Motherhood is all about balance. Leaning when to hold onto your principles and expectations and when to relax and show grace. When to keep order and when to let them be little and utterly destroy that order. When to get dressed and ready for the day and when to stay in pajamas and waste the day away in perfect leisure. I view summer time as the epitome of this balance, which is why I created a summer schedule for family. Through scheduling, I seek to find the balance between productivity and relaxation. Over dosing on either extreme causes chaos and frustration in my life and my family’s lives. Here’s 3 ways I plan to strike that balance this summer with a summer schedule.
Create a Standard Weekly Base Schedule
A weekly schedule helps provide structure to our weeks during the summer that we are sorely missing once our school year activities have come to a close. Yet this does not mean that we HAVE to stick to this schedule. The best thing about summer is the ability to change plans and alter schedules. However, without some consistency my kids and myself start to struggle with our attitudes, interactions with each other, and time feels wasted. Here is an idea of how I create my weekly base schedule. I try to find one outing/ even that I want my family to attend or do each day. This helps give us something to look forward to and gets us out into the world and usually involves fresh air.
Plan Special Events in Advance
So I’m sure by now you’ve noticed, but I’m a planner by nature. It’s definitely one of my strengths. But even if it’s not one of your strengths, if you put a little planning into your summer, you will have an action plan to achieve your summer goals. The last few summers have slipped by so fast. I remember looking back at our summer and wondering Where did it go? I thought we had so much more time!
One way I’m combating that this is making summer goals and scheduling them in advance. All of our special trips and special fun days are already planned for the summer. My husband has requested time off work, I have scheduled babysitters for our anniversary trip in July, and we have a dog sitter for our June family vacation to Lake Powell. I also have selected some of our favorite family activities and scheduled them in as well. For example, there is a small amusement park that my son LOVES. But it is a 2 hour drive away. I scheduled a day that we will go there; that way summer doesn’t wind down and I’m scrambling to figure out where to fit it in. Also, when he asks me when we get to go, I will have an answer for him.
Here are some of the special events and activities I try and schedule in advance:
Encourage Independent Play
The last summer schedule tip is that I’m going to focus on encouraging independent play time in my children. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not a cruise director. I am their Mother. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun together, play together, and do special things. However, I release myself from the expectation that I have to entertain them all day, every day this summer. Maybe this is the former teacher in me coming out, but I was shocked during my teaching career by how many students could not entertain themselves when there was unstructured time in the classroom. I want to build and foster my children’s attention spans and ingenuity in “boring” situations. Sometimes life is boring. But being able to function through boredom and find constructive activities to pursue is a skill. Not everyone or every child has the same attention span, but each person can learn to expand and grow their own attention span.
One of the best ways to encourage independent play is to let your kids play outside. We are just finishing re-landscaping our backyard. I am so thankful that I will have a safe place for my kids to experience some independent play. We also do a daily quite time in my house. My kids don’t nap anymore, but this is a time where they go to their rooms and play by themselves for a set amount of time. We all get a break from each other and are offered a time to rest which really helps everyone’s attitudes, especially me.
What does your Summer schedule look like? What are your goals for this Summer? What special activities do you and your children enjoy doing? I’m always looking for new ideas and experiences. Leave me a comment and let me know!