Hey friends! Welcome to our Planning With Purpose series! Each day we’ll talk about a planning strategy that will help you feel more organized and ready to take on the day – even when your days look the same and we’re all stuck at home!
In addition to these daily posts, we’re also hosting a live Facebook chat about these topics each day! Click here to RSVP to today’s live chat – don’t miss it!
And now, onto today’s focus:
How to Plan With Your Kids!
Last night, I walked into Nathan’s room to tuck him in, and he wasn’t he usual talkative self. Generally, I go in at night and he wants to tell me all the things, cling to my shirt so I don’t leave, and basically do whatever he can to avoid going to sleep.
But not last night. Last night I walked in and he was turned over on his side, staring at nothing. I prayed for him and still he didn’t really respond. I asked him what was going on and he immediately broke down and started sobbing.
“I don’t want to leave my school and my friends! I don’t want to leave Pappy and Uncle Seth and Aunt Ana! That new house does not look like our house and it isn’t even close to our house!”
We’d looked at updated pictures of our new house before bed, thinking it would be fun for the kids. Apparently that was not the case.
Now, in a normal season, my son would still be upset about this, I’m sure. He doesn’t like change. He spent the first year in this townhouse complaining about how much he missed our old apartment – which was truly a tiny dark box on the third floor (this townhouse is SO MUCH BETTER), and only 10 minutes away. This move is bigger. Farther. And away from everyone he’s made connections with at school and church over his last few years. This is hard.
But I think our current situation has made it even harder.
The effects of this shelter-in-place order have lasted far longer than I ever expected. And in the last few weeks, I’ve really seen how it has impacted my family emotionally. My kids, especially, have been grieving. They knew we were already planning to move, of course, but this added loss of connection so early on has been incredibly difficult. In the last few weeks they’ve realized that we aren’t going to get to go back to school, we aren’t going to get to see their friends.
The end has already happened and we didn’t even know it.
Honestly for a while I thought my kids were fine. Thriving even, here at home. But now, this many weeks into sheltering in place, they are struggling. However hard this is on us, our kids are experiencing the same thing, to some degree, as well.
So in the midst of all the loss and uncertainty and true grief that has come with this time, I’m trying to offer some stability and certainty to my children. And the best way I’ve found to do that right now is by giving them some routine in our days at home.
Our Daily Plan (Kid-Style)
I’ve tried a lot of different methods for our daily plan while we’ve all been at home, and honestly much of it has been trial and error! But what I’ve landed on is the most simple and straightforward thing for all of us – and it works.
Every morning, before my kids come downstairs, I sit down with a daily task list for each of them, and write down all the things that have to be done. Right now that includes:
- Their schoolwork for the day that needs to be done on a device
- Any schoolwork that doesn’t need to be done on a device (reading, math facts, etc.)
- Their daily chores
- Something fun to do when they are done
Because Jon and I have been trading off work days, the actual schedule of the kids days don’t look the same. But what is ALWAYS the same is their lists – the foundation for their day.
Both of my kids, especially during unstable times like these, need to know what’s coming. When they go from one activity to the next with no understanding of what needs to be done throughout the day, they get antsy and anxious. And I get that, I’m the same way! Giving them these lists helps them see a big picture view of the day, and then attack it.
It also gives them a little freedom and independence. Though I write everything out for them, I don’t dictate the order in which they get it done (though the fun activity does need to wait till chores and mandatory school work are done). They have the freedom to choose what they want to do first, and how they are going to accomplish their tasks. This is building up their confidence AND their work ethic!
Why Daily Lists Work
My kids are still little, and while this could all be done in a planner (something my oldest has really just gotten into), I have found that keeping simple daily lists that can be thrown away at the end of the day is perfect. This is not a time where I’ve helping the kids work on goals or make overarching progress on anything. Honestly, we are just getting the basics done and then encouraging free play, creativity, and family time after that. THIS is what my kids need. THIS is how we will process all that we’ve lost, together.
A single page with a list of everything you need for the day, and then free time afterwards. This is what’s working for us!
Developing a Planning Habit
I see this small version of planning starting to shape our kids – in a great way. They are learning to think through their days, choosing an order of task completion that fits their personalities. They are learning that work is done before we play, and that’s becoming more natural for them each day. They are even working together to help each other accomplish their lists, since their only partner in play is each other!
Do we have days where no one wants to get anything done? Sure. Even I have days like that, and I’m a grown-up! But having the lists in front of us help redirect and focus when we are distracted or moody. And adding a reward to the end of the tasks is really helpful!
Tools For You
I’ve included our daily pages inside our At-Home Printable Pack, which you can find and download right here! It’s totally free, and should be really helpful for you during this time!
If you want something a little more structured for your kids, our Anchored Kids Planners are perfect for this! They come with 3 levels (one for each age/stage of your children), and include aspects like weekly habits, gratitude, planning ahead, and so much more!
And of course, if you need a planner yourself, our S.O.S. Planners will help you do all of this on the grown-up level! Our daily planner gives you the same advantages of a single page per day, allowing a fresh start each day. (And they are currently on sale during launch week – plus they come with over $55 in bonuses this week only!)
I hope today’s post was helpful for you, friends! I’d love to hear how you’re planning with your own kids right now – share your thoughts in the comments!
Kayse is a wife, mom, and founder of the Anchored Women community. She writes to help women fight busy, find rest, and build a life that’s anchored in Christ. Kayse is also the creator of the S.O.S. Planner, the Anchored Life Kit, and other practical resources that equip women to manage their homes and families in confidence. You can find her writing and her resources at anchored-women.com!