Photo from my Instagram.
With no TV on most days, and very little toys in the house, my kids have had to get creative, which is exactly what Brian and I want them to do. We feel strongly about not catering to or entertaining our kids on a daily basis, and want them to have loads of free time for imaginative and creative play. Bringing a minimalist sort of lifestyle into our home has proven to have so many benefits. Our kids' bond is stronger and closer, I have less of a burden to keep them busy throughout our days at home, I have seen their imaginations blossom, and a spirit of gratitude is being cultivated.
TV used to be sort of a crutch for me as a mom, and it was just a background noise that was on pretty much all the time. My kids weren't even watching it, I found myself constantly irritable and frustrated because the house was never peaceful. Once I decided to shut it off, it was an adjustment for all of us, but things got better.
We got better as a family. I started playing quiet music in the house while we went about our days and the atmosphere was just so much more peaceful and productive. I was a much calmer, happier mom, too.
Now that you have a short summary of why we are raising our kids this way, I think an hourly outline of our typical day will answer most questions. Keep in mind that this is how our typical days at home are spent. I normally run errands one day a week, occasionally I'll spend one day out of the house, and we have Sundays and Mondays as our weekends with Brian home. We are not currently homeschooling Bella- she goes to school on the "PM schedule" for kindergarten, which is 10:00-1:45 every day of the week.
5:30-6:30AM Emmett's morning feeding. I'm still half-asleep.
6:45-7:00 I get out of bed, make my coffee, Brian's Bulletproof coffee, and spend a little time reading a devotional. The kids are usually awake, but they know not to come out of their rooms until 8:00, so they're usually playing quietly in the boys' room. Brian is normally getting dressed for his day while I put his lunch together and drink my coffee. Three times a week I go for a 25 minute run.
8:00 Kids come out of their rooms and I serve them breakfast. Brian is leaving for work by now if he didn't leave earlier. I make my breakfast smoothie, and clean up the kitchen.
8:30 Kids get dressed. If they're dressed and put together, I feel on top of my day, even if I look horrid.
9:00 Send kids outside to play. I start the laundry, get dressed (most days this is just a little powder and deodorant), and feed Emmett his breakfast solids.
10:00 Bella goes to school.
10:30 Kids get a small snack, then play (train tracks, wooden blocks, Legos, or puzzle) while I nurse the baby down for his morning nap and do some housework. We always have music playing and the windows open :)
12:00 Lunch time. We eat together, then everybody helps clean up and we do something together (walk to the park, or we'll eat our lunch outside picnic-style and linger for an hour or so while the kids climb the tree or run around). I might finish some chores, and I feed the baby.
1:45 Pick up Bella.
2:00 Nap time/quiet time. This involves everybody, no matter how old. I cannot be a happy mom for my kids without a little break in the middle of my long days! Bella will color or play quietly in her room, every once in awhile I let her watch a movie and rest on the couch, both boys take an actual nap, and I'll nurse the baby down, then either nap with him or catch up on housework if needed. Sometimes I just veg out with a book or an episode of Grey's or New Girl. This is my time, an oasis for me in the middle of the mundane. I do whatever will make me feel refreshed or caught up.
4:00-4:30 Kids wake up and have a small snack. Then they get a choice: play outside or have some constructive/creative play time. They'll go out back on the swing set, or make up a scenario to play in the living room (usually they're animals in the jungle or something silly like that), or they all do arts/crafts together, or they build a fort and bring a bunch of books into it...whatever they decide, they almost always choose to play together, and they always keep themselves very entertained. I am normally nursing the baby or folding laundry.
5:00 I start dinner.
5:30 Dinner time. Everyone helps set the table, Bella normally helps me prepare the meal, and everyone cleans up the kitchen/table afterward. I try to eat with the kids whenever possible, but most of the time I'm sitting with them and feeding Emmett his solids.
6:30 Baths, get ready for bed, nightly pick up. The kids pick up whatever is out of place- toys, blankets, books, trash, sippy cups- and they pick up their rooms.
7:30 Bedtime. Bella is usually allowed 30 minutes of quiet time with her light on before she's required to actually go to sleep. Sometimes I'll talk with her for a little bit or read to her extra.
8:00 I wrap up any of my chores that were left undone (usually just putting laundry away) and this is when I do my blogging. Sometimes I'm just brain dead and will veg out until Brian gets home, which is normally around 9:30.
We are normally asleep by 10:30-11.
I hope this helps and inspires you and isn't a totally useless post, ha! One thing I keep hearing is that other moms don't think their kids can play on their own like mine do, or they think my kids are just different and they can't get rid of TV or purge the toys.
Yes you can! We used to have the TV on all the time, and our kids' rooms were constantly a disaster- full of crap and toys everywhere- but the kids were constantly bored! Once we turned the TV off and got rid of the noise and the junk, it took a little bit, but our kids transformed, and so did our days. You can do it!
If I left anything out or if you have any more questions, please feel free to leave me a comment! I'll always get back to you :)