One of the things that stressed me the most when I was still working 7 am – 7 pm shifts, was being home in the early mornings on my days off. There was no routine at home!
You would think I would be happy! Yes it did allow me an extra hour‘s sleep in the mornings but it also allowed me to be home while my husband and the domestic got the kids ready in the morning.
There were things I hadn’t known about, like the fact that the kids were often late for school, or went to school without breakfast or brushing their teeth! My youngest often forgot to take her lunch to school. This was a huge issue as two of my girls went to a school that was from 8 am to 3 pm and my son was at school from 7 am till 5:20 pm. I don’t know how many times over the years my mom had to go and take their lunches to the school.
When I changed jobs in 2015 and started working 8:30 to 5, I introduced a routine, of sorts, to help our mornings run smoother. We now only had my youngest at school from 8-3 but she was the most difficult to get ready, as she was very unhappy at her school. There were days when we just could not win and she would make herself physically ill rather than go to school. It didn’t matter what punishment she was given.
This year should be better as we are going to have all 3 girls at Study Boost. This school has made such a difference to my older girls, especially the middle one, who hasn’t been ‘sick’ since she started! Also if anyone forgets lunch it isn’t the end of the world as they are only at school from 8 – 1. My son has written Matric now and is no longer in school.
However, there are no school uniforms! For those of you with girls, you will understand when I say how long getting dressed in the mornings can take! My 17 year old has always been very difficult to wake in the mornings and she has to put on her makeup before school. My 14 year old has to be told to change clothes at least once every day because she insists on wearing boots and long sleeves no matter what the weather! My youngest, who will be 12 next month, can take hours to choose what to wear. Clothes’ shopping with her was a nightmare until we discovered Mr Price online. So now she can browse the shop, choose what she wants and then we go and see if the clothes fit!
My husband, bless him, faff’s! It can take him 15 minutes to get his socks on because, like his children, he gets easily side tracked.
I changed the hours that my domestic works as I found it easier to get into a routine without her, so she works 8-5 with alternate Wednesdays off.
The routine I created is mostly in my head as everyone is old enough not to need a star chart. I did have once but the kids kept peeling off stars from each other’s charts.
When your kids are young having a visible chart is important so that they can also learn their own routine. I have a few that you can download and print. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/morning-routine/
When creating a chart or routine, look at the age of your child and either use pictures for younger children with the words underneath. As they learn to read you can change this to just words.
Start with bed times and rising times and the time you need to leave the house (minus 10 minutes) as this gives you a time frame of when everything should be done.
Our routine starts like this: waking time for me is 6, as I like to have some quiet time in the morning and I get the kettle boiled, make school lunches and get the first load of washing in. My domestic hangs up the loads of washing when she comes in. I then feed our animals.
I make tea and coffee for everyone at 6:30 and begin the wake up routine, starting with my husband (I) and oldest daughter, (Z), as they are the most difficult to wake, then my son (AY) (although I can drop that now as he can get up whenever he wants at the moment). By this time the two younger ones (L & AT) are awake and moving around. This takes a full 30 minutes! I now take out the first wash and put in the second one. I then go and try wake Z again! My husband, often still in his pyjama’s, used to take my son to school at 7 (they gave them breakfast at his school).
Everyone has to open their curtains and straighten their beds, kids can start doing this as young as 5. I have found this gets them going in the morning; my domestic will make the beds properly when she cleans the house, if you don’t have help, leave the beds the way the kids have straightened them, they get better with practice.
The kids are sent to the kitchen for breakfast. This is usually about 7 and no electronic devices are allowed at breakfast as this makes everything take twice as long. They are then sent to brush their teeth and get dressed. During this time I take out load 2 and put in the final load of the morning. For younger kids you can get their breakfast ready and feed them in between the above.
Getting dressed can take the longest and, in between getting myself dressed, I knock on doors with ‘we are leaving in 20; 15; 10…… minutes’. This is where you take off those 10 minutes before leaving, it is the emergency rush time. So if you need to be out of the house by 7:30, then make the leaving time on the chart 7:20. Someone will inevitably forget something and need to go back!
Start implementing your bedtime routine at least a week before school starts so that opposition happens early and by the time school begins, at least part of the routine is in place. Get your morning routines going as well but you don’t have to wake the kids up so early. This is my plan for 2016.
6:00 Wake up and get dressed (makeup and other stuff comes later)
6:15 Load the washing machine, boil the kettle and get the lunch things out (I meal plan every meal, breakfast, school lunch, lunch and supper, so I don’t have to think about what to make at this time)
6:30 Feed the animals, make tea and wake the family
6:40 Every one (almost) gets up and straightens their beds and opens the curtains, I wake Z up again!
6:50 To the kitchen for breakfast and I put the lunch boxes in their bags so that they don’t for get them.
7:00 Brush teeth, wake Z again! Nag my husband to get dressed!
7:05 I get dressed
7:10 Start count down, wake Z again!
7:15 Count down, again, check that Z is getting dressed!
7:20 Count down, get myself finished
7:30 hurry my hubby along and continue count down
By 7:40 we all need to leave the house as we only have one car. So I drop off my husband at work and then take the girls, who are all on different campuses this year. L &AT are at least going to be across the road from each other and Z is at another nearby campus.
By 8 am I am on my way to work! On a Friday I drop everyone off and then do my last minute Sabbath shopping and get to work by 9!
Supper is at about 6:30/7pm and, now that the kids are older, we all eat together at the dining room table. Once again, no electronic devices! When the children were smaller they ate dinner at 5:30, I ate when I got home and my husband would eat at about 8 or 9 when he got home from his previous job.
Bedtime this year is 9pm for everyone. ‘Lights out’, for the final time is, at the latest 10pm, which gives all the kids a minimum of 8 hours sleep.
I go to sleep about 11 pm as I work on my blog when everybody goes to sleep.
I hope this helps you create your routine!