Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Rethinking our Nighttime Schedule

We are starting back to our full school schedule January 14th. That gives me a little time to get organized for not only our spring semester but to work on some other long term projects as well. Sometimes though, I get so wrapped up thinking about and planning for school that the simplest things escape me. This week not teaching has freed up some brain cells and allowed me to examine a few things I haven't considered in awhile now. :) Like this...our nighttime schedule hasn't been working but we have just been plugging away. After talking, dh and I have agreed to try something new.

Our current evening schedule goes something like this:
  • 5:00- Eat dinner
  • 5:30-7:00 boys play and dh cleans kitchen and I do nightly chores (sweep and mop kitchen floor, run dishwasher, do laundry, pick up toys...)
  • 7:00 - Bathtime
  • 7:30 - Snack
  • 8:00 - Bed for younger two boys and Thatcher reads from 8-9.
  • 9:00 - Thatcher to sleep
A few things make us want to change what we're doing: dh often has lunch appointments meaning big meals and he's not hungry by 5:00, the boys are not eating well at dinner because they too don't have enough of an appetite yet, we would prefer to have that free/empty time before dinner rather than after when they are more tired and less prone to play nicely, Haddon is not needing quite so much sleep and doesn't require quite so early a bedtime (since I would prefer him to continue taking naps just a little while longer), Thatcher takes so long to wind down and if he reads until 9:00 it often means he is not asleep until 9:30 or later; that's not enough sleep for him since his eyes pop open at 7:00 no matter what time he goes to bed!

Here is what we are trying for the next few weeks:

  • 5:00-6:00 - Mom prepares dinner while boys play in playroom, outside and/or with Daddy
  • 6:00 - Dinner
  • 6:30 - Mom takes boys to bath time while Daddy cleans up kitchen.
  • 7:00 - Family pick-up time/ clean up all toys upstairs and down
  • 7:15 - Snack
  • 7:30 - Thatcher and Haddon go to rooms to read/look at books - Mommy does evening chores then reads to Beckett
  • 8:00 - Beckett to sleep
  • 8:15 - Start bedtime routine (read one book, sing a song and pray) with Haddon
  • 8:30 - Bedtime routine with Thatcher
  • 8:30-9:30 Mommy and Daddy free time! :)
  • 9:30 - Mommy to bed for eight hours of sleep

This is the ideal but many things will keep us from it. Dh is a minister and studies for his sermons many nights at home. He won't always be available for "divide and conquer" duties. We have AWANA and church on Wednesday nights so we have to be out of the house by 5:30 that day. Also, Thatcher is often involved in sports with weekday practices; right now we have Thursday night basketball practices at 6:30.

We have attempted this schedule the past two nights with great success. The only tweaking I've had to do is to give the boys an apple around 4:00 to hold them over until dinner. They were getting cranky waiting until 6:00 to eat. Keeping the boys moving from 6:00-7:30 has worked beautifully. They have no lag which is not a good thing for any of them that time of the night. My boys are like their mamma - early birds! Thankfully none of them get too cranky but they do get WILD when they are tired. It can be exhausting trying to focus all that energy when I too am ready just to go to bed.

Now off to do some more school planning!


my5wolfcubs said...

Great new evening routine! Very nice that dh cleans the kitchen when he's able...but I do have older ones to help w/ that (I just have to *remind* them!).

Life With My 3 Boybarians said...

Hope this leads to some happy night owls. ;)

And all your planning and ambition is motivating. I need to finish planning soon, too. Let us know hat you've got up your sleeve. I'm eager to hear your plans.

Jenny in Ca said...

can't wait to hear how it all works out for you, I was reflecting on how our evenings have gotten totally free-for-all, and the chaos is not doing any of my kids good. I need to get back to a routine for all of them, too. You are very inspiring.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

My dream evening schedule is pretty much out of reach for me if I want my children to know their father. He gets home at 7:45pm so we aren't even done with dinner till 8:30. *sigh* This year I am going to try a new morning schedule instead, since that is a time that I have more control over. I am going to start having my kids up and running a lot earlier which will hopefully make them want to nap during the day. This will (hopefully) keep them from being so grumpy at night and will give me some much needed cleaning/napping/alone time just for me.