We've tried approaching our day in both ways - flying by the seat of our pants and sticking to a strict schedule. And like most things, we've found that balance and landing somewhere in the middle works best for us. My children thrive on routine and ultimately I'm at my best when I'm in a good groove too. But we like a bit of spontaneous fun thrown in the mix as well.
As much as summer brings to mind grilled meals on the patio, endless fun playing in the water, and carefree days in the sun, it can also have me begging for my own padded room if I'm trying to entertain three young kids and avoid playing referee with them home all day. A loose summer routine that can flex with our calendar activities is key to us truly having fun, taking care of our home, and keeping us from wanting to kill each other.
So, here's what I came up with for our 2013 summer routine on days we're home. I tried to structure it in a way that we can easily work in things like play dates, classes/camps, and whatever else pops up on our calendar.
This may seem super detailed to some of you, but we don't stick to this to the minute. It just gives us a way to break up the day, get outside, avoid unnecessary screen time/boredom bugs, and make sure the house doesn't get out of control.
We got into the bad habit of letting the kids watch a show in our room as soon as they woke up so we could catch a few extra zzz's. I'm not knocking this - it was great for awhile, but then the kids started waking up earlier and earlier just to watch Special Agent Oso. A 5:30am wake up call to the tune of "Can we watch a show?" - no bueno.
Since returning from CA the kids have been waking up at 7am and we're going to try to keep it that way! Hopefully this routine will allow me to wake up before them, so I'm ready to snuggle them up with a few books when they get out of bed, instead of fumbling around for the remote control.
It is summer, so we try to make meal time a little more fun than it is during the school year. Eating breakfast outside in our pj's, letting the kids help cut the fruit, a picnic on the lawn in our bathing suits...it all makes the day a little more enjoyable. For them and for me.
We have not done the best job of having our kids share the load in taking care of our house. It puts all the work on us (which doesn't bode well for my patience meter) and it has fostered some pretty bad habits. Namely leaving a trail of dolls, trucks, puzzle pieces, and whatever else they happened to be playing with, wherever they go. Our kids are a little older now, and after reading Jen's post about her family's cleaning plan I'm even more motivated to get our whole clan involved in taking care of our home.
It's going to be a main focus of our summer and we're hoping to do that by really focusing on cleaning up throughout the day, especially before moving from one thing to the next. More specifically, we'll have the kids help with clean up after meals, working in a 30-min "Family chore time" each day (that will correspond with a clean up schedule I'll share next week), and in scheduling a 15-min clean up time at the end of each day. It's amazing how much you can do in 15 min when everyone works together. And who doesn't love the feeling of having the house picked up BEFORE the kids are in bed? Well, I image I would love that feeling but can't really tell you since I'm not very familiar with it. I can tell you what sucks though - closing the kids' bedroom doors for the night and turning around to greet a disaster of a house. Yup, the stuff of anxiety and depression right there.
We also want to continue with the progress that the kids made in school last year by carving out some time for handwriting, numbers, etc. I have a mini learning center in the works and am excited to share that with you soon!
I shared our summer wish-list last week and we decided that Wednesday's will be the day for some of those special summer adventures. Having fun together and taking better care of our home and relationships are the goals for our summer. And we tried to create a summer schedule that would help us do just that!
How's your summer shaping up? Do you have a summer schedule? What things do you work in? Whatever your summer looks like, I hope you're enjoying every minute!