Monday, October 7, 2013

Household Scheduling and Time Management

With 2 adults, 4 kids, and 7 pets our schedules get kinda hectic.  Even our routine tasks can be forgotten (did I do that today - or was it yesterday??) - especially with ADHD kids.  I'm a Type-A listmaker - and I live by my calendar (calendars plural really - I'm obsessed).

And while you may stop by my house on any given day and find a tornado has come through it - we LIVE in our living room.  School, games, eating, all of it.  The laundry doesn't get folded daily, but it IS washed each day, ensuring clean clothes for all (perhaps fished out of the basket though). The turtle tank gets cleaned, dishes washed, spiderwebs vacuumed up. You wouldn't know it by the clutter everywhere!

In an effort to keep track of all of our therapies, doctor visits, and activities I have several calendars.  My main one is paper - July to June -this is my baby.  Always up to date, always accurate.  Each month I create the family wall calendar:
I work hard to keep this wet-erase (do NOT use dry erase or someone WILL accidentally - or purposely- erase it) board up to date.

Everyone wants to know what's expected of them on any given day.  My husband needs to know if he's responsible for anything besides work & sleep (like driving a kid to an appointment b/c we are double booked), since he works 3rd shift and sometimes he has a commitment during the day - his bedtime.  The girls have autism/PPDNOS and will have a very hard time if they do not know what's going on each day - in advance.  No fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants here.
So I have to spend the extra time to complete this weekly calendar as well.  It is 10 minutes well spent each Sunday night though! Each family member has their own line - mine is always the most full, I'm a bit overbooked.  Our meals are listed on the bottom since the calendar I bought came with a space for that.

I meal plan for multiple reasons.  First, I'm a control freak and it is something I have control over. It ensures we have dinner - not fast food or pricey take out or other unhealthy options, like a week straight of frozen pizza.  Mostly because it saves us time and money.  I can plan for 3 weeks and prep most of the food in advance.  I shop using sales and coupons.  Every once in awhile I snag a few things that aren't on my menu that are a great deal.  Then in the next 3 week rotation I use up those items.  We have pantry shelves in the laundry room, a small freezer, and an extra fridge/freezer in the garage.  This is how I can prepare so much in advance to survive the busy week nights.

I handwrite a lot b/c I have a nursing baby and it's easier to write with one hand than type.  I also make a list of lunch ideas - the girls usually make their own lunch while I am getting Dean fed and ready for preschool.  I pretty much don't eat or snack here and there. Life of a busy mom.

The MOST important element to keeping the kids on task and helping them manage their time is a visual reminder.  We have lists - the concept is to earn a reward for completing chores and routine tasks.  The chore chart is an Excel spreadsheet I made for each kid with a list of things they get paid a dime for (this is what our family has decided on).  They are paid weekly based on tasks they have checked off.

I am pretty frustrated that I can't figure out how to upload documents to this blog, because I'd love to share the basic chart with you and you can edit for your family.  Maybe I'll figure it out someday...

This is the dry-erase boards I made.  I simply wrote up their daily routines in a Word doc and laminated them.  They have the opportunity to earn screen time (20 minutes per ticket,  up to 5 tickets a day earned) based on their routines.  Regardless of whether they have tickets going into a day they can NOT redeem unless the morning portion is completed.  This is how I have gotten them to take their medicine. (NOT AN EASY TASK!)

When a child has brushed her teeth, she checks the box.  If the whole section (morning, afternoon, evening) is completed, a ticket is earned.  We have physical tickets that are earned and redeemed to keep track.  We found that screen time is their sweet spot -- even my 4 year old responds to this (he earns tickets more easily and they are for 5 minutes).

Now, no excuses for not keeping the laundry going or forgetting to shower! :) Simply wipe off at the end of the day and begin anew each morning.

There is also a weekly chore list - like 3 days a week we need to scoop up the lawn after the dog, once a week is the turtle tank, the stairs are vacuumed every other Saturday, so on.  I don't have a photo - this is a Word doc on my computer. Anyone know how to get those docs onto Blogger??

We have lists and guidelines for homeschooling as well, but I fill in my teacher's guide each day, AFTER something is completed.  I used to set a schedule for each day and it would become stressful to always follow this by the book.  One place the girls are flexible? Learning.

We may play a game instead of go for a walk.  Yesterday I planned to continue our study of the moon missions but Julia asked why leaves change color.  So instead we researched that and did an experiment for an hour.  I love our newfound freedom of throwing out the strict schedules and following our interests and hearts.