When you go on vacation, you map out your plans. If you’re flying somewhere, you map out the best flight plan. If you’re driving, you map out the directions ahead of time. So why wouldn’t you spend the same amount of time on your family map?
Download our 7 day time mapping sheet blank (if you have trouble downloading or can’t see the lines, email me for a copy) to help you map out your time. Or if you have our Appointment Page, you can use those too. The point is to plan out each day making it as detailed as you can the first few days.
In the beginning, start with the time you wake up, but consider if you’ll need to wake up earlier to get yourself ready for your day and feeling great! Will that take 1/2 hour, 1 1/2 hour, or more? I’ve recently timed how long it takes me to wake up, 21-month-old around the house for a bit, shower, get dressed, put make-up on, get my lunch ready, get my other things together, feed the dog, and get out of the house.
When I was a stay at home and homeschooling mom, I had every bit of time mapped out. After three weeks I knew how much time it took to do every daily task. Therefore when I wanted or needed to deviate from our schedule playtime, I could easily do it without throwing the kids off track. After all, we all know how important it is for kids to have some absolutes or constants in their day. Being on a schedule is comforting to children, as well as adults.
Now let’s take the next part of your day. If you work, you know when you have to leave to get to work on time and approximately when you get home. There are only so many hours left in your day for you to get the chores done. That includes fixing dinner, and a good nights rest.
But if you’re a stay at home mom, the next step would be to get the kids ready for the day. This includes writing down on the schedule how long it takes them to get ready or how long it takes “you” to get them ready for their day. Do you know how long it takes them to eat breakfast when they aren’t rushing, or how long it takes to go through a morning wake up ritual?
My 16 yr. old hates mornings, but during the school year, she is up earlier than the rest of us because in the beginning she did not map out her time and therefore her hair and make-up didn’t look as good as she wanted. So she got fed up with not looking her best at school and mapped out her time so she could wake up early enough to get her hair and face looking just right. This made her feel good.
My son, on the other hand, does most of his primping and cleaning the night before so he can just pop out of bed, jump into his clothes, brush his teeth and out the door he goes.
With the grandchildren in the house, I’ve noticed that the 4 yr. old quietly gets up and ready for the day. He moves slowly and steadily until it’s time to head out the door. The 21 month old on the other hand gets up energetic and raring to go. He’s hyper, loud and happy. Get him in clothing and a new diaper quickly because he’s “off and running”!
We’ve spent most of this article on morning issues because mapping out your morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day. Next is mapping out how long these things take: the mid-morning play, chores, lunch hour, getting dinner ready before everyone walks through the door or is starving and cranky.
You’ll only need to write down every time increment for a few days before you start to see the pattern of the family and get a handle on how to manage it all. On about the third day you’ll be able to map the day in blocks of time, for example:
6 – 7 Mom gets ready for her day
7 – 8 Get kids ready for their day
8 – 10 Play time for kids, chores for mom
10 – 12 Clean up, lunch, nap time, mom does dishes, laundry, and anything else looming
12 – 2 Projects, playtime with kids, chores, start preparing dinner
2 – 5 FREE TIME for kids, mom checks email, pop dinner into the oven, and set the table
5 – 8 Dinner, baths, get kids ready and into bed
8 – 9 Mom and dad have a few seconds of quiet time before bed.
Now obviously everyone will have a different schedule, but as you can see, after a few days you won’t have to be so detailed. Here’s a link of a final time map when I homeschooled. We had our routine down so we only needed to put the basics of school so the kids could check to see what was next. It made them feel better.
I promise you that if you invest the time now, life will be easier later. Can you see how this takes everyone’s personality into consideration as you plan the day? It’s not rocket science, but rather patience and persistence. And the rewards are invaluable!
Here is a FREE blank 7-day time mapping sheet
©2006 Susie Glennan
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