Wednesday, February 18, 2015

How I Manage Multiple Schedules (and get everyone napping at the same time!)

Juggling schedules can be a tricky thing, and from my experience, its certainly been a learning process. Lots of trial and error, and lots of being flexible. I love having and ebb and flow that works, and here are a few things that have helped me find just that.

 I wake up early. I wake up before all my kids. I did not always do this, but once I had 3 kids and places to be, I found it was necessary and incredibly helpful for a peaceful flow to our day. This may be a bit easier for me than most, because Tyler has to be at work at 6 am. So when he gets up to get ready, I do too. I greet the Lord first and give my day to him. I figure if the day is his before the light shines through, we will be on the right foot before the girls even wake.

 I take all the girls schedules into consideration. For example, Anslee has to be at school at 7:45 am. This is a non-negotiable, 5 days a week, she goes to school and this is the time she arrives. So whatever else is happening in anyone else's day, it MUST work around this. So - since Wynn still has a morning nap, I need to make sure of 2 things: a) that 7:45 am be a part of her "waketime" in the morning. b) that she still has a morning wake up time that is consistent each day. Right now, in the morning Wynn can manage about 2 hours of being awake, so I wake her 7 am. This is after I have woken and dressed the 3 big sisters (I usually let them out of their room at 6:45 am to get dressed and have their hair done, but that have usually been awake for a few minutes prior to this.) Wynn is last to get up. If they all have a regular wake up time for the day, they will have set nap times for the day, and you can plan your errandings, outings, playdates around those times. They all eat breakfast at the same time. Two days a week, my MIDDLE SISTERS go to a pre-school. That starts at 9 am. Wynn is usually stretching it to get them there before needing her nap, but on Mondays and Wednesdays, I have her stretch all the way to 2 hours of being awake so I can get them there on time. Then I come home and put her down immediately. On days that the middle sisters do not have school, She is happy to go down at about 8:45. We are flexible here. We have to be. (and honestly, she needs to learn to be a wake a tad longer than she thinks she can!)

 I make the child who is more flexible (almost always the olders) bend more when they need too. In the next few weeks, I will be transitioning Wynn to 2 naps instead of 3. When this happens - her nap times will most likely be 9 am - 10:45 am, and then again at 1:30 - 3:15/3:30. However, right now, with Wynn's 2 nap schedule all 3 of my girls who are at home and needing naps go down at 12:30. I know that when Wynn needs to stretch the waketime length before her 2nd nap (when we go to JUST 2 naps) my middle girls will be able to stay up until 1:30 so they will bend here so that all 3 will take naps at the same time just like they do now on Wynn's 3 nap schedule.

I ask for help when I need it! Anslee has to be picked up from school at 2:50 pm. Right now, on Wynn's 3 nap schedule, this works just fine. Everyone is awake and we can load up and pick her up with no problem. When we transition her, Wynn will for sure need that last nap to stretch longer than 2:40 pm, so I will most likely find a college student who can I pay weekly to sit at the house with my sleeping kiddos while I do pick up. Sometimes Tyler's work schedule is flexible and he can come and sit at the house for 10-15 minutes while I grab Anslee from school. I also have amazing mom friends who pick their own child up from the same school who have offered to help with pick up as well.

 I protect Nap time. If you know me, you know I am a huge believer in how regular nap times and consistency can benefit everyone in the home, so I don't make plans for things during nap time hours. Don't worry, though, I still get out! I am out of the house a LOT during wake times. Its much easier now that Wynn is stretching out how long she can be awake at a time, and this child is SUPER high sleep needs! We go to regular play dates, MOP's meetings (those I do come a little late to those, most weeks!) and go to the park and pre-school, and on and on and on with all different types of activities!

 I prep in the evening for the next day. This has been huge for me! If I can get lunches (and sippy cups) made and in the fridge and a breakfast casserole put together for the week my morning routine happens runs much more smoothly. This helps me keep on task, and I am more likely to keep the schedule I would like for the rest of the day.

 I don't flip out (like I used too) when things need to be adjusted. I was bad before. I couldn't handle it if things went off course. I have relaxed like 200% and it works out. If we are out 30 minutes later than we are used to, its going to be ok because its likely we will all survive it. So I try to remain the most flexible out of all of us, and that really has helped. I love being intentional about my day, and I think that its healthy to provide this structure for my(self) kids.

I took me 3 kids until I could figure these little tidbits out. Its wonderful to have 4 happy girls, who all get to do fun things AND get the sleep they need. Its also wonderful that we get a full nights rest each night - because we are busy during the day and we need the rest!

No comments: