Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupation,
That is known as the children's hour.
You can read the entire poem here. This poem has such sweet sentiments. After illness and travels, we are finally settling down into more of a routine. We have one child that particularly craves routine and thrives on predictability. In our anything-but-predictable life, I am trying to do what I can to create stronger routines when and where we can.
Enter Large Family Logistics! My amazingly sweet friend, Erin, surprised me by sending me the book, and I have been using many of the ideas from the book to create routines in our home.
In the past, I've tried a very linear approach to daily routines - sort of like a time line. Strict times were a bit too strict for me, but even just having one thing after another has not worked well at all. Seems like once the train got derailed, I could never get back on track. The author of Large Family Logistics takes more of a block approach with mini-routines within certain blocks of time - Morning and Evening Routines, Mealtime Routines, Chore Time, "The Children's Hour", Bedtime Routine, etc... and I'm working on implementing these into our life.
So far, "The Children's Hour" has been my favorite and the easiest to implement. It sets the tone for cheerful evenings and is a joyful way to end the day when I'd otherwise be mopey and tired. Each family must find what works for them, and in our particular situation, evenings are when Daddy leaves to do Bible studies with other families. Most of the time he leaves right after dinner. In the past, we would all be a little sad that Daddy was gone and it was reflected in our evenings. Now, we eat our dinner together and I wash up the dishes and clean up the dining room as quickly as I can. I purposefully spend the rest of the evening just playing and relaxing with the Littles until it is time for bed. No chores. No computer. No TV. Instead, we play, read books, take a walk, take baths two or three nights of the week, play games, and just enjoy one another. This "pause in the day's occupation" is restful to my spirit.
Still working on the other routines... that Morning Routine is a bear! There is just so much that has to happen first thing and I'm usually stumbling around for my coffee cup for the first hour I'm awake! (I still have a little one waking too many times a night to count!) But I'm happy for the sacredness of The Children's Hour.
Luke 18:16 - Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.