Creating a routine and managing a family schedule to follow can be challenging for a couple in the best of times. Throw some very young children into the mix, along with working from home, and it feels next to impossible.
Do you have children? If you’ve lived through the baby stage, you know that it’s difficult to create a firm schedule when you have babies.
Just when you think you have a schedule in place to follow, the baby regresses and starts waking up again at night.
If you also have an older child, they are probably used to a daily routine.
Incorporating the ever-changing schedule of a baby while maintaining the older child’s daily routine and taking care of the home all while working from home may feel like an overwhelming task.
My son and his wife are currently in this very situation. They have a 10-week-old son and a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. They also both work full-time from home.
Their little girl gets up at the same time most mornings, but their son sometimes gets up multiple times during the night. If you have children, I’m sure you’re not surprised.
As a professional organizer, parent, and grandparent, I am well aware of the challenges facing families.
Every stage of your child’s development presents new opportunities for a change in the schedule.
When you have a new baby, chaos can follow, for that’s one of those life events which throws all sense of routine out the window.
How do you meet both your children’s needs, maintain order in the house, and manage your relationship with your spouse? This is a question many people ask.
Here are my 5 tips for managing a family schedule that’s ever-changing.
1. Maintain habits and routines that work and be willing to be flexible.
Maintain your routines and habits as much as possible. This will help you to keep order in your home.
When you’re in the habit of picking up and putting things away when you are finished using them it takes little time to restore order to a room.
2. Delegate some tasks.
Delegate age-appropriate tasks to your older children. They can make their bed, pick up their toys, empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, help with laundry, and a variety of other tasks.
Involving your children in the care and upkeep of your home encourages them to take ownership of their space, teaches responsibility, and takes the pressure off the parents.
Another benefit to delegating tasks to every member of the family is that it helps to maintain the schedule.
If your goal is to get out the door to go to school at a certain time because you have a meeting and you know you want to feed your infant before the meeting starts, it’s more realistic if everyone pitches in and do routine tasks.
3. Accept good enough.
Many people think that if you’re going to do something, it’s best to do it perfectly or not at all. Doing something to the best of your ability at any given time is better than doing nothing at all.
Allow your older child to make their bed to the best of their ability and praise them for their effort. It may not be exactly the way you want it. Accept the way it is and do not fix it.
Fixing the bed sends the message to the child that their effort was not good enough.
4. Schedule breaks.
If you were working in the office, there would be times when you would get up from your desk, stretch your legs, and, perhaps, have a casual conversation with a colleague.
It’s still important to get up periodically from wherever you are working in the house and take a break.
If you have young children at home, this is a time when you can swap with your spouse and take over childcare while they do something else.
With both of you working from home you may need to look over your schedules every night.
Talk about when you have meetings. Be upfront about how much prep time you need before each meeting and discuss any wrap-up time you need.
Create your schedule for the next day and assign work time, childcare time, and “you time” for both you and your partner/spouse.
Yes, I said “you” time. You can’t care for others if you haven’t cared for yourself first. Make time in your daily schedule for a little alone time every day.
Depending on the day, it can be something short like a 10-minute walk around the block. Just do something that allows you to refresh and recharge your personal battery.
5. Do fun activities together.
Build one or more fun family activities into each week. Explore different parts of the place you live. Take long walks.
My son and his family have been finding different playgrounds, coffee shops, and doughnut shops where they live. They are active and love to exercise outside so going on long walks and admiring the spring blooms is a fun family activity for them.
Stopping for coffee and doughnuts is an added perk for almost every member of their family.
Find what works for your family and make a habit of scheduling something to look forward to each week.
It can be a special meal that you make together or an outing to a favorite playground. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it is something everyone in your family will enjoy.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization. If you would like some additional personalized guidance, consider signing up for the Clear Space for You online clutter support group Diane moderates with Jonda Beattie.
This article was originally published at DNQ Solutions blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.