Build a Better Schedule

When I began this blog I wrote about how helpful our schedule was in allowing our family to accomplish everything that we need to accomplish.

Here are some things that we do to make our schedule more practical for our family with several young children:

  • Schedule the children’s chore time immediately preceding a meal or snack time. This is an easy way to motivate the children to do a good job in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Schedule in some extra “catch up” time during the day. We have an hour scheduled for playtime after lunch. We use that time to finish whatever didn’t get done and then play when everything is accomplished. It allows us to “stay on schedule” and not skip important activities for lack of time.
  • Pair important daily activities with meal times. For example, at breakfast time we go over our memorization box, sing the Psalm we are learning, read a book and pray. Immediately after dinner we pray and have family worship. At our house we do not skip meals, so incorporating these other important activities with meal times ensures that they will be done regularly.
  • Make time for the smallest children first. It seems that we often focus on our big kids because they are the ones who have the most complicated work. However, several years ago I began having “preschool” with the youngest children first. This gives those little ones special time with mommy and prevents them from feeling neglected.
  • Don’t schedule your evenings. Once daddy comes home let him decide when and how things will go.
  • Schedule “down” time for you and for the children. Our children use this time to sew, knit, read, write, make music, draw, play games, work with wood, play outside, run, etc. Remember some of our children’s other afternoon activities? This time allows the children to develop their own talents and interests.
  • Don’t let the clock rule you. If a schedule makes you feel cramped, you can use it as a flow of activities, rather than dictating a specific time for a specific activity.

Remember a schedule is simply a tool to help you accomplish what God has called you to. It is not your master. If it doesn’t work change it.

Here is our basic schedule and how it helps our family.

How do you make a schedule work for you?

Read more WFMW at We Are THAT Family, or you can read some of my other WFMW posts such as creative uses for recycled glass ware, or instructions on how to make your own custom color chalkboard paint.

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21 Responses to Build a Better Schedule
  1. Kirsty
    April 29, 2009 | 12:30 am

    Great tips, and I have to bow to your authority 🙂 thanks!


  2. Cardamom's Pod
    April 29, 2009 | 6:18 am

    Excellent points, Kimberly. I’m in the midst of tweaking the schedule a bit (aren’t we always?) 🙂 Focusing on preschoolers, chores, and evening worship (without Dave for 7 more weeks…)


  3. *~Michelle~*
    April 29, 2009 | 6:32 am

    Great advice! I really appreciate this:

    Schedule the children’s chore time immediately preceding a meal or snack time. This is an easy way to motivate the children to do a good job in a reasonable amount of time.

    Our children are not allowed to use their computer time until their chores/responsibilities are done too.

    Have a great week!


  4. Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free
    April 29, 2009 | 7:57 am

    It seems as if I am always tweaking my day to day schedule. You have certainly given some great points for me to consider. Thanks!


  5. Kelli
    April 29, 2009 | 8:05 am

    Hey Kim-If you get time, I would love some ideas for what you did with “preschool” for your very young children. I have a few things I’m doing with Daniel, but need some more ideas!


    Kimberly Reply:


    I have actually been working on sharing a lot of ideas for spending time with preschoolers (and older). It is a work in progress, but I have big dreams, stay tuned.


  6. Kristin
    April 29, 2009 | 8:51 am

    I recently put together a schedule using Managers of Their Homes, but I have yet to implement it. I am hoping to have it in “working order” by the time Jonah is born.


  7. Anita
    April 29, 2009 | 9:03 am

    We have been in upheaval here for what seems like months. Sick baby this week, Jordan starting to work with his dad 1/2 days a month ago, visits from married daughter and the grands, doctors appointments, etc. I am ready for our co-op and piano lessons to be finished in the next few weeks so we can get back to a new routine! Each year we have to come up with something new as there is either one leaving home by marrying/schooling/working or another one being born! Striving for order and not chaos! Thanks for your post.


  8. Amy Ellen
    April 29, 2009 | 1:17 pm

    Thanks for posting these tips… we employ several of these, but it is always good to hear a new perspective and new ideas!
    Amy Ellen at


  9. Joy
    April 29, 2009 | 11:42 pm

    Love it! Do you have more posts on homeschooling? Our schools here are either too expensive or the lowest in education (we live in the inner city, where my husband’s ministry is). I tried doing school with Elaina this past year (she’s 3) but I stopped and completely got off track with it all.


    Kimberly Reply:

    Yes more homeschooling posts are upcoming. I’m planning on doing a whole series. I’ve learned so much while homeschooling our children and love to talk shop. One quick piece of advice for your 3 year old is don’t worry about it yet. Just spend time with her playing, talking, reading, exploring but don’t worry about “school.”


