Panicking over Setting a New Schedule

Updated on March 24, 2013
D.K. asks from Richmond, IN
9 answers

Hello mamas and papas,

First off, I tend to feel more relaxed and can be more flexible when I have completely planned something out in my head beforehand. When I have brain stormed as many possibilities and outcomes I can imagine, good or bad, I just am better able to face whatever comes. My brain seems to constantly be thinking what would happen if.... The only time I am able to totally turn that off is when I am dancing, doing yoga, or playing an instrument. Second, I am not really a morning person naturally, but I have sucessfully been able to pretend to be a morning person twice in my past.

I had a great daily schedule going for a couple of years with my son. We woke up at 8am, breakfast at 9am, an hour of ABC games, reading and writing from 10am, morning activity (laundry), lunch at noon, afternoon activity including a snack at 3pm, prepare dinner from 4:20pm, yoga DVD for 30 minutes together with my son from 5:30pm , dinner at 6:30, bath at 7:30 with double storytimes (one English, one Japanese), prayers, and bedtime for son starting from 9 or 10 depending on the day, midnight bedtime for me. Sometimes the bedtime routine would get delayed if my husband came home late. My son seems to naturally wake up after having 10-11 hours of sleep. He is less grouchy and more cooperative with the 11 hours though. Weekends, we would get up slightly earlier to go somewhere as a family on Saturdays, and my son and I go to church on Sundays. The weekend schedule would frequently get my weekday schedule messed up for a couple of days when we didn't keep meal times and bedtimes steady. Sunday is a big problem with meal times. Church is from 10am-1pm. I need a good preplanned schedule to function. My husband can just sort of go with the flow much better than I can, in other words no schedule, no worries. He also doesn't seem to be affected as much from skipping meals or loosing sleep the way I am. My husband's solution is to skip a meal to catch up time. If I skip a meal, I can't function. He doesn't seem to need as much sleep as I do to function either. We are opposites on this one.

Sometime last November, my daily schedule started to get way off. Our laundry machine broke. We got a new one, which I had some trouble with (see previous question if necessary). My son had a growth spurt and outgrew the nighttime pull-ups available here, but not the need for them. I had more accidents to clean up. My father-in-law has been in the hospital a few times for kidney troubles. So we visit my in-laws more frequently on the weekends, which messes up the schedule. I don't have a problem visiting them. I think it is great to see them more, just wish that my father-in-law was in better health. I know that the smile he has when he sees his grandson is the best medicine he can have. I just wish there was a way to keep the schedule and visit them. On top of that, there were so many birthday celebrations in the family at the end of the year, on top of the holidays... It all kind of caused my wonderful daily schedule to bite the dust. Now we have no set schedule. We wake up anywhere from 7:30am to 9am. My son's bedtime is also anywhere from 8:30pm to 11pm. It's driving me nuts, and for the last two months I have been trying to figure out getting back to a real schedule.

My son is five years old. He will start kindergarten in 3 weeks! Arrrrrg!!! I can't believe my little guy will start kindergarten in less than a month. The school year starts in April in Japan. He needs to be at the school between 8am and 8:30am. I can pick him up at 2:20pm. It takes about 10-15 minutes to walk there depending on the weather, traffic, and how tired we are. We must walk uphill on a pretty narrow two-way road that doesn't have sidewalks. (Pretty typical in Japan. Schools are often at the top of a hill/mountain.) I am feeling pretty scared about if I will be able to wake up early enough to get to school on time. I have another not so nice trait. I struggle with being on time. While I was working, I was the person who got there just in time, most of the time. And even now with church, we sometimes get there 5 minutes late, but more often it is like 20 minutes late. How late we are doesn't seem to be changed by how early we get up either. I just seem to get sidetracked so easily. Do it now, so I won't worry about it later kind of thing.

So, I am looking at getting up no later than 6am. I might even have to get up earlier. My husband currently gets up at 5:30am and leaves by 6:30am for his work. So husband will need to share the bathroom space in the morning. I always say goodbye to him in the morning and go back to bed. I know that I will need to do laundry after my son comes home from kindergarten since he will wear a school uniform, and my husband insisted that we only buy one. (That's what all the other parents seem to do.) I understand it in our case though since our son's uniform was quite a bit more expensive than the other kid's because he is a head taller than everyone else. Specially made=specially priced. I also want to continue doing ABC games, writing and reading at home, as well as having our 30 minute storytime in English daily. (Kindergarten will be in Japanese only. My son is bilingual, but English is currently stronger. He knows his letters. He can read level one readers, Dr. Seuss books, and most of his older board books. He can write two or three sentence stories. I want him to have a solid understanding of English from a native speaker, before he gets exposed to English as a foreign language from a Japanese teacher at school.) I would also like to continue the yoga at least twice a week with him. Yoga really helps my son deal with his frustrations and keeps the negativity down.

