My firstborn, Ruth, seems to need a schedule a little more than I do. She does really well when I let her know what is going on next. When I do not make it clear what is happening next, she tries to take the reins and be the boss. (I currently have a daily monologue that goes as follows: ” You are not the boss. Daddy and Mommy are your boss and Jesus is the big boss.”) She also seems to be more emotional when I do not have a plan. I think this has to do with her having a certain plan in her head of what is going to happen and then getting upset when it does not happen.
Though it’s good for Ruth, scheduling is really not a fun task for me. I like to go with the flow and so it takes a real concerted effort to have a plan. When I do make an official schedule, I am not good at following through. Both Gretchen and Andrew have encouraged me in this area to just be a step ahead of Ruth (instead of having a minute by minute schedule). Andrew suggested having a schedule with pictures so that Ruth can follow it, too.
So, today, I took a 12×12 paper and put 9 squares on it. In each square, I drew a simple picture to represent many of the activities we do each day. There’s “meal time, play room time, reading time, TV time, outside time, take the car time, nap time,” etc. I put the schedule on the fridge and took two different magnets to signify what we would be doing now, and next. Then, I just take Ruth to the schedule and show her what activity we will do now and next. This morning, when TV time was over (this usually involves whining) I told Ruth that she needed to come look at the schedule and see what was next. The schedule helped us avoid a power struggle.