  10. Linda
    April 30, 2009 | 1:13 am

    Love it!! Just last week I started thinking about our {ahem} not working so well schedule, so today I rounded all the children up and we came up with a plan to try – never thought of your #2 about adding “make up time” – Great idea!! Going to add that in tomorrow!! 🙂


  11. Smockity Frocks
    April 30, 2009 | 12:29 pm

    These are SUCH great tips! I am about to have to rework my schedule because I have one who is ready to start reading lessons. I will definitely implement these.


  12. Angela
    May 1, 2009 | 11:23 pm

    AWESOME advice. I am working on this one. We are seeing drastic improvements. Thank you for all the great tips!!


  13. Missy Parris
    July 14, 2009 | 3:30 pm

    Kimberly, I am enjoying reading your homeschool tips. We are back to the question of should we or should we not do co-op this year. I feel like it pulls us all apart and that has happened in the past. But then I think it is only a half day and sometimes my kids feel like they have no friends or at least no homeschool friends just church friends who don’t quite believe like us on certain issues. So we are trying to decide what to do. Do you guys do a co-op? Sometimes I think I can’t add more to my list, we have escaped the life of run here to there and have focused on family relationships and I have seen such a big change. Looking forward to more good reading from your blog. Missy in Cleveland(TN)


    Raising Olives Reply:

    Missy Parris,

    First of all “Hi”, we are practically neighbors. We do not do a co-op. For us a traditional co-op is not something that we are interested in. However, we have done a “co-op” with one or two other families from time to time and that has been something that is a good fit for us and our children

    With one family we got together every other week. She helped our children put on a play and I taught some art classes. Both of us had more than your average number of children, so we had enough kids for all the characters in the play. At the end we had a big dinner including the dads and the children sang, danced and performed the play for us. It was a lot of fun and perfect for our family at the time. Both of us mommies had nursing babies and couple of toddlers, so it was laid back and perfect!

    I hope that you can find the perfect fit and balance for your family.



  14. schedule
    October 12, 2010 | 8:24 pm

    […] posted some hints that we have learned to come up with a workable schedule and a more complete schedule with links.  You may also be interested in reading about getting […]

  15. Marni
    November 5, 2010 | 11:12 pm

    What a great batch of tips! Beautiful family! I am always interested in Mom’s of large families. We hope to have at least a half dozen children, so I am always curious of the dynamics to master it.

    Glad I came across your blog!


  16. Sarah B
    November 15, 2010 | 3:46 pm

    Thanks for all the tips! It makes me realize that “yes, I can actually do this” when I actually hear and see others that have. I am a stay at home mom of 4 kids under the age of 4! I have a 4 yr old, 3 yr old, 2 yr old, and a newborn. No one around me has this many kids let alone this many under 4. I am constantly the “outcast” as people my age don’t even have 1 let alone 4 kids. My husband and I’s lives are completely different from those around us. My husband grew up in a family of 13 and I grew up in a family of 9. Even with having that many brothers and sisters we are the first to have this many kids so fast. I am the oldest and my husband is #6. In the almost 6 years we have been married we are 2 kids short of having what our siblings had in 15 years! It is hard grocery shopping and doing anything with so many so little and sometimes I wonder if I can really do it. We are planning on homeschooling all of our kids. My husband was homeschooled and I went to public excpet for my last 2 years when my family decided to homeschool and they have been homeschooling ever since. Thanks for the encouragement and tips. It makes me realize that it maybe really hard now, but it will all be worth it in the end. I am looking forward to the day when the kids can really start helping out and being close friends with each other, but I still love these days when they are young. Thanks again for being an encouragment to me!


  17. Christine Johnson
    June 1, 2012 | 5:26 pm

    I really enjoy your blog. My son is currently 2 and takes one generally 3 hour nap per day. How do you transition from nap to quite time. There are some days that he does not take a nap so I think it is time to implement quite time during those days.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We start the transition by having the child try to go to sleep (still and quiet) for 30 minutes. At the end of that time I go in and tell them that they may look at books quietly on the bed until I come tell them that rest time is over. Sometimes they sleep and sometimes they don’t.

    Most of our children (and all of our boys) have continued to sleep during nap time until well past their 6th birthday (this is with a bedtime of 7pm and a wake time of 6am), so it would be a bit unusual for your son to be ready to give up his nap at 2 years (but not impossible). We’ve found that often our children will go through short bursts when they don’t always sleep during nap, but then will go right back to sleeping regularly after a couple of days/weeks.

    Just some encouragement to not give up that sleep time too early.


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