moms of 4+ with kids in school - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-14-2011, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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What is your daily rhythm?  How does everything and everyone get taken care of?  Please tell me about your morning routines, after school routines, dinner/evening, etc...

4 kids under 10
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#2 of 10 Old 02-15-2011, 05:21 AM
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We homeschool now, but last year my oldest went to school.


School started at 8:30, he needed to be there between 8:20 and 8:30. We had to be backing out of the driveway no later than 8:00.


We got up at 6:50 (or thereabouts, that's when my phone alarm went off just in case we didn't naturally wake up) and had breakfast, generally something simple like yogurt with granola and fruit. I usually ate a cliff bar or something and then packed lunch for my school kid and got myself ready while the kids ate. As they finished up they would toss their dishes in the sink and head over to the couch for some morning cartoons while I finished up. I brought everyone clothes (my oldest will seriously grab any outfit with no regard to who it belongs to and not see anything wrong with the backwards 3T jeans he picked out so I had to hand out outfits) and they got dressed, as they finished I brushed hair and sent the oldest two to brush teeth. I usually brushed the two youngest's teeth while the older two put shoes on and got in the car, then loaded the two littlest.


I started dinner prep around 2pm. Anything I could do then I would, assembly, veggie chopping, whatever, and I would generally set anything up for dinner then too. School let out at 3pm but I tried to get there by 2:45 so I could get the parking spot closest to the door so I could just stand outside of my car when they let the kids out instead of either taking all of the kids up with me or leaving them all in the car on the other side of the lot. We would get home around 3:30, I got dinner finished and we ate at 4. Anyone who needed a bath got one at 5ish. We very rarely went anywhere after school, maybe a quick run to the store or something if I'd had a really busy day and hadn't gotten around to it.


Not sure how much help this is, though, since my oldest was only 6 at the time and went to montessori so no homework or anything like that, and no after school activities. my dh also works very long hours so was generally gone before we got up until after the kids were in bed.

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#3 of 10 Old 02-15-2011, 05:49 AM
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Ds1 goes to school everyday, dd1 goes Mon, Wed and alternate Fridays while ds2 and dd2 stay home with me.  Everyone wakes up somewhere between 5:30-6:30am.  The oldest two get dressed right away and we all eat breakfast around the same time.  After breakfast I get the younger two dressed while the older two get their things done (teeth, hair, pack bags, etc...).  There's usually some time to play in the morning while I get started with the household stuff (laundry, kitchen clean-up, etc...).  Dh leaves for work around 7:30am.  We start getting ready at about 7:40am to go outside to get to the bus stop on time.  The bus doesn't come until 8:10am but it takes about 30 minutes to get everyone dressed in their winter gear and out the door and walk to the bus stop without any meltdowns.  The oldest two get on the bus and I come home with the younger ones.  On the days that dd1 doesn't go to school she just comes home with us and our day proceeds pretty much the same as when she's at school.


Most days are spent usually hanging around the house.  Chores here and there, play, reading.  Sometimes we go to the library, grocery store or some other outing.  I try very hard to have all the chores done and dinner started before the kids come home from school.


Around 3pm I get the younger two ready to go outside and we play for a bit before walking to the bus stop.  The oldest two get off the bus at 4pm.  When we get home, ds1 spends about 30 minutes outside playing while dd1 usually comes inside and relaxes there.  I get dinner started.  Dh comes home around 4:30-5pm.  Dinner is right around 5pm.



After dinner is our crazy hour.  Dd1 is usually exhausted from school and ds2 and dd2 recently gave up their nap so they are also exhausted.  Ds1 spends time doing homework, practicing piano or playing quietly.  Dh and I trade off with one of us cleaning the kitchen and the other getting the 3 younger ones ready for bed.  I give baths during the day when they need them because we don't have time at night.  We read to the younger ones and get them asleep usually by 6:30pm.  We then spend a bit of time finishing up the clean up and spending time with ds1.  Ds1 goes to bed to read at around 7:30pm.  Once he's asleep (usually by 8pm) we are done for the day and do whatever we want - household projects, computer time, tv time, reading, whatever until we collapse around 10pm and start all over the next day nut.gif .  


