Some people come out of the womb creating schedules and organizing their socks in rainbow-color order. Others find schedules stifling and struggle to find a pair of clean sock.
Experts declare that children need structure, but how do you provide structure without adding stress?
In a recent ABCJesusLovesMe Facebook post, Jessica shared her wisdom in creating a routine to be intentional with her child. I loved the simplicity of her ideas and asked if she would share more for the blog. I am very thankful for her nuggets of wisdom tucked in the information below.
Each morning Jessica woke asking the question, “What do I need to accomplish today?”. With this goal in mind, she tried various options to help her be successful: schedules, check lists, and more.
Because of her personality, Jessica needed flexibility and all of the tried options were unsuccessful leaving her feeling like a failure. She was unable to stay on time, accomplish all needed tasks, and enjoy the quickly-passing preschool years with her son. Finding herself at a crossroads, she had to either give up or locate a new process. This is when she discovered the numbered routine (also called loop schedule). And, the process has transformed her home.
Number routine planning is:
- Simple enough to be memorized
- Structured enough to focus on one task at a time
- Yet, flexible enough to roll with life’s surprises
Using the the ABCJesusLovesMe 2 Year Lesson Plan Daily Schedule as her example, Jessica found success with a number routine. She began by dividing each activity into four sections.
- Bible Time
- Circle Time: Memory Verse, Song, and Poem or Rhyme
- Color Time
- Learning Time: Letter Activity, Information Activity, Self-Care, Development
Then Jessica printed the routine on card stock and placed the numbered routine in a plastic sleeve for protection from spills. Next, she added a paperclip on the side of the paper to slide down the list to track her pace. As soon as the list is completed, Jessica starts over.
Another option is to write each item on a 3×5″ index card and shuffle through as you complete a task.
Thinking about my day, I discovered how a numeral routine would work wonderfully for me as well.
- Quiet Time
- Answering Emails
- Day’s Focus (Blog post, curriculum writing)
- Checking in with Kids (reading, music practice, etc)
- Making Supper
- House Pick up
This would also work for cleaning a house and making sure you focus on all aspects instead of always focusing on the main few needs and never getting to the ceiling fans or refrigerator coils.
Four Rules of a Numeral Routine
The beauty of a numbered routine is that the routine can begin whenever you desire. No matter when your day begins or what the day holds jump in when you are ready.
2. Pace Your Day
Jessica shares that a numbered routine allows you to pause whenever needed. “Pause to eat. Pause for quiet time. Pause for chores. Pause for discipline.” Clock-watching is not needed because there is not a hurry to move to the next activity. You are in control of the day and work within you and your children’s abilities for each day.”
Each day is a gift from God. Be careful not to waste precious moments, but also do not pack too much into a day.
This is the best part of the numeral routine! Where you stop is not important because the focus is on the accomplishment, not on what didn’t get finished. For example, you may not have gotten past the second task because your little one loved the activity or had lots of questions. Because moving on isn’t the goal, you are free to enjoy the activity rather then rush through it. Love this!
4. Start Again
Keep cycling through your numbered list until you come back around. You will know when the pace is right when your time with your child brings you both more joy then frustration.
In sharing her ideas, Jessica added the following reminder.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV
What a perfect verse to prompt us to see each moment of the day as an opportunity to be intentional. Whether we use a timed schedule, numeral routine, or a to-do list, it is our responsibility to grasp every moment as precious.
Thank you, Jessica, for sharing with us!