In the past month I’ve had a similar conversation with many different people. The conversation goes something like this: “my life, my children’s lives are so much better when we have routine and predictability.” Especially when children are young and there is so much out of their control, the ability to wake up and have a sense of what their day will consist of brings a lot of comfort and security. When I was working that naturally brought about some sort of routine and rhythm, but it was based on another family’s routine and their rhythms. Over the course of the summer, I’ve been trying to figure out what my routine will be with Auden, what our household rythms will look like. I found that summer isn’t the easiest time to start or figure out or stick to routines. I’m not sure why, but I feel like I actually do much better at this when it’s just me and Auden. My husband is a teacher, and I’m so lucky to be able to spend extra time with him in the summer. But we seem to simply go into free fall with all the extra time rather than falling into a routine. And so I’m finding I’m actually quite ready for him to start-up the school year so that we can find our daily rhythms. In the last month, I’ve done a few things that have helped me get organized and follow a routine. I have my organization
shrine wall that has saved me many tears. On this wall are 4 critical elements:
Clipboard. First I loved these decorative clipboards, so I decorated two clipboards, one for me and one for Auden. In my clipboard I keep my Daily Peek and a pen, and on Auden’s blank paper and a crayon. Every day after breakfast we have a “clipboard meeting” (this idea like so many of my recent ideas came from The Creative Family). During our meeting we talk about what projects we’d like to work on during the day, and what our day might look like. This is a great centering and focusing moment and a time to tell Auden what our day will look like.
Next I have my Post-it Weekly Planner. I’m usually the person that buys a planner in hopes of magically becoming an organized person, only to find that after two weeks I’ve stopped using it. But I’ve actually been using this planner and enjoying it. It’s a great way to organize meals/extra preserving or baking for the week in addition to any other important dates and times for each member of our family.
Third is perhaps the most important thing on my wall. I made this using Keynote and then laminated it with this. Perhaps I made this more for myself than for Auden to give some direction in our day. But Auden is responding powerfully to it. There is a lot of openness in our routine but all within a clear structure. We are able to talk about what is coming next and what to expect. During the summer (pre-daily routine life) Auden was having a hard time, lots of tantrums and simply not knowing what to do with herself. Since we’ve started the routine she is so much calmer, happier and focused.
The last part of my wall, is probably the least important as far as organization goes, but it’s Auden’s favorite. It’s her school bag. Every afternoon after her nap, we make iced lattes (her’s sans espresso), and we sit down at her table and do “school time.” I’m not really one for flash cards and driving facts into my little toddler’s head, especially after reading “Simon Says Don’t Use Flash Cards, an interesting article about early learning. But Auden loves school time, where we work on colors and letters and shapes via flashcards and books. These seems to be an important keystone event for her, and keystone events are important in a toddler’s life.
I suppose I have one more device that is helping me get organized. On my adjacent wall I have a daily chore list. I’m not really one for cleaning, but I think having a decently clean house is probably somewhat important, right? As to not get overwhelmed by house cleaning, I’ve broken it down into one small task a day. The cleaning itself takes 15-40 minutes a day (with Auden’s help).
These few additions to our lives have led to a peaceful transition to fall. It’s working great for now and I’m sure it will continue to evolve as the year goes on.