I am overwhelmed looking at this huge schedule change. I have sort of got a hold on getting our dinner at 5:30 now. My son sometimes gets to bed by 8pm, but he often doesn't get to see his dad before going to bed when he does at that time. I don't want to take away the time he can spend with his dad just to go to bed early, but... Then there is my husband always telling me that the weather will be sunny and not to misss hanging the laundry outside. If I try to hang the laundry early, dinner will be late. All the trying to figure out how our new schedule is going to be has my stomach tied in knots. My brain is racing in the evening to the point where I sometimes can't go to sleep until 1am or 2am. Then I can't wake up early and the whole "late cycle" begins again. I used to be pretty good at multitasking, but that ability seems to have flown the coop as well. I sometimes can't remember to brush my teeth after breakfast too.

So, my question, how can I de-stress myself, focus on what needs to be done, and get back into a routine? I want to relax and be calm for when kindergarten begins next month. What does your kindergartener's daily schedule look like? Help, I need suggestions.

Thanks so much for listening to my rambling...

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answers from Grand Forks on

I'm not sure why you need to get up at 6:00am to get your son to school for 8:30am if the school is a 15 minute walk away. My boys have to be at school for 9:00am, they get up at 8:00am and have plenty of time to eat, wash, get dressed, feed the cats and fish and walk to school. If you struggle with being on time set all of your clocks and your watch 5-10 minutes ahead. You have from 2:30 on to play games, read books and do yoga with your son. Do the majority of the housework while he is at school. Put a load in the washer when he gets in the door. Make dinner while he is watching hos tv shows or playing his games. Leave his bedtime at 9:00pm so he gets to see dad, and let him sleep until 7:00am. Try and be more flexible so he will not become dependant on such rigid schedules as you are. He will have rigid schedules while he is in school, and may need a break from it when he gets home.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

my stomach knots up just thinking of having a day this regimented!
no useful advice from me because i'm wired too differently. i'm naturally chaotic.
but i hope the other mamas are able to help you breathe easier!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

While he's at school you can do a lot of stuff at home and get it out of the way so when you go pick him up you have all evening. You can also take a nap so you are feeling better and happier.

He can still go to bed around 9 if that's what he's used to. From 9pm to 7am is 10 hours, he should be able to adjust to that and might even start going down earlier better.

If you still want to do class time with him then I suggest you do it after dinner so it can be your special time with him before the bedtime routine starts.

Good luck with all that you're trying to get done with him.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Oh D.,

My husband is more like you and I am more like your husband. I feel for my husband a lot of the time because he, like you, tends to overthink things and creates for himself such a lever of stress that he gets overwhelmed with the details.

Some things that will help in the mornings: Set out clothes, book bags, shoes and such the night before. If he takes lunch, pack it the night before. This means he gets up, gets dressed, eats breakfast, brushes teeth and hair and he's ready to go. No big bathroom time.

Pick breakfasts that are easy, i.e. a bagel with cream cheese and some cut up fruit, or oatmeal with fresh fruit and milk, or toast with peanut butter and some juice, so that you aren't cooking while trying to get ready.
He's dressing, you are getting breakfast together. You are tossing some clothes on while he eats. He finishes up, brushes his teeth and combs his hair and you guys get shoes, jackets, and school stuff and you are out the door.

Try and do all the chores you can first thing in the morning. When my kids leave for school, I start out my day making the beds, gathering the dirty clothes, starting upstairs and working my way downstairs, tidying as I go. As soon as I get downstairs I start the laundry. This gives plenty of time for drying, hanging and putting away.

I have made for myself a list for the things I do each day so that I don't get overwhelmed. I tend to clean in circles, going from room to room as I see something. Then I am totally stressed. I have assigned a room a day. Monday I totally clean the kitchen and laundry rooms ( not the normal daily stuff, but the wipe down appliance, clean out fridge, wipe down cabinet fronts and so on). Tuesdays are the living room and play room and entry area. Wednesdays are bathrooms, Thrusday my small kids rooms, and Friday our room. Again, this doesn't include picking up which is done everyday, but dusting, cleaning blinds and windows, the bigger stuff. I do the same with laundry. Each person has a laundry day whether they wash it or I do and Friday is for sheets. This ensures a couple of loads a day and allows me to not get overwhelmed.

So, if I were you this is what my schedule would look like:

Me and kiddo up at 7.
Kiddo getting dressed, me making breakfast.
Kiddo eating at 7:20, while I get dressed.
Kiddo brushing teeth and combing hair at 7:45
Shoes, coats, bags, lunches and out the door by 7:50 and on our way to school.

