I'm really on this organizing kick lately. Must be "new year syndrome" lol, and if I wait long enough, it'll go away.. Anyways, my newest thoughts have been on organizing my time. Last spring I bought "Managers of their Home" by the Maxwells at a homeschooling conference. I spent the summer reading and diligently working on a tentative schedule for the fall.. until August, that is, when we discovered that our family was going to grow (again!). And all thoughts of stricter scheduling went down the toilet.. along with my breakfast..
So I'm revisiting that book, and looking into being more deliberate about scheduling my time. I have my daily housekeeping checklist (which is working so-so -- energy being an issue, but at least some things are getting done!) I have created a list of things I need to do in a day, along with things I'd like to do, sleep being one of them! Some things are daily, some are weekly, but I just wrote down everything I need or want to do on any particular day, knowing that I can't do everything!
I've discovered some blogs that talk a lot about family scheduling. One of the things that came up on one of them is scheduling a baby, a la Babywise. And that is something I really don't want to do. Most of my babies have fallen into a routine within a few months, but I've also had high needs babies that require way more mama time than what a schedule would allow for. There's a lot of things about "scheduling" babies that makes me uncomfortable. Like.. just because they ate a full meal 20 minutes ago doesn't mean I can't feed them again now. I've had that happen -- baby breastfeed for 30 minutes (full meal) and 20 minutes later did the exact same thing. I really really don't like the idea that because the schedule says it's nap time, I shouldn't be picking up my crying baby or I'll "spoil" him. I don't know that babies have that level of conscious thought.. to be that manipulative! At least, not in the early few months at least. I think the independence of will that kind of thinking requires doesn't develop until they start moving around on their own (crawling or rolling towards a goal, etc), which is when we usually start training for obedience around here. But before that, I want to foster a sense of security and trust in my babies, that when they need something and let me know (by the only way they know how, crying!) I will be there immediately. Or someone will. Which...makes for a certain amount of unpredictability for a while. I can deal. So can the rest of the family.
So, yeah.. back to scheduling. I can definitely see where we need to tweak ourselves into a more predictable routine around here. At least I need to, hehe. One of the things I think I will be doing is more structured activity time for my under-5 crowd. Free play seems to equal free-for-all fighting/chaos. I think I will look for organization storage for toys and activities that allows me to more adequately control exactly when and what each child is playing with where. Free play is all well and good, but too much of a good thing is well.. too much! We definitely need more structured time for the under-5 crowd.
One idea that has come up is restricted play areas. I really really like this one. Having a playpen set up and limiting the amount of activities that are accessible to a child in a particular area may help cut down on the toy clutter and disorganization we have around here. Table time, blanket time, room time.. etc all have the same basic idea behind them. Child stays in one area, with a limited amount of choices, for a certain amount of time. It's the idea of training the girls to stay in that area, for that amount of time that scares me, lol! Do I have that much energy/patience?
So look for those ideas in upcoming blogs. I may just post of list of all the preschool activities we can do, so I myself can see them/divide them up into appropriate time slots and places. I could see that kind of list being useful just for myself.. and who knows what I'll discover when I actually sit down and think about it.
Scary concept -- sitting down and thinking about anything means undiscovered territory..