The Blog

morning routines: the follow up a FAQs


alright already!

i get it i gave you the routine and now you are all “when did you start?” “does this work during the fall with school?” and “I NEED A FOLLOW UP!”

well aren’t we all a little demanding!

in case you haven’t seen it i posted my morning routine here.

but i’ll post it here as well:

no electronics (except tv for a few morning cartoons while eating breakfast, and checking of i-touch for any emergency emails…never has happened yet) may be started up and nothing may be worked/played on till everything else on the following list is completed (usually around 10 am in the summers)

the morning routine:
*kids up. eat cereal.
*dishwasher, is unloaded from the night before while kids finish breakfast.
*dishwasher can then be loaded with breakfast bowls, and can continue to be filled throughout the day as needed.
*beds are made and rooms are tidied up (but really they don’t need it cause we pick up before going to bed.) mainly dirty laundry: pj’s, undies, and socks or bedding that needs washing is taken to the laundry room.
*next each person in our family (minus dad because he’s at work) is to participate (as well as they can due to age!) in our daily household chore.

ours goes as follows:
Monday-fold laundry- kids are all responsible to fold their own clothes and put them away in their drawers) yes even the 6 year old and 4 year old. they do a horrible job, but with practice they get better. i’m not looking for perfection, just good habits…and my 10 year old and 8 year old are incredible laundry folders as they have had a little bit longer practice. the rest of the week i am the one who folds all the laundry and they are responsible to take it to their drawers.

Tuesday- bathrooms– while the boys, who have been taught how to clean the bathroom, each are responsible for one part of the bathroom (ie toilet, tub, and sink…and that is on a rotating weekly schedule so not one kid gets stuck with the toilet every week) katie and i clean my bathroom. basically i just want her to be part of it and help and when we get to that point when she’s a little older, she’ll be rotated into cleaning the “kid’s” bathroom as well.

Wednesday-floors, and dusting- one kid vacuums their room, the others dust and help me dust as well. i make sure my floors are all swept and mopped.

Thursday-organize- just like i challenged all of you to organize one area (large or small) we have tried to do this as a family. it’s mainly for my kids during this summer because i just want them to get used to doing it on a regular basis. it will be more for me in the fall when i will tackle closets, and other places on a more regular schedule again.

Friday-mow lawns-
the older boys have started this this summer. our lawn looks like it gets a bad hair cut every week, but they are slowly improving. sigh.

now i have to ad this because i’m sure people will have the question of “how the hell do you get them to do it?”

i have one answer for you.

my kids revolted (especially the bathroom day) for a little while…but i didn’t make them do it. instead of yelling, and getting after them, i would let them sluf off and when they would ask if they could play video games, asked to play with friends, or asked to go to the pool. i said “nope. not till your daily chore and every day stuff is done.” oh you should of heard the wailing!

but after a few times, and with my consistency of “if these things get done…then you can do…” they may still huff and puff on certain days and say “ugh i hate mondays because i hate folding laundry…” to which i always answer “no kidding, you know folding laundry is my least favorite thing to do? but we have to do it in order to go to the pool right?” and that usually stops all grumbling.
and there you have it our morning routine/schedule…which opens up the rest of the day for us.
and here’s my follow up:

my mornings are all scheduled. yes, because it is summer that’s how i have it. during the fall i personally keep the schedule that i’ve implemented…but i have a “lighter version” for the kids during the school year because lets face it… homework, scouts, piano, and if we are doing a sport…will most likely create meltdowns (and i ain’t just talking about the kids).

no see during the school year i’ll keep my routine till 10 am. it still gets everything done and my house is somewhat clean at any given moment. not spotless because well HELLO i have 4 kids. i also adjust my routine if i know i have to go to walmart or doctors appointments or whatever else by switching out more time consuming tasks with easier tasks (less time).

but for the kids they are expected to do something before they are allowed to watch tv or play video games and play with friends. (and of course we also have to adjust the days when we have den meetings or if the kids are involved in a sport…)

school schedule aka
“the lighter version” is as follows for the kids:
monday piano, and bring in trash cans from the curb
tuesdays clean the bathroom
wednesday vacuum/room (their room)
thursday help fold clothes (not the whole load i’ll leave a little for them out. this will be a new one this year…we’ll see how it goes)
friday mow lawns(but not till spring which around here doesn’t really hit till school gets out anyways!!!)

saturday and sunday are not work days except for the regular morning stuff like make bed and keep it tidy. or if we’ve had too many things going on that week we’ll try to do catch up, but i try to avoid at all costs making the kids work in the house on saturdays and especially sundays.

i know there will be scouts and possibly sports in there, so i normally don’t put the bathrooms and laundry day anywhere we have extracurricular activities out of the home.

now to answer some questions i keep getting asked:

*when did you start this routine with your kids? when they were older or did you always have a routine?

well i’ve always had a routine…but it’s morphed throughout the years.
let me explain. when my youngest was little around 18 months old i would have him help put away his toys he was playing with. but i made it really simple for him (and me). i had bins of toys. they didn’t even need to be a specific “toy bin” like just super heroes or just trains. (but i tried that too) i just had a few bins that sometimes would have different kinds of toys as well. i would take it down from the closet and open it up for him. he could play with his hearts content. if he wanted another bin. i would have him help me put away that particular bin that was already down, so we could bring the next bin out. it seemed to keep things less overwhelming for a little 18 month old (and a new mommy like myself) to have to only need to clean one bin at a time (and i ain’t talking huge bins!!)…
that is how i made all my little kids start helping with our “cleaning routine” katie’s room is mainly bins that are accessible but she’s pretty good at helping me clean up every night and not dump out every single bin. cleaning up thier room is a great place to start to teach little ones to clean. but i think the main key point here is that you need it to not be overwhelming for them to help. so less toys means less overwhelming. i’m having a little bit of a harder time with a girl on this but we’ve been working on weeding out and boxing up things she’s not that interested in and i have a hard time letting go of because i made it or it has sentimental value (ahem to me).

