Friday, November 27, 2009

Home Management: Creating a Night Time Routine

I hope THIS post got you thinking about your mealtimes, what time you eat, how much time you need to prepare, and how much clean up time you need to allot for each meal. I also hope you put some thought into what you want your children to be doing while you are busy with cooking (and it shouldn’t be the TV, either).

You should have three areas of your Master Schedule filled in: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now we are going to use those blocks of time to denote our Morning routine, our Afternoon routine, and our Night Routine. The most important of these routines is your night routine. A well-planned night routine is almost like a gift for the next day that you give yourself.

Your Night Routine consists of four steps:

Operation Get the House in Order
Think about Tomorrow
Focus on your Family
Focus on Yourself

Let’s get organized by starting with step number four first. Let’s go against convention, after all these are OUR schedules, right?

Time to be honest, are you getting enough sleep at night? Can you get out of bed in the morning fairly refreshed? We are all at different seasons in our lives and we each require different amounts of sleep to get us through. What does your body tell you? As Wives/Moms we set the tone for our home, and if you are too tired to deal with what you need to deal with, is your home going to be on pitch or is it going to be flat?

Think about what your body requires and pick a bedtime to suit it.

My lights out time is 10:30, what is yours?

For me, I require a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. My time for lights out is 10:30. That is what works the best for me since I wake about 6:30ish. When I first set my bedtime for 10:30 I would hop into bed, crack open my Bible or whatever book I was reading at the time and read until 11:15 (or maybe later). It didn’t take my body long to signal to me that was too late. I had to tweak my schedule and give myself half-hour to forty-five minutes to read before I turned out the lights. This means that I need to have everything finished and in my bed with my book at 10:00, at the latest.

Do you have something special you like to do before bedtime, journal, or pray, whatever it is give yourself time to do it, and still hit your lights out target time. I am ready and in bed with my book by 10PM.

How long does it take you to do your hygiene routine to get ready for bed? The hygiene routine or whatever you want to call it, is brushing your teeth, flossing, washing your face, etc before bed. If you are not sure, go ahead and time yourself tonight.

It takes me about 15 minutes. So with that in mind, I set my target time to get me, personally, ready for bed starting at 9:45. I know that I need to have steps 1-3 in my Night Routine completed before 9:45.

So let’s review…

What time is your Lights Out time? ________ (10:30, for me)


How long do I need to read, pray, journal before bed? ________ (30 minutes)


How long does it take me to do my hygiene routine? _________(15 minutes)


Your Target Time (9:45)

Write down your target time. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Great job! Now that we have step four: Focus on Yourself completed, let’s back up to step number one: Operation Get the House in Order.

Step Number One can begin as soon as dinner is over. Go ahead and get those dinner messes over with. This should be a whole family affair. If your child can walk they can help get meals cleaned up. My boys scrape their plates and take them to the counter, and then the six-year-old wipes the chairs and the eight-year-old sweeps up the floor. They both participate in putting away condiments if we’ve used any. They also gather up the placemats and put them in the laundry.

Ladies, train your children to help you. Start them early when they think it is fun to help Mom, don’t tell them they are too small and then turn around and expect them to want to help you at 13.

I’m blessed, my husband is willing to help out in this area and he puts all of the leftovers into containers for me and puts them into the fridge.

Do you have a dishwasher? Get her loaded up and run her for the evening. Otherwise, get your dishes done as quickly as you can. Try to wash up as many of your pots and pans that you can as you cook. If you used a cutting board to cut up some veggies, why not while they are sautéing, wash up the cutting board and knives. Keep washing until all you have to wash when dinner is over is your serving bowls, utensils, plates, and glasses.

Wipe down your tabletop, and return the centerpiece to the table. Wipe off your countertops and stovetop. Wipe out your microwave if you need to. When you are finished toss your dishtowel and cloth into the laundry basket and lay out a fresh set for tomorrow morning. I can usually get all of this done in my home in about 30 minutes. It makes my mornings go by so much better when my kitchen is straightened the night before.

As for the rest of the house, before bedtime take 15 to 20 minutes to just get things picked up and returned to their place. Have children return any of their toys that are out to their rooms or wherever they are kept, books that are out put back on the bookshelf. You know the old motto, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Make this a fun time for your children, have races to see who can clean the quickest. I’ve even given my boys tongs from the kitchen and had them use the tongs to pick up with…they called them robot hands. Be creative, and everyone should be involved.

On to Step Two: Think about Tomorrow. Ask yourself, “What can I do to make tomorrow go more smoothly?” Well, first you need to check tomorrow. Do you have any appointments, movies or library books due, do you have a game or music lessons? Go ahead and gather that stuff together and have it ready by the door. Do you need to pack your husband a lunch? Get it packed and into the fridge. Get as much done tonight that you can for tomorrow.

I have my meals planned for a week at a time. One of my most valuable uses of time is to go ahead and check my recipe for the next day’s dinner. Do I have all my ingredients? Do I need to let anything thaw?

I keep one of those little yellow notepads by my fridge and anything that I need to remember to do for the next day I start jotting down a to do list. Did we use all of the peanut butter and need more? Put that on a running list you keep on the refrigerator door.

Do you know what you are wearing in the morning? Does it need ironed? Do you have pantyhose? Keep asking yourself, “What can I do?’

Anything to make your day better, do it!!

Step Three: Focus on your Family ask your family if they need anything for in the morning. It’s not normally anything too major. Often my husband will ask for me to make some phone calls for him, or check on some prices for him. Etc. My boys usually don't ask for anything outstanding to do, but often I’ll get asked if we can go for a walk, or play a game tomorrow. It gives them something to look forward to.

Okay, you remember your target time? I want you to figure how long before your target time you need before to get your night routine completed. Because I still have to get my children ready for bed I start my Night Routine around 8PM. I actually try to have my kitchen ready to go after dinner and then I do the rest of the steps about 8.

I want you to now write up a Night Time Routine for yourself. Figure out your target time and work up to it starting with Step One.

It might look something like this:

Step One: Operation get the house in order. “A place for everything and everything in it’s Place” Start picking up the house. Ask kids if they need anything for tomorrow.
Bathe kids, brush their teeth, potty, prayers, and lights out by 8:30

Step Two: Think about tomorrow, “What can I do to make tomorrow run more smoothly?” Check calendar, check recipe etc.

Step Three: Focus on the Family “Do you need anything honey?”

Step Four: Focus on Yourself. The Hygiene Routine

Then go ahead and plug it into your Master Schedule

Congratulations! Over a third of your Master Schedule is finished!!

I know this looks overwhelming but you can do this. Remember a good Night Routine is like a gift you give yourself in the morning. Managing your home is your responsibility, you have to do it anyway, so why not do it well?

As always, leave comments, questions, or suggestions for me.

~Home Management Homework~

Work on my Night Routine, I owe it to myself and my family to be organized
Work it into my Master Schedule

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