If you’ve missed the beginning of this series, start with Part 1.
Find all my printable cleaning schedules and routines on the Home Management page.
OK, we talked about whether you are a Scheduled Family or a Routine Family. Now, for some ideas to get you started in making that work for you…
One option for Scheduled Families is a simple Daily Planner. These work great for older children and parents alike, and they are compact enough to go wherever you go. Simply fill in each time slot with your to-do’s for the week (I suggest weekly for the Scheduled Family rather than daily because you naturally prefer your week to have a nice flow or pattern to it). As you develop a workable schedule, you will need only to transfer the previous week into the new week. Leave the planner laying open on the table during the day for quick glances at what is next. Anything out of the ordinary (ie. school projects, urgent repairs, picking up your mother from the airport, etc) can be penciled in without too much disruption to your daily schedule.
Another great option for Schedule-lovin’ families is something like Managers of Their Homes. This type of schedule is put together in 30 minute blocks of time. You have a neatly set time for nearly everything you would like to accomplish throughout your day. You are able to schedule in everyone else’s day as well. All of this is put into a color coded wall chart with blocks that can easily be changed and moved around. If you find something that does not work well in the time frame you originally placed it in or something in your life suddenly changes, you simply move it. (The Maxwells have a whole section of their site dedicated to their different schedules. Take a look at it.)
But, if you are a Routine person, MOTH (Managers of Their Homes) is more than likely NOT for you. In fact, I would gently suggest that it could quite possibly make you feel very badly about yourself and your ability to run a household properly. Mrs. Maxwell never intended for this to be the case, so please do not think I am suggesting she believes her schedule is the only way to run a household. She is merely trying to help other mamas out there manage their day with something that worked well for her household. But, the fact of the matter is that some of our lives do not fit neatly in 30 minute boxes. My life being a case in point.
So, what are some things that a Routine family can try?
A Daily Planner may work for you too (or just a piece of notebook paper for that matter) but with two differences from the one kept by the Scheduled Family. Yours should not be marked with times. The other difference is that when you are first getting started your routine should be written out DAILY, not weekly. You simply take everything that must be accomplished during that day, write it down in a good working order, and cross it off as you go. (In the next post I’ll show you how I set up a routine that stays fairly consistent so you don’t have to always be writing a huge daily list).
Another suggestion comes from my friend, Sarah. You can read about it HERE. The basic idea is that you write everything down on separate notecards. When you have accomplished the item listed, you move it from the TO DO section to the DONE section. This is a great option for the children. Even those who can’t read can have picture cards that tell them what to do next.
I’ve used this method for myself before by putting two magnetized clips on my refrigerator…one is TO DO and one is DONE. It feels so good to move the cards from one side to the other. I used this mainly as a way to remember all those daily things that if allowed to become sidetracked, I will simply forget to do: taking vitamins, giving the kids their vitamins, switching over laundry, thawing dinner, etc.
Another method that worked well for our family for a long time was using a dry erase board in plain sight. I wrote my name and my two older children’s names with our chores for the day divided up between us. We erased chores as we went. Once chores were done, we moved into school work. It was a quick and satisfying way to get things done.
Ultimately, the name of the game when getting started with finding something that works for you is to brainstorm. Only you know the real inner workings of your family. Only you can look at your day and decide what might work and what definitely won’t.
There are a million different methods. You could literally get lost in a sea of schedules. You also don’t have to stick with one set routine or schedule for the rest of your life. My routines and schedules have changed over the years depending on my current life circumstances. I would highly suggest you take a look at other people’s schedules and routines, but always with the thought in mind that what works for others will have to be tweaked for you and your family. You can see more of our routines and schedules on the Home Management page.
The last post in this series before we move on to homeschool scheduling will be about going beyond the basics and fitting in weekly and monthly chores, so stay tuned!