as they get older more can be expected of them. but remember they are just learning and they can’t do it without your help. you first have to teach them what you would like for them to do while doing it with them. i’m still at that stage. not so much with the 10 and 8 year old but more so with the 6 and 4 year old. at some point i hope to of instilled habits that the kids will know how to do it on their own (we’re shooting for teenage years) but then again i’m not looking for perfection…i’m just looking to instill in them habits they will be able to take on with them when they leave home and they’ll hopefully know how to do laundry and keep a dorm or whatever rat free. do you get what i’m putting down?

I’m not as scheduled as you are. i wish i was. have you always been this way?
i’d like to answer this with a yes and no.
i’ve always been a more organized and routine person. my room wasn’t ever super messy growing up, but then again my mom is pretty tidy herself (?don’t know if that has anything to do with it?), and
i’ve had times when organization of my home wasn’t the most important, but it was still kind of tidy i guess.

i’m going to confess here to something which might get me hung.
after my first kid i got ppd. for about a year. didn’t know it till the year passed and i slowly walked out of it. in that year i didn’t feel like i was “myself” in some ways. a house schedule was one of the things that sort of was put on the back burner.
it used to make me happy to have an organized and somewhat clean house. but for that year, it did not, and i had no desire to do it. i only did it when i knew people would come over. or when it was absolutely necessary.

that year was one of my hardest transitions (yes probably as bad if not worse than when jake left for deployment) i was learning how to cope being a mom, being an apartment manager, and being someone that never left home to go to work anymore.
i found walking to be a great mood lifter…and slowly i started add cleaning on a regular basis. by the time my oldest was 18 months i was finding ways to have him help me with our house, as i noticed how much better my mood was when i was walking AND having my environment somewhat peaceful.
if you think you have ppd talk to other moms, get help and support and love. if need be go see a doctor.

here’s what i honestly think: if you have too much stuff you will be overwhelmed.
live in the house you live in now. i know some of you are military so you never know what size house you will have. well i was military for a little while (out in october!) and that’s when the whole every 6 months i would get rid of things that weren’t being used because i HATED packing up and unpacking crap i knew we didn’t need. i know when i have stuff laying around that doesn’t have a place to go it makes cleaning frustrating. same thing goes for students oh yeah and for the rest of us too.

so to those of you who feel overwhelmed by a cleaning schedule, i would say it probably means you might have stuff laying around that doesn’t have a place to go. get rid of the stuff you don’t need and make more surface areas show up. you’d be amazed at how easy dusting and keeping things looking nice will be when you don’t have to keep pushing around stuff from one corner to the other.
maybe your first step should be to look at organizing your space.

hold on i have to break up a fight between the boys…

okay we’re back…now for those of you who work full time jobs. i thought about it and honestly because i’m not in that situation…i don’t feel like i would be able to answer that? so i did the next best thing.
i googled: cleaning schedule for working moms…and this post came up
there were many others but this one kind of had everything briefly spelled out. i hope that was somewhat helpful!

last question: do you have a night routine?
YES absolutely!!! this is probably one of the most important things because this will ensure you will start your next day with a put away house. (which will help you with your cleaning routine because…you don’t have to worry about putting things away ON TOP of cleaning!)
at night we do a pick up of hot spots:
bedrooms are completely picked up (i should also mention that i only allow video games to be played if the room is picked up. and i only let my boys play video games starting at 5, right around dinner time for a little so they basically have been starved of video games all day and are willing to pick up the few toys that have been played with during the day just to get on the blasted thing. (i swear video games are like crack to kids! and when you keep crack away from them for a long period of time they are willing to do anything for it! so use those blasted video games in your favor! can you tell i hate them? can’t win them all)

our night time routine:
*so i make dinner.
*kids are getting their video game high.
*we have dinner.
*talk about our day with dad over dinner.
*and then it’s slow down mode.

**while the fam checks out the garden, or plays outside for a little. i put the last of the dishes in the dishwasher, i pick up the kitchen, and if needed sweep and hot spot mop areas where there’s goop or something sticking to the floor(some nights its the whole freakin floor). turn on the dishwasher and walk away from the kitchen.**

*my kitchen is ready for the next day.

*my kids then are to pick up rooms (if at all necessary…usually just katie because she plays in her room while the boys were tweaking on video games and i’m making dinner.)

**and then night time routines are done.
brushing teeth.
good night songs sung.
personal prayers had.**

*and then i read to the boys for about 45 minutes (currently we’re reading percy jackson book 2)

i end my day with either sitting next to the husband while he watches tv and i do hand work on a quilt or something else, or read. this summer it’s been all about reading…yeah try 8 books in like a month and a half. hello, my name is vanessa and i have an addictive personality. whole different post though.)

start my morning at 5:45 to go walking 4 miles.
get back around 7…where i’m suppose to take a shower and get ready for the day but in reality i 99% of the time meet my pillow for that 1/2 hour till the kids get up…and yes i do fall asleep 97% of the time.

and there you have it the ultimate complete too much information about my schedule post.
you asked for it.
and now that i’ve written a mini book of a post…
we’ll talk soon.

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