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HOW MANY BALLS CAN YOU KEEP IN THE AIR AT ONCE?
How do you manage anticipation and scheduling when every day has something in it (apart from the usual weekday getting-up-and-going-to-work-thing) and every weekend for the foreseeable future is booked?

Especially when it's not just yourself that you have to keep track of things for, but your entire family? Things that have to be remembered in our household any given week include the following:

Monday
Gym bag for Martin, Chess club for Martin, remind kids to do their homework (evening)

Tuesday
Gym bag for Martin & Karin, remind kids to take their homework (morning) and do their homework (evening), Piano lessons for Martin, Karate lessons for Karin, possible AWC activity for Liz

Wednesday
Minigang Music/Play group for Karin, Badminton for Martin & Karin, remind kids to take their homework (morning) and do their homework (evening), Choir practice for Liz

Thursday
Gym bag for Martin & Karin, Hemspråk for Martin & Karin, remind kids to take their homework (morning) and do their homework (evening), Karate lessons for Karin, probable AWC activity for Liz

Friday
Swim lessons for Karin

Saturday
Hockey practice for Anders

Sunday
(every other) Scouts for Anders, Martin & Karin

We are still trying to get and keep all of this straight, and even though I am generally VERY organized and very good about remembering things and reminders, this level of activity has even me dropping the ball. If I'm not forgetting to remind the kids to pack their gym bags, I'm forgetting to make sure Martin has the house key. Neither kid seems to have a clue when it comes to remembering their own responsibilities yet and I'm getting a little frustrated at being the primary responsible rememberer for all of this stuff.

If you have kids, how did you train them to remember their own responsibilities? I'm not talking so much about remembering to drive Karin to karate or Martin to chess, but the stuff that is in the afternoon, after school, when I'm not even home to keep track of the time...how do I teach them to keep their own schedule and deadlines in mind? Reminders in the morning are long gone from their heads by the time school is over and they are home playing computer games and unwinding.

I can feel the Barky turning gray just thinking about it all.

Edited to add: Since I've gotten a couple of comments suggesting it, I guess I should have made it clear that we already DO have a monthly family calendar showing what activities/events are scheduled for each day; which is kept updated, hung in a convenient right-before-we-go-out-the-door spot. Even so.
 stressed
mood: stressed
music: Scott Phillips—It All Comes Down


Comments
(Anonymous)
FAMILY CALENDAR

Don't your kids have a family calendar on the refrig (or elsewhere in a prominient spot)? Something at eye-level for them to see each day....something easy, too...maybe just one week at a time calendar. Now, mine is just starting this business of school, activities, gym , etc...but I think I'll start training now. Seems like we'll do a family meeting on Sunday and we'll go over the week's activities and responsiblilities for each member. (BO and I do that but we haven't really included Maya at this point except for animal feedings and snack preparation.)

A friend of mine made a creditcard sized laminated weekly schedule for her kids to keep on their back packs'zipper so that they could check what's happening whenever they needed to know for afterschool play dates, packing up stuff, etc.

I'm sure you'll get lots of ideas that we can all benefit from...I'll watch the kitties come in!

Carol in Sweden!

Re: FAMILY CALENDAR

We DO have a family calendar and I keep it updated, and it's in an easy spot for the kids to see as well, but even so, we seem to be overwhelmed. :( I'll have to figure out something more hands-on for the kids, I suspect.

I don't have kids, but...

Written schedule (with reminders, like in yr post here) on the refrigerator or the wall maybe?

Re: I don't have kids, but...

or maybe I should read your other comment before I drop one myself!

Re: I don't have kids, but...

Already got it. It's right beside the kitchen door where we walk out into the back entrance. Even so, it still seems like I'm missing things. Too much! Too much!

so, you have three activities scheduled every week yourself. and anders only has hockey on saturday and scouts every other sunday. ha ha. fill up his week too! how about a poker night with the guys and a studiecirckel in knitting? ;)

by the time school is over and they are home playing computer games and unwinding

wait. what was that last word? un-wind-ing. :-O could that be a clue?! unwinding. UNWINDING. hmm... maybe they only need to go to the stuff they actually remember (themselves) they want to go to?

omg, can you tell kejn doesn't have children! :-P

I know! That's what I'm starting to think, about the kids...maybe I should make THEM pay for these activities...that might do it. And my activities aren't every week (except for choir). It just seems like it. :)

I don't know but when you find out, tell us, ok?

Honestly, I don't know how people do it. I only have one kid to keep track of since Anders is still too little to have activities. Luckily, Ingrid hasn't shown any particular interest in some kind of activity so she doesn't do any. She goes to the after-school program where they have them all do their homework so that's one less thing for me to have to get on her case about. Right now, we'd be pleased if Ingrid would simply remember which day is library day at school and that she needs to take her books back in. Time will tell.

I was also thinking that perhaps making their participation in the things they have after school contingent upon remembering it themselves and taking their gear with them in the mornings might help. Otherwise you won't pay for it. If they want to do it, the least they can do is remember it. Homework you can't let up on but let the other stuff slide and see what happens.

