I've had many questions about whether or not I schedule weekends. The answer to this is yes, and no. *smile*.
A Routine for Weekends - But Not a Schedule
In general we do not schedule weekends, but I have scheduled Saturdays in the past when my husband, Bob, has been working every Saturday regularly.
Currently on Saturdays we have a general routine we follow when there are not any events in place for that day. The children all have the opportunity to sleep in later than usual that morning if they choose (they all choose *chuckle*). Bob and I get up at 7:45 am and wake up the twin 9-mo-old babies to feed them at their usual time, and we also wake up the 5 children at this time who still have afternoon naps so that they'll still need their nap later that day. This may not seem like sleeping in very much, but to us it's nearly 3 hrs. later than we usually get up Monday through Friday (at 5am). If we expect the children to sleep later, then we need to be faithful to them an enable them to still do so. We can't let them sleep late and then require that they still nap later. After all, we can't have our cake and eat it, too. *wink*
After feeding the twin babies at 8am, we always have pancakes or waffles on Saturday mornings. Bob usually cooks these while I'm getting other things done around the house for a little while. Then I move right in to bathing the youngest 7 kids. During the summer we waited to do baths and showers until Saturday evening because the kids would get so sweaty and dirty during the day of playing, but this timing doesn't work out as well for us all because I'm often out doing the weekly shopping Saturday afternoon/evening. So for fall, winter, and spring I bathe kids Saturday mornings. Meanwhile, Bob snuggles with some kids, spends time on the computer or reads. The other kids do their regular morning jobs, and then they have free time mostly playing together before lunch. The toddlers usually have some structured playtime in either the extra-large-size playpen or their bedroom for a little while like they usually do during the school week. I've found that toddlers do not typically make great choices of how to spend their time for hours on end with out some guidance *chuckle*, so I break up their "free choice time" with some structure, even on weekends. (Toddlers will learn how to make great choices by being shown what is appropriate.) I used to do the deeper cleaning such as bathrooms on Saturdays so that I could do it without interruption while Bob was home, but in the last few months our oldest daughter, Karen, has desired to be earning some of her own money and so has taken on these bigger jobs for me. All of the children have daily jobs as part of our family, but if they desire to earn money then I'll pay them to do extra jobs.
The lunch menu on Saturdays varies from our usual weekday salads, and we usually have sandwiches. After this is a little more free time for the children, I am busy getting to-do list things done. With both Bob and I home and present around the house the children do not typically need much structure to enable "successful" free time (i.e. not too crazy, not destructive, kind, and creative). Bob usually spends some time on my "honey-do" list for him as well. *smile* I love, love my man and the way he participates with and supports our family.
At 2:00 five children have naps: the 5-year-old for two hours, the 2 toddlers and 2 babies for three hours; the older 4 children have quiet play time; Bob and I have a 2 hour break from managing kids. During the week this is alone play time for the 4 oldest, but on the weekends, when Bob is home, I allow them to play with one other sibling during that time (3 or more children typically needs management, but 2 is okay). He doesn't mind managing their relationships or behavior a bit if necessary; when he's not home I always require that everyone naps or plays alone, which give them each a break from people, and me as well. After a quiet 2 hours I am refreshed and ready to jump in with the family again. During the week, for Bob and I, "naps and play-alone time" is a time for working on to-do lists, reading, I make any phone calls I need to make while the house is quiet, we get some things done on the computer, and usually have a nap. After a nap on Saturdays I usually leave around 3:00, with one of our daughters, to do the weekly grocery and other family-needs shopping. This takes about 4 hours on average. Bob very lovingly puts something together for dinner for himself and the kids while I'm doing the shopping for our family, and then the kids start cleaning up the house and getting ready for bed, which is at 8:30 pm.
This is a typical Saturday at the Shupe's house. *smile* When we have extra things going on, such as an activity to attend or a park to visit (mostly just in the summer), or if I have larger projects to get done (like putting away the children's spring/summer clothes and getting out the fall/winter ones, which takes about 2 hours in the garage), then we work around that. We still get the basic same things accomplished on Saturdays - pancakes, baths, to-do lists, relaxing, family time, cleaning bathrooms, grocery shopping - but it may happen in a different order. Or, if we're out most of the day on Saturday, then some of the things like grocery shopping needs to happen on Sunday afternoon instead. We try to leave Sunday as a restful family day, however, definitely not having any regular commitments outside of church on that day, such as sports (watch for a future post on this subject). In order to keep Sundays as restful, Saturday is a productive, getting things done day, just differently than Monday through Friday.
Actually Scheduling Saturdays
When Bob was working every Saturday, however, I needed to schedule Saturdays as well, for my own sanity and for peace in our home. "Winging-it" for hours on end has never worked well for the children or myself. *smile* Having no plan has lead to chaos, which no one in our family likes for 10 minutes much less for hours. Young children simply do not know, yet, how to make great choices all of the time; they will learn by example. Our scheduled Saturdays looked much the same as the regular weekday schedule, but the older children did not do school; they would have free-choice time instead. But jobs (chores) still happened, one-on-one time with younger siblings, baking, and stories, etc. happened in a predictable routine.
A sweet friend encouraged and reminded me even just recently, when I was struggling with managing our family's time in a unique situation. She said, "Make a plan; implement the plan." Yes - of course! *smile*
Blessings on your efforts!
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