Consider "Doubling up" on your time. My 6 year old son can get a little squirly with his schoolwork. So we work in a one hour block. I assign three tasks that should only take 15 minutes each. The last 15 minutes is his to play with the younger kids. He gets rewarded for finishing his work on time and being diligent, and the younger kids get a change of pace by having him play with them. You can also have an older child do phonics, shapes, or color training with the younger child. This frees up your time, teaches the older child how to instruct and be patient, and forms a bond between the two children. My 6 and 8 year old both love having the job of helping their 4 year old brother do some "school work". And the 4 year old loves their older siblings helping him. Is there any part of your schedule that you can pair siblings up on?
5. Do you have two children who just can't get along? Try having them pair up on something a few times a week, or give them isolated play time together to help foster a better relationship. You may need to have an arsenal of ideas available that would promote working together. This is worth investing time in. If this is you, make sure your schedule allows for "Relationship building" time.
6. Each child craves one-on-one time with mom, but how often to we have time to give it to them? If at all possible, block out a 30 minute time period to rotate one-on-one time with Mom. Maybe the oldest gets Monday, the second child gets Tuesdays, etc. Same time each day. Tell the child you want to do something special with them and "Mondays" are their day. Have them come up with the activity. It could just be throwing a ball in the backyard, or a game of chess. Keep it simple, but be consistent. Your child will look forward to that time, and so will you!
7. Enlist help. Your kids are much more capable than you think. Train them in a task, and expect them to complete it. Mealtimes should be joint-efforts. Consider scheduling a child to assist with meal prep that day. Like the one-on-one time mentioned above, make it consistent (but a different child than the one who has one-on-one time that day). Youngest helps on Mondays, the next oldest on Tuesdays, etc. They will look forward to helping Mom in the kitchen, and learn valuable meal-prep skills. You may also find that they are much more adventurous in their taste preferences when they have a helping hand in it.
Re-examine your time schedules under each person on the schedule with the above points in mind. Do you need to add more time for habit training? Can you pair up siblings to relieve some of the demands on your time? What training do you need to add to your day to train these future adults in your home?
Tomorrow we will start placing the tasks on our schedule, so today is the day to refine it! Have a vision for what you want your days to look like, then mold them into that vision! Be realistic, and stick to your priorities. Family matters. Leave time to be a family, or when your kids are grown, they won't have time for the family then either. You are choosing your future life by the decisions you make today. First invest time in the things that will matter most in the end, then fill the spaces (if there are any) with the "extras".
If you are like me, there might be a bit of fear when you take this step. You might find that your family's priorities will really start to look very different from the rest of the culture, and you may in fact run into some resistence. Trust in the Lord that he will bless you with the greatest gift – a family that is united in faithfulness to Him and to one another. Your children first learn how to love others within the family. Start there. Love them well, and teach them how to love their siblings well. We can do this!
Looking forward to tomorrow!
Get the FREE FAMILY DAILY SCHEDULE TEMPLATE here!
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