I am a firm believer that a predictable schedule and house rules will help any family. Most kids thrive on structure, and they need to know their are consequences for bad behavior and rewards for positive behavior.
Over the years, we have tried many forms of a schedule. My kids refused a schedule as babies so I don’t have much advice in that area 😉 I have round that my kids thrive best under a flexible but reliable schedule. We have a basic outline of our day. Our day starts and ends at the same time and moves in blocks throughout the day. It is structured but not too strict.
I love this block type scheduling because it relates to so many people. Take note of the flow of your day and create blocks of time for each task you need to get done.
Here is an example of what our day looks like.
Block 1. 7 -9 am – Girls wake up, family breakfast, free play, send Papa off to work
Block 2. 9-12 pm – TV and snack time/Mama’s chore time and learning time. The girls aren’t watching tv the whole time as I fit in learning time at some point during this block.
Block 3. 12-2 pm – Lunch and free play. Free play consists of playing in the back yard, playing with their kitchen, My Little Ponies, dollhouse. Basically independent play with each other and their toys. Depending on the day determines my involvement. I may have other household chores or blogging to do so they need to play without me. Some days I will play with them outside, get out the paint or other sensory activities. Each day is different!
Block 4. 2-4 pm – Quiet (movie) time. I have tried to just have them have free play for the afternoon but it doesn’t work. They need a reset since they no longer nap. Without quiet time, they are at each others throats by early afternoon. Some Mondays they will nap if we have had a busy weekend, but for the most part it is quiet time.
Block 5. 4-6 pm – Free play, read alouds, supper, walk the dogs.
Block 6. 6-8 pm – Bath or shower, iPad time, bedtime routine.
First of all, let me state this is our IDEAL schedule. If we have errands or appointments, we adjust accordingly. Some days I may not be feeling it, and the girls play for most of the day or watch a lot of tv. Or it may be a perfect day and we spend the day at the park. Or my mom emails me and wants to go to Madison for the day. The flexibility is one of the things I love most about homeschooling.
I value the benefits of free play, and ideally that is what I want my kids spending the bulk of the day doing. However, it doesn’t always go smoothly so we have our house rules and sticker charts to help guide the girls.
We didn’t want too many rules to confuse the kids so we kept it short and simple. We picked 4 rules that we felt were a must to keep our sanity. FYI we changed number 2 to LISTEN!! How I overlooked that to begin with I have no idea.
My girls are very motivated by stickers so I searched Pinterest for a reward chart and found this behavior reward chart. I modified it for our family, and it has worked AWESOME!! Again, my husband and I picked four things we wanted the kids to work on. Three of them are pretty self-explanatory. Stay in bed refers to just that, the girls sleep in their own bed from bedtime til they get up.
We also have a “gumball machine” (another Pinterest idea) that we add “gumballs” (color circle labels) to reward them for playing nicely together. When they machine is all filled up we will take them to the children’s museum. If they are misbehaving, we take “gumballs” out.
House rules, a behavior chart, and the gumball machine all in combination help run the house smoothly.
What does your home schedule look like? What are the house rules?