If you listen carefully, you will hear the “cheers” of teachers cups, celebrating another successful school year…and now the wheels start spinning in parents heads, questioning, “what now?” I am SO excited to have our guest writer JK back to help us take back the summer.
So I’m about 4 hours into Summer Break and already my three kids have resorted to taking all of the cushions off the furniture and chasing each other around the living room, shouting and squealing. I can feel the tension rising… “Hey, no running in the house!…. Someone is going to get hurt!…” Nobody even looks in my direction. Ugh. I was really looking forward to spending time with my children, but this is not what I envisioned! Only 4 hours in and already I am pondering how I am going to make it 3 long months with these crazy kids! I needed to come up with something quick! As I was researching ideas, I came across this quote on Livestrong.com
“When little ones know what activities are included in each day, what comes next and which activity will occupy specific times of the day, they receive security that comes from this stability. This security can translate directly into positive feelings in a child of being valued and cared for. Where chaos can be unsettling, consistency can enable children to thrive.”
That’s it. Eliminate the chaos! Create a structured environment where they can thrive. If your children are anything like mine, they crave routine. If they have a set schedule and know what to expect, they are less likely to throw fits or misbehave. We hung our schedule on the fridge each week and every morning at breakfast, my children loved going over the plans for the day and talking about each item. It saved my life last Summer and can save yours too!
I used Excel to create ours, but any computer program you are comfortable with, or even just a sheet of paper and a pen can work.
Here is an example of ours last year:
So, I understand this is pretty specific, and there were definitely times when we strayed from the schedule, (especially because of the weather), but the nice thing about this…. Your children know what to expect. They start to get excited about certain items on the list; and quite possibly the best part: they follow the routine. I was no longer telling them what to do every minute. And I was no longer hearing “Mom, I’m bored, what can I do right now?” or “Mom, can I have a snack?” (If you stay at home all day with your children, you will especially appreciate that!) It really helps prepare children so they know what to expect i.e., “Every day there will be a quiet time so that little brother can nap.” And when kids know what’s coming, they are less likely to fight it. This is even true for my youngest, a toddler!
To make this schedule successful and last all Summer, it is important to still offer choices. When it was time for a walk, we all decided on the route together, and my son had the choice of riding his scooter or his bike. For quiet time, my son and daughter could pick to read, play a game or have a little screen time. Another bonus of having a Summer Schedule? It limits screen time! There are designated times in the schedule, which means the kids are not constantly asking for TV or tablets. There is room for both learning and fun. And speaking of fun, my kids’ favorite part of the schedule was coming up with our Bucket List! Every Friday we picked something new off the list. So many fun memories!
Are you in need of a Summer Schedule? Get the family together, discuss what your typical day looks like, plan out a schedule, and then make a list of all the fun Summer things you want to do for your Bucket List! Here are some from our list:
Walk to the park and get ice cream cones
Fishing with Grandpa
Restaurant with friends
Long bike ride with the whole family
Pick a new park to explore
Water balloon fight
Pool with cousins
For more fun things to do this Summer, check out Lake Country Family Fun!!
Whether a schedule works for your family or not, hope you have an awesome summer filled with lots of sunshine and fun!
Until next time – JK