Edited to add that dd1 has skating lessons one night/week so that means early dinner and either dh or myself takes her and ds1 to the arena while the other one stays home with the younger two.  Once skating is done we will probably do swimming lessons which will be one night/week again.  That's all I will commit to.  More than one busy night would be too much for us right now.  Ds1 and dd1 take cross-country ski lessons on the weekend.


Karen - spouse to dh for 11 years, mama to ds (Nov '02), dd (May '05) and ds and dd (Jun '08)

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#4 of 10 Old 02-15-2011, 01:24 PM
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I have four children ages 10, 8, 5, and 2.  School starts at 8. I get up at 5am shower, pray, iron clothes and  pick clothes out the laundry bag for everyone.  Breakfast is usually instant oatmeal, PB&J sandwiches, or cold cereal, if i have time then eggs or pancakes.  The children are supposed to get up at 6:30 but hardly ever do more realistically everyone is up by 7.  If they get up before 7 then they eat breakfast before washing up.  Otherwise they use the bathroom, wash their faces, and brush teeth; I do baths before bed but 5yo DS frequently has accidents so many mornings I have to squeeze in a shower for him too.  I haven't yet taught my kids to take care of themselves so I pretty much have to stand over them and supervise everything or it won't get done in the case of my 8yr old or they fight and waste time. At the last min I am grabbing baby in pajamas get her in the snowsuit or if she wakes up first I take her to bthrm wash face and diaper area and throw on her clothes.   We walk to school, 4blocks and need to leave by 7:45 but usually most mornings we are leaving at 7:52 geting to the school at 8:02- 8:06.  


I have been trying a few things to make my mornings better but i am totally exhausted at the end of the day. If I get up at 4:15 it gives me a few mins to breathe and think, I am very slow. I have been trying to have oldest two pick out the shirt and pants they want the nite before and lay that out with their longjohns socks etc.  If I iron clothes or at least lay out what everyone is going to wear in one place that saves me alot of time.  I put a pot of water on the stove to boil set three bowls and spoons let the older boys fix their own oatmeal once they are dressed (with coats on) and one of them can fix 5yr old's bowl.  If I drag 8yr old out of bed by 6:45, the other two will wake up when they hear my voice I can get everyone ready by 7:30.  


When I get back from dropping them off I usually give baby oatmeal and put her to watch a show while I cook dinner.  I try to take meat out the nite before so its ready for me in the morning.  If i try to wait til kids come from school to cook dinner is always very very late. 

I pick them up at 3:15, baby usually falls asleep on the walk to school. They are supposed to change clothes and relax quietly while DH gets ready for work, but its always playing running jumping etc.. DH is ually out the door by 5 the latest.  If everyone is very hungry we eat first.  If not by this time, 10yrold has usually started his HW on his own, 5yr old is following suit, I have to make 8yr old do his and the baby has her 'HW books' to keep busy or she is just playing.  


I try to start baths at 7:30 but sometimes its 8 but youngest is sleep by 8:30 and the oldest two no later than 10 depending on HW.  Baby usually won't lay down til I do because she still nurses.   On  a great nite i can lay down at 9:30 but most nites its 10:30.  



Thanx for prompting the question because I always feel like I am struggling with mine.  Getting out the door is always the biggest the challenge, just the logistics of it all never mind the tantrums, moods, breaking up fights, yelling etc...

 hijab.gif married to DH  mom to 3 boys, 1 girl
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#5 of 10 Old 02-15-2011, 01:41 PM
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Wow, reading this thread is making me seriously sleeping.gif.  We have three and homeschool the oldest.  We're hoping to add a fourth to the mix.  Somedays I barely have my head above water.  You mamas are amazing!

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#6 of 10 Old 02-15-2011, 09:43 PM
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I only have three right now but soon will have 4.


