Since the new school year started we are in a pretty good morning routine around these parts. After my school kids get out the door, I just let my 3 and 5 year old play in the morning. There is something to starting the day unrushed and unscheduled. And there is something to riding bikes in pajamas.
While they play, I do morning dishes, make my bed, tidy up the house, shower, get ready, etc.
Then at 10:30 AM we do Table Time. I gather Locke and Croft around the kitchen table and we sit down and do learning activities together such as
Raz-Kids (an on-line reading program)
Fine motor skills
Here are some tips for Table Time that have helped us be successful:
Schedule It. And as much as possible schedule other things around it. We chose the earlier gymnastics class so that we could be back for Table Time at 10:30. It helps to let your kids know about the schedule as well. They won’t let you forget it. Stuff comes up and life happens (like today I have an appt. that I made 3 months ago:), but we average about 4 times a week.
Be Flexible. This seems the opposite of ^^^ but I allow flexibility so I don’t feel pressure. Sometimes we start at 10:15 AM if I am ready and sometimes we start at 10:40 if I’m not. And one day a week Table Time is visiting the public library. I know we aren’t at the table but it is a learning activity where I am fully engaged with them.
Keep It Short. At first I was ambitious and designated an hour of Table Time from 10:00 – 11:00 AM. The first day Locke made it 15 minutes and Croft made it barely 30 minutes. After a week of Table Time, I decided that 30 minutes is plenty of one on one teaching time. Croft usually stays at the table longer reading, but Locke moves on.
Put Away Distractions. Table Time is not me working at my computer while they color, with an obligatory “Oh! That looks so pretty!” every once in a while to keep them appeased. Table Time is where I put my phone, computer, and iPad away and my kids get my undivided, undistracted attention.
Make It a Priority. A few times during that first week of the new schedule, I considered not doing Table Time because I still had more clean up to do around the house. They wouldn’t care if I mopped instead of sat down with them, right? But then I asked myself, “Would you cancel on a friend, because you had a load of laundry to fold? Or would you leave the laundry and come back to it later?” I also told myself that my time with Locke and Croft is fleeting fast (this is Croft’s last year home), but my house will always be dirty. I went to the public library last week with no make-up and wet hair because Table Time was more important than being ready.
Happiness is working with my cute little kiddos each morning around the table. I love to see them learn and grow and discover and improve. And since, I am hands-free and undistracted, I soak it all in more.