I like the predictability of a regular family schedule. It helps keep us focused and less frazzled and when the kids were younger helped to minimize melt downs and power struggles. Throughout the year our family schedule will change slightly around school schedules and summer breaks, but during the school year our general family schedule looks pretty much the same week after week. Here are some of the key ways we manage and stick to our schedule.
We establish anchor points in our day
Basically an anchor point is the time our day starts and the time our day ends and we force everything to happen and get done within these anchor points. For us, our start point anchor time is 6:00am and our end point anchor time is 10:00pm. Before six o’clock in the morning and most definitely after ten o’clock in the evening, the house has to be quiet with little to no activity. This doesn’t mean that everyone is in bed at ten o’clock; it just means that if you are still up you have to be quiet and respectful of those sleeping.
Plan our schedule in blocks
Whenever I am planning our schedule for the week, I think in terms of blocks of time rather than minutes or hours and try to manage our schedule to fit into each block as best I can. For us there are basically five blocks – Work & School, Household, Fun/Family, Grocery Shopping/Errands, Activities & Sports. As a general rule a typical day during the week will look like this for us:
6:00 – 9:00 AM – Get Ready for School & Work; Morning Routines; Light Housekeeping, Chores or Do List Stuff
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM – Work & School (For me and the kids; my husband doesn’t get home until later)
4:00 – 7:00 PM – Dinner, Homework, Household Chores, Activities & Sports, Groceries/Errands
7:00 – 10:00 PM – Evening Routines & Bed
Other than our family dinners and maybe some light reading together in the evening, we don’t do much in the way of family activities during the week. We save family fun stuff for the weekends or Friday evenings so that we can enjoy them more.
We keep Sunday’s free
We try really hard to keep Sunday’s free of social commitments or work. We try and make Sunday’s about relaxing, spending time together, and regrouping. After a long week of school, work, and commitments, all of us need this time to just let our bodies and minds rest both physically and emotionally. I minimize all household chores and responsibilities and keep dinner really simple. For the younger kids, we try and get all homework done on Saturday and encourage the two teenagers to do so as well.
I shut down after seven
Once seven o’clock rolls around each night, I am basically spent for the day. So I don’t plan on getting anything productive done after seven each night. I focus on getting all the important things done earlier in the day. The most I will get done after seven is getting the two youngest in bed, folding laundry, or putting in a load of wash, but that is about all.
Question: How do you manage your family schedule?