Command Centre: Routines | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Command Centre: Routines

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Command Centre: Routines

Do you often find yourself getting overwhelmed before or after school?  Are there arguments on the way out the door?  Do you wish you could have a more peaceful start to the day?

My kids are perfect so of course I don't know anything about this. :) Just kidding... it drives me crazy when they fight about silly things!

There is always a certain amount of stress or anxiety that accompanies transitions, and the shift from home to school and back again can be somewhat unsettling for kids (and for us!).  But you can reduce that by following routines.  Not eliminate, but at least reduce {remember I mentioned my kids fighting on the way out the door?}.

Kids thrive on routines.  It helps them know what is coming next.  When things are more predictable, they feel safe and comfortable.

Parents like routines too.  Even those who aren't particularly organized still likely have some patterns they follow.  It just makes everything run smoother.

Today, I'm going to share our before and after school routines.  They're a key part of our kitchen command centre.

This is the third post in this series.  If you haven't seen the first two parts, go ahead and check out Wall Files for Papers and School Gear.

This picture shows our routines (in the black frames) beside the folders and above the bins for the kids' backpacks.  {Please ignore the totally dated light switch plate!}

Here are closeups of the routine pages.  I've deleted their names and blurred out their faces, but everything else is just as it is on the wall in the command centre.

Here's my daughter's routine page.

She looks kind of creepy with her face blurred out :)  And this is my son's routine page.

The pictures were taken on the first day of school.  It's funny to seen them in shorts since they're wearing snow pants these days!

The two pages are pretty similar to each other at this point (just the meals for setting the table are different).  As they get older some of their chores may vary more, but for now things are nearly the same.  They like having their own separate pages though :)

I discussed the school-related tasks on these routine pages yesterday.  The rest are basically dressing and hygiene activities. {Gotta love the "flush" I added!  They still forget that one quite frequently.} I also included a few chores. The kids help with other things around the house too but I only included the ones that happen before and after school.

Where the times are given in a range, they can do those things any time during that range, but they have to complete it by the end time in order for us to get out the door on time.  I've also built in a bit of a buffer around everything to allow for unexpected things.

The kids helped me decide what should go on these pages and when they should do which things in order to get everything done.  Then I prettied them up by adding fun fonts, different colours, and their pictures.  They liked the finished product!

I just put them in dollar store document frames and hung them up above their backpack bins.

When I first put them up, the kids referred to them every day to make sure they were remembering everything.  It was so nice not to have to remind them to brush their teeth or unpack their lunch bags! For the most part, these tasks have become routine now, but kids are kids, and I do have to remind them to do something once in awhile.

We will revise these routine pages from time to time, as the kids grow, or situations change in our lives, or even just to update their pictures, but for now they really work for us.

Tips for setting up routines:

  • Keep it simple
  • Involve your kids so they have more ownership 
  • Build in a buffer zone
  • Stick with it!  Habits can take awhile to establish :)

So now you've seen the whole middle section of my kitchen command centre.

Stay tuned for posts about our calendar, monthly goals page, weekly plans, and, my favourite part, our storage for the kids' school work and art work that we keep!

In the meantime, if you're looking for more ideas for a command centre, you can check out the command centres post I wrote as part of the 31 Days of Organizing Tips series or my Entryways, Drop Zones & Command Centres board on Pinterest.

What routines do you follow before and after school?  How do you keep everyone on schedule?  Please share your ideas in the comments so we can all be inspired by you!

Happy organizing!

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Here are all the posts in this series: