Friday, November 14, 2014

Finding Time/Jett's Daily Schedule

Parents ask me all the time about how I've been able to fit everything I do into one day. So I've put together an overview and some sample schedules from various times in Jett's life, that I hope you will find helpful.

First, I stopped working when Jett was born so I am a stay-at-home mom. And for the first few years, Jett took two, two-hour naps a day, so that's when I worked on my blog. The screen time definitely made me behind in preparing for when he woke up, but I needed to put the blog together so I had an organized place to keep my notes and to figure stuff out in my head. (Since nothing like my blog existed at the time.) It was too much info and I would have been more crazy, I think, if I hadn't put it together. So, in the long run, it saved, and still saves me, a lot of time. I'm a "have to know" person and I'm a workaholic w/out a paying job so I had to funnel my energy somewhere.

I also only slept about 6 hours a day. 
At around age 2 1/2 - 3 years old, Jett may have slept for 2 hours, if I was really lucky, but mostly he slept an hour or skipped the nap altogether. But, at that age, he was cognitively more advanced and could actually independently play some, so I could work on the blog when he was awake. Since he had many signs of autism (almost cured, a couple more symptoms left), he did stimm sometimes when I'm wasn't right with him, but I immediately stopped and redirected him if that occurred. 


Fortunately, my husband understands that keeping the house up has to take a back burner to figuring out this information and attending to Jett's needs. He sees the results in Jett and helps out around the house as he can. Jett's therapy, constantly changing biomedical "profile" and getting three healthy meals out a day are my priorities… As Jett gets older, I see him helping me with the cooking (lots of learning opportunities there! In fact, a lot of his homeschooling will take place in the kitchen) and cleaning so I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I hate a house that is not perfectly kept up, but I can not possibly do everything!

One thing we've done is box up our "extra" stuff. So now, we just have a few plates, cups, etc. out so that all the dishes fit in one dishwasher load. That way, as we eat/cook, the dishes go in, and at the end of the night, they all get washed and are ready for the next day. So there's not enough dishes to lay around. Same for clothes and towels, we just wash what we have out w/out having lots of dirty towels/clothes that need to be washed piled up. All out of season clothes are in vacuum bags in the closets. There's enough that the dirty clothes can fill the laundry basket, some can be washing and some drying…. Less to keep track of. You just have to be creative...

At four years old, Jett does insist on helping out... He often sings the Daniel Tiger song: "Everyone one is big enough--big enough to do something!"


I've learned to set aside one day a week to devote to cooking. Have neighbor/young relative watch the kids while you are at home. (I can get his 12-year old cousin for about $10.) Cook as much as you can! Prepare as many make-ahead meals as possible. A good way to do this is to grocery shop and cut up all the veggies etc. and put them in freezer bags so assembly is quicker later. As soon as you get home, divide up your bulk buys of meats into usable portions, etc. I separate mixtures of cut fruits and veggies and protein powder into bags so I can just pull one out, dump in the blender, add liquid and make a smoothie real quick. I also make up a month's worth of Jett's "Larabars" (recipe is on my facebook page... or not, LOL... here's a similar recipe. I do add chia seeds, sun nut/pumpkin seed/tahini butters and soaked, then toasted nuts and oats as well) and freeze. (I freeze everything in glass jars or toxin free wax paper covered in aluminum foil [I don't let the foil touch the food].) I am working on a post about this, but quick ideas that freeze easily: We buy about 10 gluten free non GMO corn-based pizza crusts and I make all of them at one time and freeze them uncooked. I make up quiches, chicken pot pies, spinach-lasagna noodle rolls (no Jett can't eat it), breakfast-friendly cookies, chicken nuggets, cut up sweet potato fries and enchiladas. Once a week, my husband makes up a huge patch of healthy pancakes or waffles. See these freezer to crock pot recipes for more inspiration.

Appointments/Errands with a baby/toddler

I schedule Jett's doctor's appointments/errands around his sleep pattern so that the restraints of the car seat won't cut into his crawl time. He wakes at 10am, so I schedule morning appointments at 11/11:30 am. This is because most of our appointments are an hour from the house. So, I ease him out of bed at 9:30 (change his diaper and clothes in the bed) and he falls back to sleep in the car. He wakes up a half an hour before the appointment so, on the way there, I have time to feed him his supplements and breakfast (something he'd be sitting for anyway). My mother comes with me (retired, lives 20 minutes away) or my husband drives us to appointments so that either my mother or me can sit in the back and make sure that Jett is constantly cared for and stimulated. At doctor's offices, I lay out a thin blanket and toys for him to play with on the floor. (Keeping him on the blanket is another story.) People seem to think it's fun to watch him play. I try to keep him out of the line of traffic and I've yet to have anyone ask me to put the blanket away or anything.

I try to schedule it so that we'll be back in the car at 2 PM, his normal nap time. An hour later, we are home and he's well-rested and ready to rock and roll (and to go on his potty).

At 3 years old, I try to schedule it so that he's in the car at around 3 PM because that is when he likes to take his nap.

At 4 years old, I just keep a stack of children's encyclopedias, dictionaries and thick books of stories and poetry (all of his choosing) in the car. (See store above for his favorite books.) I look in the rear view mirror and see him smiling behind the books. :) If I'm really lucky, he will fall asleep! That would usually be around 4 PM, for some reason.

Our Schedules

I have had many requests for our schedule, but I've been hesitant to post because I've never had a perfectly scheduled day! So, don't think for one second that I do everything on my schedule everyday. The other thing is that a schedule is completely dependent on you. For me, I need structure and to be focused, but I have a huge need to be able to move it around, especially according to what Jett is interested in that day. So, the neurodevelopment exercises give me structure and a list focuses me on priorities, but when I do them is dependent on Jett's cues. If he is in the mood to explore all over the house, that is what I encourage him to do. If he is wanting me to interact with him more, that is what we will do. If he asks to go outside or for "worksheets" or a puzzle, etc. that's what we do at that time. When he was younger, independent play was minimal and he insisted that I read to him a lot. And he got better and better at independent play and reading a lot on his own. Jett and I are in this for the long run. We are partners that need to work together in a lasting educational relationship. Children learn best when their basic needs are met, are happy and at play. So I do not push Jett, but rather gently "one up" him at every opportunity.

Schedule at Baby/Toddler stage
(When I say "now," Jett was 2 1/2 - 3 years old.)

7 - 8
:00 AM I get up, each one square of 85% chocolate, and start my breakfast (thaw gluten free English muffin & heat pan for eggs). I load or unload dishes. Get diapers or other laundry running and/or in the dryer. (I eat my chocolate first so that I don't miss out on it! I can't tolerate caffeine after noon or it keeps me up all night.)

Cook my breakfast and a soft scrambled egg that I set aside for Jett. Eat breakfast while checking email/blogging/working on Down Syndrome OPTIONs, (of which I am president).

Roast vegetables in the toaster oven, cook beans, rice or gluten free pasta, etc. for Jett's meals that day. This takes minimal prep time, but 20-60 minutes cook time. After it's cooled, I freeze the excess.

Get all of Jett's supplements ready for the day: 1) w/juice first thing 2)with breakfast 3)with lunch 4)with dinner  5) on an empty stomach w/juice before bed

Jett gets his supplement mix 4-5 times a day.
1st thing in AM (needs to be on empty stomach), under tongue or spray: B12
Next: l-carnosine, probiotics, l-tyrosine, nutri-med (thyroid) in goji berry juice or elderberry extract & coconut water. I put royal jelly on the edge of the cup so he gets the honey mix with every sip.
At breakfast mixed in applesauce or bananas and honey: 1/4 zinc, 1/2 mlybd, curcumin, chokeberry powder,  1/3 vitamin C, vitamin D3, 1/2 folinic acid, ginkgo, astralagus, fermented CLO, coconut oil, 1/2 acetyl carnitine, (I was able to stop adding the honey by 2.5 to 3 years old.)
Note: Thyroid meds should actually be given first thing, on an empty stomach (I didn't realize that then.)

At lunch mixed in bananas, applesauce, or sweet potato, etc. and honey: 1/4 zinc, 1/2 mlybd, NeuroProtek, chokeberry powder,  1/3 vitamin C, 1/2 folinic acid, ginkgo, astralagus, coconut oil, 1/2 acetyl carnitine, zeaxanthin, wild blueberry powder, thyroid

At dinner mixed in coconut milk yogurt and bananas: 1/2 zinc, a touch of mlybd (vitamin C needs minerals present), chokeberry powder, 1/3 vitamin C, 1/2 folinic acid, ginkgo, astralagus, coconut oil, wild blueberry powder, thyroid

2 hours before bed, mixed in goji berry juice or coconut milk probiotic drink: 5-HTP, l-orthinine, and magnesium 

See the Rainbow Recipe at the OPTIONs website under nutrition for the recipe I use for most of Jett's meals.

9-10:00 AM Jett wakes up, and my husband sets him right outside the bedroom door. (Husband works late so sleeps late.) Jett usually starts playing with the musical toys (piano, shakers, tambourine, etc.) that I keep in a box right outside the bedroom door. (I have a small box of toys in every room. Yes, lovely decor!)  This gives me a little time if I'm mid-sentence in an email or something. Plus, the noise alerts me that he's awake..
I take Jett to the child seat on the toilet and give him his B12 drops and first juice/supplements with a dropper (sometimes he just drinks it). Then he gets a diaper change with iodine, nose cleaning and therapy I can do such as RMT and MacDonald interactions, etc. (He gets an enthusiastic lesson in colors since I use colorful cloth diapers. Once he knows them in English, you can teach him in another language of your choice.) I end with lifting him with a dowel then swinging. I just incorporate my ND program to suit whatever mood he's in. Sometimes he's super playful and initiates these exercises on his own and sometimes he just wants the diaper change over and to get down on the floor.
Turn on music ( (I start with Mozart until he realizes it and insists on Julie Andrews or some other music where the words are distinguishable. A really good station is Sesame Street.) Set him down for free exploring time. If I haven't finished making his breakfast and he's not getting into something on his own, I give him a hand full of organic, gluten-free cereal in a silicone ice cube tray for him to feed himself and to practice fine motor skills.

10:30 AM I put his therapy glasses on and turn on Readeez/Brill Kids/other computer based educational program so I can feed him his small bowl of supplements. (You can subscribe to my youtube channel and see what I play for him.)

After supplements, I give him a "nibbler tray" (finger foods that aren't too messy to clean up: raw zucchini circles, gluten free cereal, celery sticks, chunks of chicken, apple cubes) to practice fine motor skills. Or I put him in his chair w/tray and let him feed himself the rest of his food.

Once he's finished eating, I clean him off. I sweep up and get the automatic mop (SCUBA) started in a different room every day. I do the same for the Roomba (automatic vacuum). For the carpeted areas, I just take a broom and sweep all the toys quickly in a pile and put them in a toy box I have in each room or just sweep the toys onto the blanket he's played on and put the blanket and contents on the sofa or chair.

 Then I and take him outside to play, shirtless and sunscreenless in the sun (ingested coconut oil and fermented cod liver oil offer sun protection). He plays in the dirt with sandbox toys, we write/draw with chalk all over the sidewalk, he slides, plays with his push toys and balls. I incorporate therapy when I can (swinging, walking, etc.). I read my email via cell phone when he's engaged on his own. When back inside, I stop the SCUBA and Roomba, do the quick minor cleaning to them and put them away.

When he was younger and less able to play on his own, his schedule was like this after eating:
Music off, on floor, while playing: First set of sight words & math lesson.
Picture flash cards.
Turn music back on. I go to the more active play area. Play ball, have him crawl through his tunnel, have him climb up slide and go over, etc.
Second set of sight words & math lesson. Then I set out toys that makes him crawl around a lot and let him free play. (He enjoyed chasing a morocco, ball or cup around the house.)

noon Stair climbing/book.
Music in headphones.
Pinhole glasses while watching Readeez. (15 minutes)
Third set of sight words & math lesson. Stair climbing/book.
I eat lunch.

1:30 PM nap time-- tactile sequence and then breastfeeding until asleep.

2:30 or 3:00 PM (When wakes up from nap.) When he was younger, he'd go on his potty & watch Between the Lions which is recorded on the DVR. Now, when he sits on the child seat in the bathroom toilet, I play a story on my iPhone from a couple of free story websites. That way we get some auditory processing in.

Fourth set of sight words & math lesson.
face to face alphabet
language related photo cards

2-4:00 PM Now that he's older, he sleeps from 2-4pm. I get done what I can while he sleeps. I have lunch ready for him for when he wakes up.

4:00 PM Feed him supplements. Let him feed himself in high chair while I do dishes or eat.
Read books.
6:15 Go for a walk, play outside until dark.
9:00 PM Give him a bath. (I have a glass shower, so I sometimes shower at the same time he's in the bathtub, but I don't know that I'd recommend this. If I do shower, I write sentences backward to him and he reads them to me. Sometimes I bring the laptop in and work while he plays in the tub.) In the tub, he has a xylophone, letters that stick on the side of the tub, stacking toys, a boat, etc. At 26 months, he makes up crazy words and reads them out loud.

Last set of sight words & math lesson.
Free exploring time in his room & swinging/eye exercises or reading (depending on how active he feels.)
Read at least five books.

10:00 PM Give him supplements in juice. Feed him last supplements and dinner.
Last diaper change w/essential oils on belly and feet as needed.

11:00 PM When he was younger, I'd pick him up and give him tactile stimulation/massage or read a book to calm him down.
11:15 PM breastfeed until he falls asleep. Set him down.
Clean kitchen, load dishes.
Set food aside for breakfast.
Pull out his foods for the next day from the freezer.
Put something together for Daddy's dinner.

12:15 AM Daddy comes home. Eat dinner with him.
1-2:00 AM Go to bed.

Our Schedule at 4 years old (with addition of baby brother, Oliver, 15 months old, who is recovering well from a brain injury)

8:30 AM We all wake up (all in the same room, so it's simultaneous...)
1/2 of his Thyroid meds (He can't eat any food for a 1/2 an hour after thyroid meds.)
Jett puts on his "eating clothes" (so that supplements won't stain, etc.) (I lay out his clothes on the floor and he puts them on himself. If it's winter, I lay them in front of the heater.)
I get dressed and eat my square of chocolate.
Jett has free time while I attend to Oliver's diaper, essential oils application, clothes change and while Daddy makes breakfast upstairs (yes, he's a keeper!) Jett can get into his Lego's, musical toys, blocks, books, etc. on his own. I put essential oils on Jett as well.
I switch over the laundry from washer to dryer to laundry basket, etc. Jett helps by separating the socks before they go into the washer. He also will sort things into baskets (but we don't put them away yet).

9:00 AM We move upstairs. Music is on and Oliver gets floor time (either in kitchen at Daddy's feet or near where Jett and I are. We put him on a big blanket and put his favorite stuff on the perimeter like a keyboard, huge stack of blocks to knock over, a ukelele, a xylophone, tray of wooden food, books, etc.) I feed Jett his supplements (yes, I still do this because I want to make sure he eats it all. I will be transitioning to small capsules ASAP so he can do this on his own, with me watching.) During supplements, we do his Spanish or Japanese. For Spanish, we are using the Play and Learn Spanish book and CD so we learn one song a week and the corresponding vocabulary and conversation. I use Google translate on my phone for proper pronunciation of each word. He will take a bite of supplements for each new word he hears. (Yes, he's a nerd!) For Japanese, we are using the Teach Me Japanese book and CD in the same manner.

9:30 AM Breakfast! Jett feeds himself, of course. Oliver is in the high chair feeding himself. I'm eating and feeding Oliver his supplements too (or Daddy is, depending). Jett goes through his My Second Dictionary and picks out his word of the day. (He chooses a word that he hasn't seen before.) We take turns making sentences with the new word.

by 10:30 AM breakfast is finished. When Jett's done, he tells me and we wash off and Jett, Oliver and I go outside or I turn on a "movement show" like Bo on the Go!, Barney Dance, the Wiggles (only ones with Closed Captions for Jett), Rock N Learn's Dance with Animals, Get Fit America for Kids, Little Yogis or Yoga Kids. Once Oliver is done, he joins Jett on blankets on the floor. Daddy or I clean up the kitchen. Daddy escapes downstairs to do his freelance work.
If Jett has homework, this is when we do it. If I'm running behind, I might feed Jett his supplements while he's dancing.

11:00 AM Brush teeth, potty and put on school clothes. I give Jett a lot of time here to do it himself as much as possible. At this point, he does it all except for shoes and jacket.

