My background is working with children. If you’ve worked with me you might have guessed that already. I was a psych and social work student, but basically I’ve just always worked with children in some capacity….. It’s really all I’ve ever done. I should note that for while I stayed home with my eldest but quickly learned that it was not my cup of tea. With the recent developments of the pandemic I’ve had no choice but to put my teacher and SAHM hat on. I’ve implemented a few things that have saved me my sanity and I thought I’d share this with my families I’ve worked with.
Please note, things don’t always go as planned (actually they RARELY ever do) we often have to pivot and call an audible. This is a mere outline of our routine. Also, remember to be kind to yourself. Don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you hoped to get your kids on a routine. We fail A LOT over here but we try again. I always say 3 days. 3 days is usually enough time in kid world to create a new habit or break an undesirable one. CONSISTENCY IS KEY.
The one thing children need during change and unpredictable times is a solid routine. Children thrive on routine. So, during these times a simple routine will help everyone in the family.
I’ll preface this with- I truly find myself a lazy parent. One that hate schedules so much that when I see schedules I get anxiety since nothing ever seems to go as planned. This is a more of a basic outline that flows with my families morning; while making sure our children are getting what they need from us and continuing to give them independence and responsibility they want. Secondly, I don’t overthink things. Keep things simple. Use what you have at home- Montessori works with your family and will look different for all families based on the ages and needs of each family.
Currently, both rich and I work from home and James and Jack are both home all day. Being self employed and the type of work I do I’m lucky for the ability to be very flexible with work. So, I get up around 4 am to work and have coffee in peace with our golden doodle La-Llyod. The kids rise around 6ish and Rich starts work at 8:30 and thats when i take over.
Family Book/ family snuggle when everyone is awake. My kids need time to wake up – so we snuggle and read. If James wakes before Rich and Jack he uses an old iPhone we had laying around is allowed to use Tynker or Epic. I was anti tablet prior to this pandemic but I’ve changed my tune. I do my best to be intentional with what James is using his time on. Tynker is an amazing coding game, and Epic gives him access to children’s books. I’ve linked both apps above.
Breakfast : the kids fix their own breakfast with some assistance and adult supervision. It’s usually cereal, eggs or double toasted toast and fruit. Here is a link to some great breakfast items that kids can prepare on their own. Montessori Breakfast Ideas. Believe it or not kids want to be independent and as parents we just need to give them the tools and control to do so.
Morning Chores: Brush Teeth, make beds, pick up bedrooms (books away, dirty clothes), feed and walk La-Llyod, laundry, shoveling ect. Here is a great chart for age appropriate chores. Montessori Chores by age.
If there is time before we start our “work time” the kids are free play.
If you haven’t guessed both my kids go to Montessori and I use to run a Montessori school. So we attempt to do an uninterrupted work cycle which rarely happens with a 2 and 5 year old but we try! If you aren’t familiar with Montessori here is a great resource for at home activities and a brief overview of what is Montessori.
During a typical work cycle James will usually do 2-3 works that are all accessible to him on a work shelf. Lately he’s been into movable alphabet, world map, cleaning windows (jacks favorite), anything to do with patterns and variants of colors.
Jacks is obsessed with magna tiles. So, that’s what I roll with and I’ll do extensions with magna tiles. Most of out work is made from things we have around the house. This doesn’t have to cost additional money. Coloring matching is huge with magna tiles. On a side note, magna tiles are also great to make bar graphs!
Snack is always available during work time incase they get hungry. It’s usually a tortilla and almond butter that they prepare and clean up themselves.
MUZZY: I use muzzy as a tv filler when I need to get stuff done….. My kids love it and they are learning a second language. So, I feel less guilty about screen time. Let’s be real, no one should feel guilty about screen time right now. It’s imperative that you do what works for your family.
LUNCH: Rich does lunch. It’s usually a picnic bike ride or picnic outside.
AFTERNOON: Jack naps and James has quiet time (sometimes he does work with me or does a coding game)
I don’t plan much in the afternoon. Maybe an art project or bike ride if it’s nice out. They are welcome to help me prepare dinner or play. The point is we are flexible and a lot of it depends on how the children and I are holding up for the day. Somedays we are crazy productive other days we play movie theater and watch a movie.