Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Scheduling: What To Do With Weekends?

I've had many questions about whether or not I schedule weekends.  The answer to this is yes, and no.  *smile*. I'll share with you what our plan was like with mostly very young children since that is the season most of our readers are in; but these principles apply beautifully also to older children as well.

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*).  When we had babies, Bob and I got up at 7:45 am and woke up the twin 9-mo-old babies to feed them at their usual time, and we also woke up the 5 children at this time who still had afternoon naps so that they would still need their nap later that day.  This may not seem like sleeping in very much, but to us it's nearly 3 hours later than we usually get up Monday through Friday (at 5am).  Also, if we expect the children to sleep at nap time, then we need to be faithful to them and enable them to 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 8:00 am, we always had pancakes or waffles on Saturday mornings.  Still today Bob usually cooks these while I'm getting other things done around the house for a little while such as laundry, clothes out for the children, opening up the blinds, etc.  Then I moved right in to bathing the youngest 7 kids. 

During the summer we waited to do baths and showers until Saturday evening instead of the usual morning time because the kids would get so sweaty and dirty during the day of playing.  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.  When we had toddlers they would have some structured playtime in either the extra-large-size playpen or their bedroom for a little while like they usually did 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 for many years now we have had older children desiring to be employed at home and so we pay them to clean the bathrooms.  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 meal, 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 as well.  *smile*  I love, love my man and the way he participates with and supports our family.  

When we still had nappers, at 2:00 those five children had naps:  the 5-year-old for two hours, the 2 toddlers and 2 babies for three hours.  The older 4 children had quiet play time; Bob and I had a 2 hour break from managing kids.  During the week this was alone play time for the 4 oldest, but on the weekends when Bob was home, I allowed them to play with one other sibling during that time (3 or more children typically needed management, but 2 was okay).  He didn't mind managing their relationships or behavior a bit if necessary, but when he was not home I always required that everyone naps or play alone, which gave 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 would leave around 3:00, with one of our daughters to do the weekly grocery and other family-needs shopping.  This currently takes about 5 hours on average.  Bob or one of the teenagers very lovingly puts something together for dinner while I'm doing the shopping for our family, and then the kids start cleaning up the house and getting ready for bed.

This was a typical Saturday at the Shupe's house when we had babies and toddlers.  *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 rotating the children's seasonal clothes, 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 or showers, 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.  In order to keep Sundays as restful or for spending time with friends, Saturday is a productive, getting things done day, just differently than Monday through Friday.

Actually Scheduling Saturdays

Years ago 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 with lots of young children never worked well for the children or myself.  *smile*  Having no plan has lead to chaos, which no one in our family liked for 10 minutes much less for hours.  Young children simply did not know, yet, how to make great choices all of the time; they learned 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*

If you would like to have any of my charts, lists, or schedules that I've shared you can download those from this link.

Blessings on your efforts!

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