My three all go to school. I get up by 7am, wake up the older two and they go to the bathroom. Once they are out, I wake up the youngest. While they are in the bathroom, I fix breakfast. Something easy like cold cereal or toast. They need to be done eating by 7:30am or else we don't have enough time to brush teeth, get dress and fix their hair. The oldest two are usually done eating by 7:20. they put their stuff in the sink, go to wash their hands and brush their teeth. Then they go get dress. They are pretty good at choosing their clothes. Sometimes, I will ask them to change one item because it doesn't match. DD3 is slower and is usually done eating by 7:30. She go and wash her hands and brush her teeth, then goes and get dress. WHile they are eating I'm fixing their lunches. It's always something easy to do .I'm done with their lunches by 7:30 too. lol As soon as one dd is done with getting dress, I fix their hair. I have about 20min to get all three their hairdo for the day. DD1 is now able to brush her hair but if she wants something different like two ponytails, then I will do it. At 7:49am, they are getting their school bags and putting their lunch bags into it. They then go and get dress to leave. Right now it's cold outside, so they get their snowsuit and all that jazz on. I help dd3 to get everything on. I also make sure they are proprely covered as it can be pretty cold outside waiting for the bus. I think they are out the door by 7:56 and the bus is there by 8am. The bus picks them up right in front of our driveway.


It's a hr of really busy and it needs to be no fuss. When our new little one comes, I may have to get everyone up earlier, so that we can make it out for the bus at the same time as usually.

Sand, Mom to three girls and a new SON!!!!  babyboy.gif Born on March 7th, 2011  I get to do these again:   bfinfant.gifslingboy.gifcd.gif
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#7 of 10 Old 02-16-2011, 06:42 AM
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We run a mom's house/dad's house so things are slightly different for us but here's how things run when the kids are home with us on school nights/days.


Whoever is not staying after school for an activity gets dropped off at our house at 5:30 PM. I'm home by that time and try to have dinner almost ready at that point. If anyone is still at a school, DH picks them up whenever they are done, usually between 5:30-7 PM. Whoever is home eats dinner around 5:45 PM. DSS 10 takes his shower at 6:30. If he has homework, he usually works on it before he gets in the shower or when he gets out. If he doesn't have homework, then he plays with his legos or playmobil until it's bedtime (we have a no screen time rule for school nights). DSD 13 and 11 work on any homework that they have and they take showers starting around 7:30 PM. DSS 16 does any homework he has when he gets home or after dinner. Lights out for DSS 10 at 8 PM, then the girls usually have their light out at 9 PM. Last night it was 9:30 because both girls  had a lot of homework. DSS 16 washes his face, takes his asthma meds and heads to his bed between 9:30-10 with lights out by 10:30 PM. I'd like that time to be a little earlier but we're working on it. Sometimes I go to bed before DSS 16 but only if DH is at home and not out running late night errands.


I get up at 5:30 AM and take my shower. Then I start making breakfast (sometimes I cook like this morning I did french toast other times I just lay out cereal and string cheese) as well as assembling lunches. DSS 16 has his alarm set for 6:05 so he has time to take things slow in the morning. I turn everyone else's light on at 6:20 with the goal of everyone being at the table by 6:30 to eat breakfast. DH usually gets up between 6-6:30 and starts getting ready for the day. Everyone should be done with breakfast by 7 AM. DSS 16 takes his shower in the morning and everyone else just needs to get dressed, brush hair and teeth and get shoes on. This takes them 20-30 mins (we have a lot of attention issues in our house!). DH leaves at 7:25 AM w/DSS 16 and DSD 13. I leave at 7:30 AM w/DSD 11 and DSS 10. We take them to their respective schools and head to work. Whew!

Annie wife v2.0 to DH and joyfully parenting DSS 20
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#8 of 10 Old 02-16-2011, 12:14 PM
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Wow! You mamas all do WAY more than I do. My kids are 10, 8, 5, and 2.


We get up between 6:30 and 7. 10, 8, and 5 year old dress themselves and then come downstairs and pour cereal, make toast,or make oatmeal for themselves and the 2 year old. At this point I am generally outside doing chores (feeding horses, dogs, making sure everyone made it through the night ok, etc). When I get back in, the kids brush their teeth and comb hair, sometimes DD wants something special done so I'll help her with her hair. This is usually about 7:30-7:45, and my daycare kids are showing up so it gets pretty wild. At 8:00, my 10 and 8 year old leave to walk to school.


