Our Routine

It takes time to get used to having a new baby in the house. To find your routine. Now Banana is 4.5 months old and I can say we’re pretty firmly planted in the routine. I’ve found that days that we follow it, life is easier. We find more time to do things together (like playing a board game with Peanut while Twig naps), more gets accomplished that needs to get accomplished (though still not much beyond the absolute needs), and life just feels easier. Having a routine now makes me think back to my days of one child and no routine and cringe. I don’t know how, but life with three kids and a routine just feels so much easier to me than life with only one and no routine.

Anyway, we’ve found something that works for us. I wanted to share it here in case anyone on the World Wide Web may find it interesting or helpful. I know that in the early days of establishing a daily routine were hard. Finding the balance between a schedule and over-scheduled, figuring out where in the day certain activities fit, those kinds of things. So here it goes!

7am: Wake up. I’ve found that everyone in our house (well, except my husband, he wakes later), functions best on a 7am wake up time. It doesn’t always work this way, like recently when Peanut kept waking up at 5:45, but this is our aim for a wake up time. To solve that recent issue with early waking, I put a timer on a dim light in her room and the light turns on at 7am, which signals to her that she’s allowed to get out of bed. If she wakes up before the timer goes off, she has to stay in bed. Within a few days she was back to a {semi}normal waking time most days.

7-8am: Breakfast, girls get dressed. We still often take a little longer doing this than I would like (and end up getting Peanut late to school or barely on time), but we’re working on it. Banana usually is awake and socializing with the girls during this time, but sometimes is still asleep if I’m able to sneak out of the room without him.

8-8:30am: Take Peanut to school. 

8:30-11am: Twig time. Sometimes we run errands (today we went to the grocery store and took the dog to the vet), sometimes we come home and hang out, sometimes we go to the Treehouse Museum, and recently we started going to a weekly preschool for Twig once a week during this time. Twig doesn’t mind me multi-tasking our hang out time and I’m way less stressed if I run errands with only two kids (the older two start to bicker the second we step into a grocery store). Banana usually naps during this time.

11am: Pick up Peanut and snack. We started doing the snack consistently at this time when Peanut started school and was always hungry at pick up. Now they have to have a snack at this time even on weekends because it’s so ingrained. Our snack consists of two items, one of which must be a fresh fruit or veggie. Here are some examples we’ve done recently: apple slices and a graham cracker, clementine and string cheese, cucumber slices and crackers, carrots and baby bell cheese. Sometimes we do two fruits/veggies. No dips because it’s just too messy to do in the van. I just throw them together real quick and toss them in bowls that we got at a secondhand store for their play kitchen (pretty similar to these). The girls eat it on their way home.

11:15am-12:30/1pm: Play/TV while I get lunch ready. I don’t spend this entire time getting lunch ready, but more like picking up the kitchen a bit/nursing the baby/changing the baby/getting lunch ready time. I generally have lunch ready to go between 12:30 and 1. Sometimes we end up leaving the house during this time and I inevitably end up regretting it.

12:30-1:30pm: Lunch. Simple stuff like leftovers, quesadillas, tuna sandwiches, etc. I always have some sort of fresh fruit or veggie with this too. Really trying to make sure we get some produce!

1:30-2:30pm Quiet time/naptime. Peanut still does quiet time (and if your no longer napping child doesn’t, I really recommend implementing it). Twig is in that weird in-between stage where she isn’t always tired enough to nap, but isn’t really ready to completely let go of it either. So she gets the option to nap or get quiet time. If she naps, it’s usually two hours. If she chooses quiet time, it’s an hour like big sister. Yeah, there are some days when she should probably choose to nap, but does quiet time (and she’s choosing nap less and less these days), but this has eliminated her fighting nap-time and thereby making me stay in the room with her for the whole time Peanut is in quiet time. I really need a bit of time to myself too, it really helps to keep me sane. If I’m lucky, Banana naps during this time too. When he doesn’t nap, I try to spend time interacting with him one-on-one.

2:30-5:30pm Free-for-all. The girls play. They may watch a show or two. I play with them at some point. Gideon is generally awake, but starts to fuss towards the end of this time period. I get dinner ready if I’m even getting dinner ready (sometimes my husband cooks when he gets home, we go out, we get fed by awesome family, or we eat leftovers, so often I’m not cooking during this time). If it’s warm enough I’ll send the girls outside (which sadly it mostly isn’t at this point in time). If Twig didn’t nap I try to give Peanut some focus during this time.

5:30pm Daddy’s Home!

5:30-7pm Dinner and Hang Out. Sometimes we watch some tv as a family (we’ve been enjoying How We Got to Now on PBS). Sometimes we play with the girls while my husband watches basketball. Sometimes we play board games. Just fun family stuff.

7-8pm Bedtime. PJs, brush teeth, potty, hugs and kisses, then reading. Generally we start this at the same time for both girls because Peanut gets more reading time so it makes up for the later bedtime. Really though, I’ve been contemplating moving this up for Twig (or at least getting her asleep on the earlier end of this hour) since she’s starting to drop her nap.

So that’s it! Our days still vary quite a bit, but most days have this general routine underlying them. I think it really helps the kids to kind of know what’s coming next. We don’t get many fights about quiet time because quiet time is always after lunch, that kind of thing. I think it helps me too because I just know at this point what times of the day are bad to do things (leaving the house after dinner is a nightmare that just doesn’t happen anymore) and that helps me avoid stress. It also seems like Banana naturally fell into a napping routine that coincides with our routines as a family (he had a schedule much earlier than is “normal”) and while it still isn’t a perfect nap schedule by any means (he often decides to take power naps and things of that sort), I still think it helps.

What are your routines as a family? Did you have difficulty finding your rhythm? 

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