(Anonymous)

When I read your post this morning I thought to myself, thank heavens we haven't reached that stage of kid busy-ness yet - we still have a year to go. Then I came home from a meeting only to find Caroline in tears because she'd been too busy playing and hadn't heard the teacher at school call for the kids taking swimming. Her babysitter tells me she was one of three kids without wet hair when she picked her up today. Oops!

Will wanted to take C out for ice cream to make up for it, but I'm sort of inclined to use this as a reminder moment for her instead. And if you come up with other ideas for kid/responsibility training I'm all ears over here!

julia @ kolokolo



I think the hardest part is that it feels like PUNISHMENT if they miss something because they forgot or I forgot to remind them :( But, I suppose it's also one of the best ways to learn responsibility and the art of remembering important things for yourself.

There is that little bad feeling that creeps in when you see your kids disappointed about something that could have been avoided. Still, I think it's worth it to try. Pick one of their activities (probably the one they seem least excited about), tell them you are not going to remind them or prepare their things for them anymore. If they want to keep doing it, they have to take the responsibility for it.

I also think it's not just getting them to learn responsibility but that your kids are probably old enough now that it would be good for them to see how much you have been taking care of for them and begin to appreciate that "stuff" doesn't just happen on its own.

I'm the young padwan to your Jedi master in learning to deal with a busy schedule. My week is starting to look remarkably like yours and frankly it's a good frickin' think I don't work. I would NEVER keep it all straight if I had job-related deadlines to throw into the mix.

Luke's teacher has been on him and me about not having me remind him about his homework. The kids' school has the High Five (each finger is a trait they're trying to instill: be a friend, be responsible, be there, be safe, be respectful). She keeps saying, "He needs to be responsible." What I can't work out is at what age are they truly capable of that. I asked a child psychologist and she said around 10-11 years old. Luke's teacher was annoyed with him on Friday for not returning his library book (which I usually put in his bag). So he copped some attitude about it with me, I think I'm going to have to put a checklist by the door or something.

I have no suggestions, I can only say that I understand where you're coming from.

Honestly, I think 10-11 is still too young to remember all of this stuff...I can't do it, and I'm over, um, 29!

I'm pretty sure none of my siblings or myself were managing until junior high-ish...but I think the training has to start now, and I think his teacher is being really unrealistic to expect Luke to remember to do his homework on his own. (that's what parents are for, right?)

Ok thank you. That's what I was thinking.

I know, his teacher kind of looked at me crazy for seeming a bit overwhelmed by it all. Now I'm joining the ranks of parents with TWO kids with homework. All I can say is I'm grateful for Google Calendar.

BTW, you're rocking the 29 year old thing. ;-)

(Anonymous)
kid journals

The kids (9=10-11) in my classes already have a school provided personal journal/ diary book that they must take out and update every day...they write into it which homework is due when, teacher makes notes in it for parents and kids, and they write in their daily school and after school activities...I thought it was REALLY great of their main teachers to do this with them before they go to the BIG SCHOOL in 6th grade (often a KunskapsSkola, where they keep their own pace for studies...personally I think that is rather tough for some of them who aren't self motivated particularily.) Anyway...the majority of my students ALWAYS have their homework on time! But now I'm wondering what kind of coaxing, hassling, and nagging they get from their parents on Monday nights! (English/Spanish homework due on Tuesday)

I think I'll ask my students tomorrow who reminds them to do their work...or if they remember on their own. They are the same age as Martin, I think.

I've packed Maya's gym clothes for tomorrow...no homework yet! AND I've got to remember that the TOOTH FAIRY is coming for the first time tonight! Yipee!

Carol in Sweden

Re: kid journals

I'll be interested to hear about the answers you get. :) The kids have little journal/books that they write down their assignments and homework for the week in, but it seems like it's erased from their minds regardless as soon as they get home.

(Anonymous)

OK, I only have dogs - maybe replace them all with dogs? Then again, there is the feed at 6am, fill the water bowls, go for walks, feed treats when you get home, etc. etc. etc. Guess that's no real difference, is it?

Queen of My Own Destiny

Har! Well, I don't have to buy a Furminator, at least. :D

(Anonymous)
Thought of something else...

I haven't read your newest comments about this...but "I came to think about it" (is that Sweglish?) as I was doing just the same planning for packing with Maya's stuff as you do with M & K's. You know those shoe/clothes hanging bag shelves from IKEA? I think I'm going to get one of those to hang up by the door we leave from each morning (basement)...and mark it Monday to Friday. Then I can pre-pack on Sunday the gym clothes, football stuff, swim stuff, skogsmulle stuff by the day they are needed along with anything else that needs to go out the door with us in the morning (snack and water bottle). Maya (with my help) can then grab what she needs for that day pack it into her backpack right before we leave (or I can put it in the car until it's needed after school). FOUR TIMES this week I had to run back upstairs to get something that I forgot...my coffee (which I can't put into a hanging bag!), Maya's backpack (3 times), gym shoes...AGH! What a waste of time! However, I did remember to bring the dog's food with me for the outdoor hundgård each day! I've only got one kid...can't imagine what people with more than 3 do! I'd be a CRAZY LADY!

carol in sweden

Re: Thought of something else...

That's a good idea!

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