Today I’m going to share with you how we have organized our summer days at home.
Before we begin, know that a plan is mom’s best friend! If you had to pick only ONE thing to improve how things in your house roll, make it this.
HAVE. A. PLAN!
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A plan can be anything, a routine, a schedule, a rhythm, some sort of structure everything falls into and everyone can look up to, you get the point.
Believe me and I say this with my personal experience, my house is a disaster and my nerves come to a point where it seems they’ll pop out of my temples when we try to fly by the seat of our pants.
What starts off as a liberating feeling (not being tied to a haaave-to-do list of chores) does feel deceptively good.
But only for so long – I can almost instantly see what mindless creatures my kids soon transform into.
Side Note: If you struggle with routines and rhythms and don’t know where to begin, here’s the one I keep going back to.
I read it with teary eyes on my phone every time things get out of hand.
It motivates me and helps me see what mistakes I made so I can fine-tune my days for a saner and happier time ahead.
One time I was crying and really upset about a similar issue, so I wrote to one of the two authors for her advice and she said to me,
‘…your goal is having a more harmonious home, not being perfect. You are an awesome mother, or you wouldn’t even care a bit.’
Coming back to the importance of routines, and this too is a deceptively simple thing but a very important one, that when you decide to do things on the spur of the moment each day, they are active tasks.
For active tasks, you need extra brain bandwidth, extra thrust or launch power even to get started.
Over time, this gets tiring.
Why? Because that way, your brain stays alert and vigilant all the time.
On the contrary, isn’t it easy, fun and so automatic to do things out of habit. Almost no active brainpower or that ever-dwindling motivation required.
You just work on auto!
Plus, when everyone knows what to expect from a day, power struggles reduce.
Especially if you made the effort to make a schedule for the family that caters to what everyone sees important, then everyone is more cooperative because they know what they want has its place and time in the day.
Creating a schedule this summer was super important for us all because my son joins the school after summer. I wanted him to know there’s going to be daily learning.
Then there are routine tasks like daily chores he needs to do or I want to help him learn.
Plus some other important things we wanted to integrate in our days this summer, like
- a theme of the day thing
- some structured play
- outdoor activity time
- ANDD I have been wanting to get rid of his use of screens!
Or reduce it to being our back up for when I seriously need to engage him and there’s no other choice.
So I came up with this plan.
We do and will change it whenever there are guests, illness, errands, longer trips outside or the need be. But otherwise, we want to stick to this.
This doesn’t limit our freedom in any way, in fact, its the opposite. When we have a plan to look up to, there are fewer cries, boredoms, poor sleep and power struggles to deal with.
On the other hand, a crazy day almost always carries its effects onto the next day and it takes greater effort to break out of its effects that it would have to follow a plan in the first place.
Here is our summer schedule you can use as a sample and a good place to start. Then you can tweak as you see what suits your family’s everyday needs.
7:00 a.m. – Wake up and get dressed. My son wakes up early and makes sure others are up too (i.e. his baby sister, or his dad if it’s the weekend. Whereas if the season of my life permits, I prefer my own super morning routine). Where we live, it is extremely hot so we have to bathe twice a day so he stays cool longer and enjoys himself.
8:00 a.m. – Independent play, while we make breakfast arrangements. This independent playtime will work well if the materials, be it toys or books or whatever your child likes spending his free time doing is reserved for this hour only. This way, he will interrupt me lesser when most of his attention is towards that thing because he hasn’t gotten bored of it (yet).
9:00 a.m. – Breakfast
10:00 a.m. – chores which include putting away toys, picking up around the house, cleaning the carpet, etc
11:00 a.m. – his fun learning time using these worksheets I made for him*
12:00 p.m. – snack which is usually fruit
1:00 p.m. – theme of the day activity**
2:00 p.m. – lunch
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. – nap, quiet time independent play. I aim for a nap and 5 years later my son will still sleep unless the baby is up. Give them one small reason thinking oh this is nothing, like a little light in the room for example, and that little spec of reason will be enough to keep them up. So if you still want to try giving naps to your little ones, make it 100 percent nap supportive, if not then at least there’s still a thing as quiet or independent time. I’ve written activities you can use as ideas.
5:00 p.m. – snack fruit
6:00 p.m. – and then by 6 I want us to do something outside as a family or just anything from this bucket list.
7:00 p.m. – Dinner
8:00 p.m. – Night routine (brush teeth, bath or wash hands, face and feet, put away toys, storybook time, Huggies, kissies
9:00 p.m. – Some conversation in bed as we turn out the lights!
Update: Recently, my kids have mutinied against our time table!
For some reason, the baby and her big brother are both waking up past 8.30 a.m. and even when they get into bed by 9 p.m., they won’t fall asleep until it’s past 10 p.m.
So here are two things I’m doing now:
- Remove these old times from the schedule but keep the order of routine tasks the same. For example, my son would do the following: wakeup and get dressed (by 7:00 a.m.) > independent play (by 8:00 a.m.) > breakfast (by 9:00 a.m.) > chores (by 10:00 a.m.)… Even when things have changed, the order of tasks remains the same. So now their schedule looks like this: wake up and get dressed (by 8:30 a.m.) > independent play (by 9:30 a.m.) > breakfast (by 10:30 a.m.) > chores (by 11:00 a.m.) and so on…
- Keep the duration between tasks the same. Which means, even with new schedules, nap or sleep times, or independent times, or anything else from the schedule doesn’t shrink or expand. Just the time time changes.
*About The Fun Learning Hour (around 11 a.m.)
I made alphabet recognition and tracing worksheets for my son and after an initial couple of settings with him, now when its time, his sheets for the day are already lying on the table and I just tell him it is time for him to do his sheets.
Most days, he looks forward to doing the activity sheets. And keeps calling me from the table asking, when I can’t even see which alphabet his is pointing towards, but his tone of voice tells me the answer, so I play along anyway as it goes,
This is A?
You can buy this tracing book as part of our summer bundle for kids for 70% off. I have linked to it below.
**About Our Theme Of The Day Hour
We divided the days of the week into different themes, and all of them are indoor activities. This one requires a bit of prep work.
Here is how we divide each day between themed activities:
- Make It Monday: Arts, crafts or recipes
- Thinking Tuesday: Science experiments in the kitchen, I’ll look something up on Pinterest the day before that is quick or easy.
- Water Wednesday: Anything with water.
- Try Something New Thursday: They can pick anything from the bucket list they haven’t done before.
- Fun With Family Family: My son always likes to narrow this down to building a fort and watching a cartoon movie on the projector with everyone. Who want 100 Ideas to do when they’ve found their perfect ONE!
You can find the theme sheet in the image below in our summer planner for kids which is part of the bundle I linked above.
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