So now it is just the younger two and up to 10 daycare kids. Tuesday and Thursday mornings the 3-5yr olds are picked up at 8:15 to go to preschool and come home at lunch. Sometimes I put dinner in the crockpot at this point. I make lunch and then clean my kitchen while the kids eat. We nap from about 12 to 2. I use this time to pay bills, do paperwork, laundry, play on MDC :)


Big kids come home about 3:45. DD then leaves for gymnastics 4 days a week and has church activity 1 day, DS(10) has activities two days a week. As they get home they do homework and help with chores. We are all home by 7 and we have dinner. I make two dinners each night and serve the second as the daycare lunch the next day. After dinner the kids take baths, I head out to do the outside chores, and then we start heading to bed. After the kids are in bed, I shower and get the house picked up. I'm not usually up past 9:30 and especially being pregnant.


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#9 of 10 Old 02-16-2011, 12:26 PM
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Well, #4 is still baking but we lead a very active life so I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in. shy.gif DD1 is in 2nd grade at a small crunchy, private school so no bus service. It is 20 minutes away one way from our house. DD2 did go to preschool there for a while this fall, and then didn't, and is now wanting to start back 2 days a week  School starts at 8:30 but DD1 has to be between 8-8:10 most days because she works with a private therapist for an hour first thing. Some days, 3-4 days a week when DD2 was not in school and he wasn't traveling, I can get DH to take her in which is HUGE. When DD2 goes, like tomorrow, she can't go until at least 8:30am so we have to sit in the car and wait. Dh can't drop her off either because he doesn't have the magical touch and she will just refuse to go with him. I pack lunches, set out all outfits, pack all backpacks the night before, everything I need is ready before I go to bed. Coffee is set, my breakfast laid out, kid's breakfast laid out sometimes as well. I even pack DD1's afterschool activity clothes in her backpack. 


I figure out dinner early in the day, usually crockpot or leftovers since we are not home until late. I plan it out a week in advance based on my work schedule (part time) and the day of the week. I leave the house at 2:30 to get DD1, right now I have having to pick up DD2 at 1pm so we just hang around, too far to come home again. 3 days a week we have multiple activities after school, 1 day a week is another therapy night for DD1. The earliest I get home is 4:45 and it can be after 6 on some nights. Baths happen on certain nights depending on when we get home and which kids are home. It is get home, eat dinner, and run around getting stuff done, baths, clean up, etc... Bedtime starts at 7 during the school year. 

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#10 of 10 Old 02-20-2011, 05:53 PM
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I have 4 children, all of whom attend the same school (for one more year, at least).  They're ages 7-11.  I work part time (I teach 3 mornings/week) and my kids are in all sorts of different extracurricular activities, so the day-to-day routine varies.  My DH works full time; in the morning he leaves the house before the rest of us are up for the day, and is usually home between 4 and 5pm.


Wake up time varies based on whether or not I'm working.  I'm not a morning person, so I tend to sleep in as late as I can.  I generally get up an hour to a half hour before I need to walk out of the door.  If the kids aren't up yet, I wake them up 20 or 30 minutes before we need to leave.  My kids are definitely capable of dressing themselves and getting their own breakfast.  Breakfast is usually fruit, cheese, toast, occasionally oatmeal. 


On the days I don't work, I either come home and catch up on laundry/cleaning, or I run errands.  I also take time to myself to read, surf, or sew.  I meet DH for lunch dates a few times/month and occasionally get together with friends for coffee.


On the days I do work, I have 2 hours to myself in the afternoon.  Some days I'm productive and do things around the house.  If I know I will be away from the house after school, I prep dinner.  I often watch a movie or TV shows on Netflix while I'm working around the house.  We have an open concept house, so I can watch TV while I'm chopping veggies :)


I pick up the kids from school at 3.  Some days we come home and just have down time, other days there are music lessons/meetings/playdates.  We don't have a set time for homework, since our schedule is different each day.  I prefer for afternoon to be downtime after being at school all day, but on nights that we have activities, homework needs to be done in the afternoon.  So it just depends.


