My Stance on Schedules and How I Keep Them
My dear friends, I have always known that I work better on a schedule. When the school year would end, I loved my summer break but, I could feel the weight of not having a schedule eating at me after a few weeks. I was always ready to get back to work so that I had my routine back. As much as I know I need a schedule I will be contradicting myself through this whole post. Parenting is not straightforward, especially when you throw in multiple children and wide age ranges.
This time in our life, more than any other, is requiring me to think differently about how to make it all work. Being home has changed so much for me. My relationship with cleaning and routines has completely changed and is continually evolving.
One consideration for our schedule is Autzen’s unique needs when living with ADHD. There are several things that we are sure to maintain to help keep a routine for him.
Because I have so much to say about ADHD and schedules I’m going to bullet list them.
- I believe that a schedule and routines are good for everyone, but when talking about the ADHD brain it becomes part of your self-care. It truly is part of his mental health regimen. We want to create habits that he can take with him when he moves on….this won’t be for many years still, but we believe in laying the foundation.
- We try to keep his weekend bedtime and wake-up time about the same as the weekdays. This helps overall with regulating his emotions. This isn’t to say that he is always in bed at the same time, but we try to stay within an hour and on crazy fun occasions allow him to stay up later (knowing that it may come back to haunt us). He’s 14.5 and I can feel the teen-ness oozing through his schedule. He’s wanting to stay up more and struggles to get up on time. We’ll still encourage and work towards the goal of it staying consistent.
- We have a strict 10:00 pm lights-out rule. When he was younger he would go to his room at 8:00 pm and then lights out at 10:00. This allowed him some downtime to unwind. As he’s gotten older this has adjusted. Now he goes to his room by 9:30 and lights out at 10:00.
- In the past, Autzen would take melatonin nightly. He weaned himself off of it and now uses it when he feels like he needs the extra help. On occasion, we’ll encourage him to take one.
- We have scheduled shower days on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. He can take as many more showers as he’d like, but these are a must no matter what. We found that having a fixed schedule for something like this removed a lot of frustration and arguing.
- He gets home from school by 4:00 pm. After school we have a snack, catch up and try to get outside.
- Autzen does immensely better with lots of outside time. While living on the farm he was getting close to 2 hours outside. Now that we have moved we work towards him being out at least 30 minutes. Being on the football team was huge for him! When football was over you could tell. We encouraged him to join other sports but no luck this year.
- Part of his schedule includes time for electronics. This could include time on his phone, Chromebook, computer, the X-box. This is not regularly scheduled but happens pretty frequently. We monitor his electronics time closely because he is sensitive to too much of it. Again, as he’s getting older, this is getting harder. Throwing a phone into the mix is definitely tricky.
To break it down at a glance it goes roughly like this during the week:
- 7:00 to 8:10 (On non-shower days he is starting to wake up closer to 7:40)
- wake up
- shower on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
- take care of his dog
- any other odd jobs if time allows
- 8:10 Get on the bus
- 4:00 – 5:30(roughly dinner time)
- home from school
- get a snack (usually huge….)
- spend time outside if it’s not pouring rain
- do odd jobs as needed
- play with little brothers
- 5:00 Go inside so I can prep dinner
- 6:00 Kitchen Cleaning Duty
- 7:00 to 8:30 Constructive/Hobby Time
- 8:00 to 9:00 is generally computer time happens
- 9:30 In bedroom
- 10:00 Lights out
Barrett and Grayson have a very similar schedule, except around sleeping times. Barrett, at 4 years old, no longer naps. Grayson, on the other hand, is a consistent napper. I try to stick closely to his nap and sleep schedule, but honestly, I try not to build my day around it unless I am firming up his schedule. I will say that the days that we stick closest to the schedule are generally better. Or, at least, they don’t cause the next day to be rough.
- Grayson is in the middle of transitioning from his crib to a floor bed (a fancy way of saying I put his crib mattress on the floor). I use the Cry It Out method for sleep training. We are really close to nailing his sleep schedule! He roughly wakes up around 5:15 but stays in his room until 6:00. He goes down for his nap around 11:00 and sleeps anywhere from 1.5 hours to 3. His bedtime is determined by his nap wake-up time and what activities we were doing. I’ll write more about his sleep training journey in a separate post!
- Barrett used to be pretty consistent with his morning wake-up time. It had been close to 7:30 for a long time. He had been sleeping in our bed nightly, either starting there or coming in whenever he woke up. He has been successfully sleeping in his bed since the end of April. With the change to being in his bedroom with a 1-year-old brother on the loose, he is frequently woken up around 5:00 am. This is gradually getting better.
- From 6 to 6:30 Grayson and I get pretzels, his milk cup, water bottle, and turn on the tv. At 6:30 Daddy comes out to sit with him while I take a half hour to myself to get ready for the day! This scheduled time has been beyond amazing. It took us some working together and figuring things out to hit on this as the fix to making sure I am not going days without a shower.
