Thursday, June 28, 2012

And point me in the direction that you know I need to turn

After three days of seemingly endless summer vacation bliss, Zydeco came to me with furrowed brow and panicked eyes. "Mama, I can't find time to do all the things I need to do, that you want me to do, and also to just play.  I start to play and then time just passes. Then my chores aren't done and I don't have time to work on my projects like I'd planned.  I need help."

Oh honey, you came to the right place. "I can make you griddy," I told him. See, his three days of bliss were all part of my master plan to help him understand the power of a schedule. A list, really, of things to be done and when.

During the school year, our little domestic church relies on a simple chore chart:
 I know it's not legible, but you're looking at the idea, not the specific tasks.

I use magnets with each older child's name to indicate which zone they are handling during the week - Kitchen, Laundry/ Bathrooms, Floors/ Garbage.  At the start of each new week, the magnets are rotated across the top of the chart. There's a column of chores that everybody (even the adults) handle each day - making beds, personal dishes, etc. The other areas that need regular attention are broken into smaller, more manageable tasks for before school, after school and just before bed. These are easily integrated into homework, play, Scout and family times. But summer, for us, is a different matter.

We are home all day, with the increased flotsam and jetsam of started projects, postponed games, and, somehow, more laundry.  I don't like constantly walking through the house and feeling like a drill sergeant pointing out tasks to be handled.  And they don't like it, either, obviously.

Enter a daily schedule:

I changed the name's for this post.  They usually have the children's actual names:)

A close up view:

The day is broken down into half hour blocks.  I simply list any activities or appointments we have and then work music practices, free time, playtime, chores, and meals into the empty spaces.  This lets me ensure that piano isn't being practiced during nap time and that the guitarist isn't fighting with the pianist for first chair privileges.  After reading a wonderful (but lengthy) post on scheduling families, written some time ago, I started to include blocks of time for the children to play with specific siblings.  I have noticed that it both frustrates them and amuses them.  Jazz and Classic Rock don't usually seek each other out, but when necessary, they feed off of each others' creativity.  Zydeco shows the least amount of patience with Irish Jig, unless he suggests outside play and can coax her into gross motor skill type games.  At that point, he can laugh with her and she responds to him beautifully.

After a week of the new griddy system, Zydeco reports feeling much calmer and more productive.  He finds time to work on his trains, play the Wii, read, and attend to his other interests - all while managing his share of household upkeep.  As I tell them often, I don't create the messes alone, so I won't clean the messes alone.

I should note that neither Classic Rock nor Irish Jig have daily schedules.  Classic Rock is (and has always been) very attentive to his time management.  There are days I will need to remind him of a chore or music, but he generally accomplishes his "need to" list and his "want to" list without interference.  He does get assigned times to spend with siblings, but the rest of his day is well run on it's own.  Irish Jig's daily rotation of activities is kept in my head, as I am likely to change things in her day to fit the others home with us at this time.

PS - See that doctor appointment slot up there (in the close up view?)  Yeah, that would be the sixth case of poison ivy this year for our domestic church!  The second requiring oral steroids and an increased grocery bill to appease the appetite of a teen-aged boy taking a said steroids....

Today's title from: Spin Me Round by Curtis Stephan



  1. I laughed at your answer "I can make you griddy." So funny!

    1. :) It's a term I first heard from Classic Rock. I blogged about it at

      He cracked me up by stating he liked things Griddy and easily laid out for viewing!


I thank you for visiting with me and for sharing your thoughts. I hope your day is fabulous and that you make some time for music - no matter what kind!