11:30 AM Jett, Oliver and I are out the door to drop him off school. (This is when I would schedule any appointments for myself or go grocery shopping and be back in time to pick Jett up from his 3-hour school day. On Thursdays, I take Oliver for the next 5 hours to his various therapies. On Jett's days off school, I take Jett to his therapies for the next five hours.) If the weather is bad, or someone (grandma, grandpa) is available to watch Oliver, he stays and plays with them.

12:00 PM Oliver and I are back. I put down Oliver for a nap.

12:30 PM I make lunch (for me and also for Jett when he gets home), eat lunch, clean up, get Jett's supplements ready for the next three days. This is also when I schedule Skypes with parents.

1:30 PM Oliver wakes up (Sometimes he only sleeps for ten minutes -- but I'm being optimistic by leaving an hour and a half here!)
Oliver gets fed then we do his MNRI and ND exercises. 

2:30 PM Oliver and I get Jett from school. (Or I leave him if some sweet relative is available!) Jett gets the second half of his thyroid at 2:45.

3:00 PM Jett takes off his shoes, goes potty, changes into his eating clothes. He has free time. Sometimes he's in the mood for another movement show.

3:15 PM (Half an hour after thyroid dose.) Jett gets his second set of supplements. He eats lunch. Oliver has floor time, either in kitchen with me while I make/start dinner or nearer to Jett. He helps me sweep up under the table. He has his own broom and dustpan and holds the dustpan for me then dumps it out.

4:00 PM Jett has free time. We go outside whenever possible. I do MNRI/ND exercises with him or with Oliver or both.

6:00 PM Finish dinner (Jett helps when possible, or more like when I'm in a particularly patient mood!), eat dinner, clean up after dinner. I pick out what frozen foods I need to thaw overnight for the next day. Afterwards, Jett helps clean up his toys and books.

7:15 PM This would be bath time. Right now, Oliver, Jett and I take a bath together (I'm in a swimsuit) because Oliver can't sit up yet and Jett is just now going through separation anxiety and won't bathe on his own. Or Daddy and Jett will shower together. Or I will get to shower alone. If Jett takes a bath alone, I play an audio book like Tales of Peter Rabbit or, his favorite, Poems every Child Should Know. Then we move downstairs. This is when Jett helps me with the laundry. He loves to sort and put his clothes away, including folding.

8:00 PM Oliver has floor time and Jett has free time or watches an educational show (like The Cat in the Hat knows a Lot about That, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Sid the Science Kid, Peg + Cat, Little Einsteins, Dora or Diego etc.) TV time this late is not ideal, but... Sometimes Jett and I play a game. I go on the internet.

8:30 PM I do the more calming MNRI/ND stuff with either child. Sometimes Daddy does one while I do the other.

9:00 PM Jett's on the potty. I give him his night time supplements. We take turns brushing his teeth. I switch over the laundry from washer to dryer to laundry basket, etc. I put essential oils on both boys.

9:30 PM Everyone's in the bed. Daddy verbally tells one story (to increase auditory processing) with lights out.
...(This is when I try to sneak out of bed and go online.)

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Anonymous said...

Thank you! I found this very helpful.
Katie, mom to Isaac (22 months - T21)


Hi Andi, I have a beautiful boy named Samuel, who is now 11 months old. firstly would you know a mum in England who has the same pAssion as you? I couldn't find an ND here too. A bit frustrating but we manage to do some of your God-given wisdom and talent and followed your advice.

I would like to ask whether OPTiOn's are coming here in the UK? I have managed to buy some of the supplements in Amazon but im wondering about your Thyroid meds mentioned above. Is this a combo of supplements for the thyroid like nutri-med? Or is this mainly thyroxine? I wonder bec it is quite distributed althroughout the day like the ginko and other vitamins.

My son has got a hypothyroid at this age and has 27 TSH level 2 normal T3

Thanks for your help. You are such a big blessing to all of us.... xoxo

Andi Durkin said...

Thank you, Mae, there's a group called Optimum21 that is an unofficial counterpart to DS OPTIONs, run by a passionate mom in the UK. I have your email and will send you the information so you can get in contact with them. I'm looking forward to hearing about how well Samuel progresses. :)