Home for my by 8:30
Make beds and tidy till 9
Start laundry
Clean specific area in house for that day (1 to 2 hours as needed)
Prep for dinner and afternoon snack til noon.
Lunch for me
Hang clothes and such or whatever else needs doing or errands need runnning
Leave at 2 PM to pick son up.
Snack at 3 PM
Thirty minutes of learning fun til 4 PM (because he will be doing it all day)
Then the rest of your evening as you normally would, including yoga with him.

The only difference is that, to save time I might read to him while he is in the tub, or when he gets home from school during snack, so that bedtime happens around 8 or 8:30.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I am going to suggest you see a dr. either a medical dr or a psychologist. you sound extremely anxious. If your stomach is tied up in knots over this schedule this is a big problem.

My kids start school at 9 am.. we get up between 7 and 730.. and we have an easy morning. I come home and do laundry but if i dont do laundry.. that is ok.. it is no big deal.

if you are one of those folks that needs a schedule set an alarm clock.. get up at whatever time.. and start your day. make a list of chores for the day.. and keep moving till you are done.. really you are stressing over nothing..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Start making adjustments now by starting your day a little earlier and getting to bed earlier so it's not a huge adjustment. Just for to the walk to school and home a few times before school begins so you and your son are use to doing it.

Instead of dreading this look at it as and opportunity to make some changed. Easier grab and go breakfast. Fun lunch ideas. Time for yourself to nap if needed. Don't overly plan about your daily routine once your son is in school because you'll kind of figure it out as you go through it.

I did a lot the night before since my hubby did the mornings by himself with 4 kids. The kids picked out their clothes, I packed lunch boxes and left them in the fridge, and I had backpacks ready by the door.

My hubby would wake up everyone 45 minutes before the bus which gave everyone enough time to dress, eat, brush teeth and hair, get their shoes and coats, grab their lunchbox and backpack and get out the door. Origionally they were given a hour to get everything done but we found that more time equaled more fooling around and it was hard to get them back on track.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I'm not one to stress, nor am I one to be late. The way I manage, is to act with efficiency, and to build in some extra time. You are wired differently. With that in mind, here are some concrete suggestions-

1. buy or make a morning routine chart for your self and for your son. have it list each and every activity including- wake up, use bathroom, wash face, brush teeth, brush hair, get dressed, make bed, set table, eat breakfast, clear table, brush teeth, (play a game/ read a book/ watch tv if time allows) take lunch, take school bag, wear coat (all laid out the night before), leave home 20 minutes before you need to be at school.

2. take ownership of the laundry, do it, and make sure it gets done. Don't have your husband call you to tell you its sunny. You can see as much by looking out the window.

3. have a gronola bar or protein bar or a banana, or a yogurt in your purse at all times. If you are forced to skip a meal, you need not get cranky/irritable for lack of food.

4. have an evening activity chart for you and your son. Include an after school snack, homework, yoga/ ABC games, making eating dinner, bath time, brushing teeth, wearing pyjamas, readying things for tomorrow (playing, if time allows), stories, prayers, and bed.

5. since you know that a yoga session helps you decompress, do an extra one nightly after your son goes to sleep. That way you don't loose time and energy to the worry which has you up till 1-2 am.

6. do it gradually, or do it in one fell swoop, decide which will work better for you. shifting your wake up time earlier by 15 minutes every two days, or taking the leap to the 6am wake up. Either way be prepared to have it take you 7 days to get acclimated to the earlier start.

7. you could do a cleaning schedule too if it suits your fancy.

The overall benefit of having these written, schedules on display is that there is never any doubt as to what comes next, and never any fear of omitting an important step. You can rely on the schedule, and then don't have to clutter your mind/ add to your worry of keeping a mental to do list.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hugs. I've got to agree with Lisa O. Changing your daily schedule because your child is starting school should not cause so much anxiety. I would suggest not spending so much time with your inlaws that your 5 year old not get to bed til 11:00. I understand that FIL is ill, but you must attend to your child's needs.
When my kids were in kindy, I didn't keep such an exact schedule! My daughter started less than 2 months after I left my fulltime job and we moved to a new house. She got up around 7:00, I put her on the bus at 8:50 and then spend the morning doing stuff around the house and taking care of my 1 year old. Went back to the bus around 12:20. Spent the afternoon doing a little homework, maybe DD had a playdate, or else she played at home and then I made dinner for around 6:30PM. When DS was in kindy, we put DD on the bus at 8:50, he either went to our sitter if it was a work day or we hung out together at home, maybe ran errands, maybe he had a play date or we went to storytime at the library. Then he got on the bus around 12:30 and they both got off at 4:00. Homework, playing, then dinner around 6:30. At 5 years old, my kids went to bed at 8:00. I didn't schedule exercise time, tv watching time, reading a story time so exactly.



answers from Toledo on

You could also ask other parents of kids in your son's class about their schedule. Or how they plan to handle things.

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