Perspective. I often need to check myself in this area. Dirty dishes, an overwhelming amount of laundry, crabby kids...it's all put me a little on edge these days. I bought a book recently called "Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions" by Lysa TerKeurst. A mother of five kids, she says she often needs to say out loud, "If this is the worst thing that happens to me today, it's still a pretty good day."
Ben refuses to take a nap, after an hour of battling with him. "If that's the worse thing to happen today, it's still a pretty good day."
Gianna threw her food on the floor... for the tenth time today. "If that's the worse thing to happen today, it's still a pretty good day."
I forgot to take the load of laundry out of the dryer so the clothes were all wrinkly. "If that's the worse thing to happen today, it's still a pretty good day."
The kids were excessively whiney. I mean, the kind of whining that goes right through you and makes you want to scream "You have no idea how good you guys have it!!!." "If that's the worse thing to happen today, it's still a pretty good day."
And even though ALL of those things happened back to back to back to back TODAY... it was still a pretty good day.
Preschool. I researched different programs in the area and wasn't satisfied with my findings. Ben turns 3 this month, but any program I could enroll him in would be in a 2 year old classroom since he missed the cut-off. Then I was factoring in cost. I didn't want to pay $70-$120 a month for just a couple of hours a week. Boo.
The number one reason I would wanted him in a classroom as young as 2 was for social reasons. Yes, he has his sister, but let's face it - it isn't the same as interacting with your peers. Also, I wanted him to respond to different authority figures other than myself. But I felt stuck. Then, my friend came up with a genius idea. A co-op preschool. It looks like this:
There are four moms in our "group" with a total of 5 kids (one mom has twins). We only meet on Tuesdays from 9am-11:30am and we rotate who 'teaches.' Whoever is teaching that week hosts the class in their home. After researching how various preschools and day cares run their programs, we came up with this schedule:
9:00-9:30am: Free Play
9:35-9:40am: Clean Up
9:40-10:00am: Story & Craft (both coincide with the day's learning objectives)
Our curriculum was put together based off various websites. Each week, we focus on a color, number, letter, and shape. We also have an overall theme. For example, the week I taught we learned about the color orange, number 4, letter D, rectangles, and the theme was weather & seasons. I know that sounds overwhelming, ambitious, and nearly impossible to teach (and it probably is) but at 2 years old, we don't have too high of expectations and are looking more for exposure than retention at this point.
We also decided that the amount of money spent on the craft supplies, snack, etc would be at the discretion of the host teacher. Being a former teacher & having two kids of my own, I have many of the supplies I need. So, this whole idea is potentially free of charge.
If you would like to explore this option with your own kiddos & friends, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can share more details about our curriculum, expectations, discipline, etc. I will probably put Ben in a "regular" preschool setting through our church next year, but I am glad to jump start his education this way. He absolutely loves it! And I love having my first three Tuesday mornings of the month for just us girls (Gigi & me).
After almost 3 years of being a mom, I think I have finally found my groove! Being a former teacher, I recognize how important routine and schedules are for kids - and adults, too! I'd like to share what is working well for our family in this season of life. Ben will be 3 on the 23rd and Gigi is nearly 13 months old.
** On Tuesdays Ben is in a FREE Co-Op Preschool from 9am-11:30am (more on that in a later post)
** On Wednesdays we do FREE Story Time at the Library from 11-11:30am
** On Thursdays I have a Mom's Group from 9am-11:30am ($90/8 weeks)
So it isn't the "same old routine" everyday, and I'm not spending a fortune on things to do outside of the house. If we don't leave the house, this is what our day typically looks like:
Wake - 7am: Ben stays in his room until the "orange sun" turns on (we got him the Good Nite Lite)
7:00-7:30: TV time (Gigi usually wakes up during this time)
7:30-8:00: Breakfast & Clean Up
8:30-9:00: Playroom (We also do calendar & the monthly Bible verse during this time)
9:00-10:00: Art/Instruction with Ben [Gianna goes down for her morning nap around 9am]
10:00-11:00: Sesame Street (Gigi is still asleep, Mommy has time to clean, do laundry, etc)
11:00-11:30: Lunch & Clean Up
11:30-1:00pm: Outside Play/Errands/Playdates
1:00-3:00: Nap time/Quiet Time
3:00-3:15: Afternoon Snack
3:15-4:15: Playroom (we listen to Toddler Radio, have tea parties, wrestle, etc)
4:15-5:00: TV time (this is when I prepare/make dinner)
5:00-5:30: Dinner & Clean Up
5:30-6:30: Time with Daddy
6:30-7:00: Bath Time then Playroom
7:00-7:30: Bedtime Routines
7:30pm: Lights Out!
There you have it. I have to admit, I first created this routine to help the kids but I really feel it has helped me and keeps the day flowing instead of having those days you swear time is standing still! Take it, tweak it, use it. Routines are the way to go!