Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! I’m blogging over on Chronicles of a Babywise Mom and Elaine from Faithfully Infertile is posting here about how to make a schedule for 3 children! Be sure to visit all of the Babywise Network Bloggers today!
Making a schedule that works for three children of different ages and with different activities and needs throughout the day can seem like a daunting task. Sometimes people assume that once #3 comes along, the Babywise schedules are going to have to go out the window out of necessity. It is just not possible to keep 3 children on a schedule, right?! Wrong. It is very do-able and very possible.
I have three children; two girls who are six and four years old and my youngest, a boy, is 13 months old. Recently, I took some time to evaluate our schedule and I made one that would fit in everyone’s activities and needs throughout the day.
I am a stay-at-home-mom and I homeschool the girls. Without a schedule, I don’t know how I would manage the craziness of three little ones and homeschooling. Here is how I made our schedule, step-by-step.
1. Make a list of everyone’s activities and needs.
Get out a sheet of paper. Make 3 columns. Write each child’s name at the top of each column. Then think about what activities each child needs to do in one day and write them in their column.
2 Draw a schedule sheet with 30-minute increments of time.
3. Start with the youngest child, since they are the least flexible, and beginning plugging in their activities to the schedule sheet.
There are certain things my 13 month old needs to do at certain times of the day. Older children are more flexible. It is easier to build the older children’s schedule around the youngest child’s schedule. Some of the activities for my son that are not very flexible are his meal times and nap times. Those get written on my schedule sheet first.
4. Fill in the rest of the time slots with the other activities by using some strategy!
Is there anything you need to do one-on-one with a certain child? If there is, find something the other child(ren) can do independently while you do the one-on-one activity with the other child. For us, this is our homeschooling. I want to be able to work with my 1st grader with the least amount of interruption from the littles as possible.
This is why I scheduled my 4yo’s Independent Playtime during her 6yo sister’s school time. I strategically placed school time on our schedule when the 13 month old is napping.
I strategically schedule in 30 minutes of TV time at 5pm. That can be a crazy time of day with 3 little ones. Having TV time at this time eliminates some of the crazy as the girls are occupied by their show while dinner is cooking. Then, at 5:30pm, when the show is over, we can all sit down to eat together.
During this phase of schedule making, it is so helpful to have everyone’s activities listed out on one paper with the schedule written out on another piece of paper. It’s like doing a puzzle! You fit the pieces together in a way that will work for each individual child and for the family as a whole! Once all the pieces are in place, you have a schedule!
5. Implement your schedule for a few days and make any tweaks necessary.
Occasionally something that looked good on paper, doesn’t go well in reality. A little tweak is most of the time all you need to fix it. I had to rearrange the order we were completing our school work in the morning because what I had written on the schedule wasn’t working in reality.
Having a 3rd child does not mean you have to say goodbye to the Babywise schedule. About every quarter I sit down and do this to make sure our schedule is on track and meeting the needs of all family members.