- 7:00 to 8:00 is focused on getting Autzen out to catch the bus. I do not have to do a whole lot at this point for him. I make sure he’s up and stays on track. The littles are generally watching cartoons or playing at this time.
- By 8:30 we have all had breakfast and everyone is dressed. This can all happen as early as 7:30 and as late as 9, but generally we are set by 8:30.
Anyone with a toddler, get your notepad, this is good. We have a brand new bedtime routine for this little man! At the house, he was having some trouble falling to sleep and needed me to sit with him. This could take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes. Recently it got up to 90 minutes of me sitting with him in his bed (while nursing/holding Grayson) and reading to him, talking to him, showing him pictures on my phone, listening to an audiobook, or wrestling him to lay back down. I was really struggling with how to do this without having an actual bedroom for him. I thought for a long time on it, conversed with my mom, and thought even longer on it. I revamped it and we’re closer to 15 to 30 minutes.
The first night of this routine took 77 minutes with countless times of him getting out of his bed and crying. Each time I picked him up and carried him back to his bed. I did not interact with him any more than carrying him. The second night was 25 minutes and the third was 15 minutes!!!
- I started by telling Barrett what to expect. I talk him through the routine a few times throughout the day. I did this a ton in the first few days and I am still doing it. At one point I set an alarm so I wouldn’t forget to talk him through it.
- We start by looking at his star chart and talking about how if he stays in his bed he gets a sticker! I started really small so that he had immediate success. I told him on the second day that if he stayed in his bed he could buy something at the store (the Dollar Tree). He did not earn it that day, but he only got out of his bed once. This is the key, I had to stay strong and not give into him doing so much better. He earned his first prize on the next night! He stayed in his bed the whole time. He now has to get two stickers to get a prize. Once he earns the next one I’ll bump it up to 3 stickers until we’re at 5.
- Then he goes to the bathroom and getting on his pullup and jammies.
- Then we wash his face and hands with a warm washcloth.
- I read him a story in a chair. I like it in a chair a lot because it creates more of a delineation between his “bedroom” and the rest of our space.
- When the book is over I carry him to his bed and remind him that I love him, he’s safe and he can see me. I remind him again that if he stays in his bed he gets a sticker!
- He is usually fussy as I lay him down. The first night was horrible, but after that hasn’t been too bad. We interrupted this new training with a trip and then staying up late so it is not as good as it would be if we had stayed consistent.
- I wanted to incorporate not crying into getting a sticker but it is too soon for that. I am going back to just staying in his bed.
- This is an adapted version of the Cry It Out method. I believe strongly that, although this is hard the first two nights, it is overall incredibly helpful and important to his sleep health and mine.
For myself, I have a schedule that is my dream vs what is actually happening. But, really, I am loving my schedule and looking forward to honing it and making it top-notch! Baby Gray doesn’t really have a schedule. At five months old the guy still eats and sleeps most of the day. Seriously, he goes down for his first nap around 9:00 am, and then it’s off and on napping all day. He is usually sleeping for the night by 8:30 this last week. This is huge compared to the 11:00 pm sleep time he pulled the first few months of his life. My schedule is basically the kids’ schedule so scroll on back up to see what I’m doing! Nah, just kidding! That is the basis for my schedule. Below are the things I try to get into my day and what I am hoping to add.
- I’d like to start by saying that I do not take naps! I thought I would want to as a SAHM but I don’t. Instead, I have a 2 o’clock coffee!
- First thing in the morning I try to get my contacts in and get dressed. This makes my day start out so much better, you know, when you can see.
- My dad brings me a pot of French press coffee every morning at about 7:30.
- After getting Autzen out the door to do his chores I get Barrett fed.
- Every morning, as soon as I can, I make my bed and Barrett’s bed. I posted about this before and shared that I didn’t know if I’d be able to do it long term. Well, friends, look at me now! I’m still keeping it up every single day! It is so important in such a small place and feels so good to do it!
- I do the dishes after every meal or enlist Autzen in doing them for me.
- Every day I try to get one more task marked off my list. It is still usually things around organizing our things in the small space. Getting rid of more items, reorganizing until it works.
- Exercising! Right now this is in the form of a long walk. I want to begin incorporating yoga into my routine! After having the baby and turning 40 I am so tight and miss when I did yoga. This is my winter days goal!
- Once the two little guys are asleep I try to play a game with Autzen once or twice a week. This gives him some specific one-on-one time and I love me some games! The other night he and I started the Firefly series!
- Once everyone is asleep I either work on my blog, put away laundry, showering, read or watch movies on my phone with headphones in. The funny thing about this is that I used to live for going to bed by 8:30 and sleeping by 9….sometimes even sleeping by 8:30! Now I am always awake till 10 but usually closer to 11:00. Thank you, 2 o’clock coffee!
There you have it, how we get it done! We are getting closer to a really smooth working schedule and couldn’t be happier about it. I need to focus more on Barrett’s and my schedule, but I like where it is going so far. If you wanted more details about anything brought up here shout it out in the comments!