Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Family time vs housework

On my quest for quality family time and improved organisation I have found that I've been swinging like a pendulum.  I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person and the ability to find my balance has been a real challenge. 

I seem go from spending a heap of time cleaning and organising the house to spending no time on it at all.  I have it look really fantastic and then feel guilty for not spending as much time with my boys so then I plan a heap of wonderful activities and outings and then feel too tired to deal with the house again.

Jayden, Dylan, Ethan and Louis at Mansfield Zoo...

The difference this time, opposed to the numerous other times (years?) I've gone through this is that this time I'm really accepting the difficulty.  I'm really trying to assess where I can make positive changes that will work on a long term basis.  Changes that will bring peace, calm and organisation into my home along with fun and connection. 

This is all a work in progress so I'm sure I'll still have to make adjustments here and there however I'm really enjoying the results so far. 


Step 1: I initially cut out my computer use through the day completely, however now while the boys will have their "electronic time" so will I.  My endeavour to blog daily is just too much of a commitment right now with 4 little ones so I will just be taking each day as it comes!

Step 2: The boys now have "zones" that are their responsibility to keep tidy.  They are only little so when I say keep tidy, it's just a matter of cleaning up the toys at the end of the day.  They don't have to clean as such.

Louis: Dining room/kitchen
Dylan: Lounge room
Ethan: Bedroom
Jayden: Bedroom

I've been amazed at how much this helps and how they've really stepped up.  Of course we help as well and if one room is particularly messy the other boys will help as well.  It's all about teamwork and working together as a family!

Step 3: They each have a little job to do around the house.

Louis: Take the rubbish out to the outdoor bin (daily)
Dylan: Set the table (placemats, plates, forks and cups of water)
Ethan: Help empty the dishwasher (he's just doing cutlery for now)
Jayden: Hmmmm....not sure just yet!  Although he is a great helper throughout the day which I'm happy enough with for now! 

Dylan on the slide at the Mansfield Botanical gardens

Step 4: I have a basic schedule up on the wall of what needs to be done each day.  This is not hard and fast by any stretch of the imagination however, on the rare occasion when I'm unwell or am out for afternoon/evening I'm hoping that everything will run relatively smoothly.

The reason for this is I found that when I was out of action I would have either a whole lot of mess to catch up on or that I would be interrupted because only I knew what should be happening and when.  I really believe now that it's important to have systems in place so in case of emergency the household can remain stable and function as normal (or relatively normal)

Step 5: Weekly menu up on the fridge with each dinner for the same reasons mentioned in step 4.

Step 6: Weekly planner up on the fridge with all major and minor commitments listed including school and after school activities, Dr appointments etc.  I tend to colour code each person as well as whole family activities so that it's easy to read. This is also for the same reasons outlined in step 4. 

So I'm pretty happy with the organisational and planning side of things and now I'm moving on to the fun side!! 
It's so easy to get caught up in the housework and our to-do lists that the non-urgent activities get pushed aside or never even make it on to the schedule. Our children don't understand why they're not a priority when we're so busy and to be honest, they shouldn't have to!  They are only little for so long I believe it's critical that we put as much time and effort as we can into these little ones.  They are so worth it!!!

Jayden having a visit to Kinder and loving the sandpit

Do you schedule or plan the fun activities you do with your kids?  Do you even feel you have time to do them at all?  I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on this!

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