Mercedes has gotten into the habit of constantly asking me to do things at all the wrong times...asking to eat a snack when it's nap time, asking to go outside when Emerald is nursing, asking to do a project while I'm cooking dinner, etc. I am always telling her "not now" and "later". Then when I finally have the time to help her with what she wanted to do, she has given up and only wants to watch TV. The preschool teacher in me decided it was time to implement a daily routine so she knows what to expect at any given time. She's also been talking about wanting to go to school (because she watches shows like Sesame Street and Barney and sees kids at school). Since we are homeschooling and she is now 2 1/2 and potty trained (those are the requirements at the preschool I taught at for the kids to be able to enter the preschool classroom), I decided it was time to be intentional about giving her preschool type lessons every day.
Every day she gets a Bible lesson, a lesson involving letters, numbers, shapes or colors, and a craft, project or activity. I've separated these three lessons throughout the day instead of using one block of time so she doesn't lose interest or get side tracked.
I made sure to give her some TV time (when she gets a surprising amount of learning done as well as a change to chill out and relax her over-stimulated body and mind...and mommy gets a break too). Her TV times are Emerald's nap times which help to avoid Mercedes being too noisy and waking Emerald up. She also has plenty of free play time to do whatever she wants, and of course during these times I play with her or if she doesn't need me it's when I can play with Emerald one on one or get some cleaning done. A couple times a day I tell her it's "preschool clean up time" and she helps me straighten up the toys, which is amazing for keeping the messes under control.
This routine has changed her mood drastically. She has been extra happy and cooperative and she is LOVING the lessons. This girl thrives on structure and consistency. We follow this schedule the five days that Ben works (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and we call them our "Preschool Days". When she wakes up I tell her "we're having a preschool day today" and she gets really excited and right away starts asking for a Bible lesson. I am thrilled and I love it. Every evening I plan out the next day's activities and put all of our supplies in my "teacher's bag" which is just a big purse. Whenever I tell Mercedes it's time for a lesson she says "get teacher bag, Mommy!" and wants me to show her what's inside. We are off to a great start in our homeschooling adventures and it won't be long before Emerald can participate in the lessons too.