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How to make a printable schedule
Once you have your piece of the schedule that never changes and an idea of what routines you want/need in the house, it’s time to put it all together to make a possible (I won’t say easy) to read piece of paper everyone can refer to. It can be quite difficult to do. I will try and share the process that I use.
I recently re-made my schedule. I was having problems. I had overloaded my schedule so that we couldn’t get everything done. Especially in the beginning of the day. I was so busy that after lunch I needed hours to recover. I overlooked the fact that despite the baby being 4 months old, I am still recovering from hemorrhaging. Whether I think I should be done recovering or not is irrelevant. I also wanted a basic schedule that would work whether we were doing school that week or not.
Here is the flow to the day that I came up with:
Free time/lunch prep
I think that this flow will work better than what I was previously doing. After every regulated time there is an unregulated time. I am hoping to balance the “you have to” times with the “you get to choose” times.
Once you have an idea of what needs to be done and when you want it done, you have two choices. You can leave it as is without any times or you can assign times. I do the latter. I decide how long I think something will take and decide when I want it to start. For example: I want lunch to start at 12:30. It takes an hour to make lunch. So from 11:30-12:30 the kids have the option of free time or helping me. I know that they will not be able to handle the free time without fighting or causing disruption if I don’t spend some one-on-one time with each of them. So I schedule an hour of center time from 10:30-11:30 where one of the centers is something with me. Of course, my children are normal children and sometimes are disruptive anyway despite the one-on-one time. When that happens, I either recruit them to help cook or send them outside or in their room. Morning routine ends at 9:45. So, I schedule free time from 9:45 until 10:30. For that time, I schedule myself to do something relaxing where I am not moving too much. Like: reading my email or checking Facebook.
Normally when I make a schedule, there will be gaps. Places that don’t have an activity scheduled. I either leave the gaps or schedule them as free time. Once you start using the schedule, you can note what actually happened during those times and schedule them in. Don’t feel like you need the whole day scheduled. Schedule as much as you feel you need to.
When I first sketch out the day, I write it on paper. I do this because I am going to change things a lot and it’s easier to cross things out and add arrows than to reformat the Excel spreadsheet.
Once you have a basic idea of how you want the day to go, it’s time to make it look nice.
Creating a Spreadsheet
I use Excel to create a nice looking spreadsheet. If you don’t have Excel, you could also use Open Office which is a free download. I normally use a fun font, but I couldn’t find the person who created the font I used to give them credit, so I am using a generic font in this example.
When I was taught how to make a schedule by Managers of Their Home, she suggests making all of the time slots 15 or 30 min blocks. While I see the logic in this, I refuse. I’m a rebel. You probably can tell that sometimes it’s 30 minutes sometimes its 1 1/2 hours. I just write the times based on my needs. I also want it to fit on one piece of paper.
I highlighted the meal times to make them stand out a little more. The times when we are all doing the same thing I merged together. You could also have different colors for different children to make their part stand out.
When we get a new schedule I show it to my 6 year old. I show her her name and how to read what she is going to be doing all day. I also warn the other members of the family that there is a new schedule. I put it on our message board for everyone to see.
I also created a schedule for school days. It has the same flow as the non-school day schedule.
The times are just guides not rules. I do try and have meal times consistent. If we are getting behind schedule, the free time is typically what gets taken off. Normally, if we are behind it’s because a child or two are choosing not to participate. If a child refuses to do what is on the schedule, as indifferently as I can, I say, “You can do it now or during your free time, it’s up to you.” Which is another good reason to have free time after every work time.
Did you create a schedule? If you would like to share it, you can email it to me and I will post it below. You can leave names off of it if you would like to remain anonymous.