We don't have a set time for dinner, it depends on the day.  Regardless, I do have a weekly menu and I do as much prep work ahead of time as possible.  I do everything I can to make sure that we have time to not only eat dinner together as a family, but go through our after-dinner routine.  So on nights that my DDs have gymnastics at 6:30, we eat dinner at 5:00.  On nights that we have guitar lessons until 5:30, we eat dinner together at 6:30. 


After dinner is usually a productive time at our house.  We always eat dinner together.  Next is packing lunches for the next day.  Each child is responsible for making a healthy lunch to bring to school.  I also encourage them to make a breakfast for themselves for the next morning if it's a work morning for me and they have to get up and go into school early.  Then each child has a clean-up job.  The jobs rotate, but are:

wash dishes

dry & put away dishes

clean off and wipe down the table, counters, and stove

sweep and vacuum the floors


After that is checking school planners and doing homework.  The important part is making sure that everything is ready for school the next day.  After homework is music practice.  During the evening sometimes my DSs do their laundry (at our house, everyone over the age of 10 does their own laundry).  If everyone finishes homework early, sometimes we'll all watch TV or the kids will play video games until it's time to get ready for bed.  We used to read together as a family in the evenings, but that's fallen by the wayside as of late.  My kids shower/bathe every couple of days, this happens before bed.  Bedtime is usually between 8 and 9pm.  Bedtime means quiet and in their bedrooms.  It's pretty common for my kids to read or listen to music after they go to bed, lights out is no later than 10pm on school nights.


For myself, I take the time after dinner when the kids are doing their homework to make sure I'm prepped for the next day.  I make my own lunch and breakfast.  I do my lesson planning and pack my bag for the next day.  I make sure I've got everything ready for dinner the next day (defrosting meat, etc).  If I'm away from the house in the evenings (for example, on the nights I take my DDs to gymnastics and I go to the gym), I do all of these things when I get home.


After the kids go to bed, I have time to do what I want to do- watch TV, read, talk/chat with friends, spend time with DH.  Before we go to bed DH and I both set out our work clothes for the next day.  DH tries to be in bed by 11.  I'm a night owl and often stay up until midnight or later. 


Weekends are usually a combo of fun and lazy.  Fridays are party days.  I have 2 friends with kids of similar ages that I get together with.  We gather Friday afternoon after school at someone's house, for a sort of playdate (3 moms, 11 kids).  When our husbands get done with work, they join us and we all have dinner and drinks (for the adults) together.  The gatherings usually go from 3pm until midnight or so.  It's awesome.  Saturday mornings are cleaning mornings.  DH and I sleep in (wink wink nudge nudge) and the kids watch TV or play video games.  When DH and I get up, the kids have to clean their rooms and DH and I work on the rest of the house.  Saturday afternoons are lazy.  Saturday nights are either family game/movie night or DH and I go out with friends.  Sundays are pretty lazy.  Mid-afternoon Sunday we have the kids make their lunches (for Monday), do their homework, pack their schoolbags, and practice music.  Then we all go to the community center and swim for awhile.  We come home for an easy dinner and then go to bed pretty early, so we can start the week well-rested. 


Honestly, I'm a really really lazy person, and I've figured out that prepping ahead of time allows me to sleep in and ultimately gives me more free time. I think our family is in a really nice groove right now, our routine is working so well for us.   


ETA: Giving my children the responsibility of taking care of themselves has worked out really well for my family.  Even young kids are capable of more than most people give them credit for.  No, my 10yo doesn't do the laundry the same way I would, but that's okay.  I wouldn't have thought to give my 7yo a PB&J for breakfast, but she loves making them for herself, and paired with an apple or banana it fills her up and is WAY more nutritious than the free breakfast program at school.  My 9yo hates getting up early (like her mother), and has taken to wearing her clothes for the next day to bed.  She can get up 5 minutes before we leave, run a brush through her hair, and be wrinkly, but clean and ready to go. 

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