Trying To Predict The Chaos Every Week Helps Minimize It A Bit
As with everyone in the world, we are a busy family. We have two kids in school and they both play soccer. My husband and I both work outside the home and both have active lifestyles where we're always training for races. We both help coach local training programs. Every week holds a different set of scheduling conflicts and no one day is ever the same as the next.
This makes scheduling homework and reading time for the kids quite a headache.
In a perfect world, on a perfect day, the kids come home from school, have a snack, and do their homework and their reading time. However, we have very few days where that works. And while a dependable daily schedule would really be good for the kids, it's impossible with our lives.
SO! Every weekend, usually on Saturday, my husband and I sit down with our weekly calendar. We look at every evening and map out conflicts first, who needs to do what task when there are more than one obligation scheduled at a time. Maybe he does a soccer game and I do a PTA meeting. Maybe I meet my running group but he is in charge of dinner. We look at every night and make a plan for who will handle what activities that evening.
THEN...we plan the homework schedule around that. My daughter is a little older and can stay up later so sometimes she does her homework and reading after her brother goes to bed. Some nights we make my son bring his work to his sister's soccer game and we don't let him play at the playground until it's done.
It may sound hectic because every night is different, but if we plan before the week starts, we can make it feel planned so we're not getting the kids ready for bed and suddenly think: OH NO! We forgot our 20 minutes of reading!
We've learned there is plenty of wiggle room if you just look at the schedule in advance instead of discussing on the way home from work over a frantic phone call. "Wait! If you're doing the game and I'm doing practice, WHO IS DOING DINNER?" We have learned that preparation is instrumental and that there is plenty of time between activities most nights to make it work as long as we know in advance to use that time.
And then, we have to accept that every so often there comes a night where there is just too much going on. We have sacrificed the periodic bath. Or pushed bedtime later. Or not done our nightly reading.
But - as long as we plan ahead - we can usually predict when those nights will be and do our best to surround it with a night of extra reading, or double shampoos. It's all about MANAGING the chaos in our lives. We can't eliminate it at all, but we can see it coming and work around it so that we only have to periodically make sacrifices.
How do you manage nightly schedules when every night is different?