(As summer draws closer and as I prepare for my trip, I thought this week would be a good time to revisit my “Summer of Purpose” series. I hope you enjoy it!)
Ahâ€¦lazy, summer days. Popsicles and plastic swimming pools. Friends and family. Bbq’s and summer camps.
Who doesn’t look forward to and dream of the first day of summer vacation?
Mothers of small children. That’s who.
Of course, that’s not a blanket statement. There are plenty of you wonderful, saintly moms who have infinite patience and revel in the thought of unscheduled, unplanned, unending days alone with their children.
I am not one of those. I thrive on schedules. I love to be creative and spontaneous when I have a foundation of a routine. Summer always throws me for a loop. Suddenly, my routine is gone. The kids’ routine is gone. And we all have different expectations for our days.
Make a Plan
I love routine. Within the confines of a routine I find the freedom to create.
And just as we create spaces in our house for different activities (dining room for family meals, kitchen table for art projects, living room for reading and games, backyard for running and playing) we need to create spaces in time for those very same things. It is important that during the summer we have a flexible routine for our days (particularly for those of us with small children).
As you plan your schedule, consider your own personal energy levels at different times of the day. For example, I tend to be a morning person and have the most energy early in the day. So, instead of watching morning cartoons as soon as breakfast is over, I’ll take my kids out to do fun stuff in the morning.
Here’s my flexible summer schedule:
7:30 am – Outing
After breakfast, go for a walk and then go out to the park, zoo, pool etc.
12:30 pm- Lunch
Pack a lunch or come home and eat. (Have lots of to-go food ready for spontaneous picnic trips to avoid fast food.)
1:30 pm – Quiet Time
This is the time when my youngest child can nap and my older two can read, rest or work on their goals. This is my time to rest and write.
3:00 pm – Afternoon free play.
When Quiet time is over the kids can play outside or do whatever they like. I might also have some possible craft ideas ready for them or they can help me make dinner. This is also the time when they can choose to watch a show or they can wait and ask for a movie night.
I usually hit a slump at about 2pm, which, handily falls right in the middle of Quiet Time.
The afternoon is pretty downhill. The kids can play together outside, watch shows or help me prepare dinner.
Sometimes The Simplest Actions Can Make The Biggest Difference
Wow, Kat. That’s pretty simplistic. You’re actually writing a post about this?
Yes, my schedule might seem pretty natural and normal to many of you, but it was actually a bit profound for me. Normally, we are slow to get going in the morning. We slowly eat breakfast, then we stay in our pj’s and watch cartoons. We get a late start for our outing, eat a late lunch, take a late nap (or miss it all together) and then by the time 3pm rolls around, I’m tired, the kids are bored and we’ve used up all our TV time.
By simply being a little more proactive in the morning, we can have a much more fun and relaxing time.
This Isn’t The 10 Commandments
Of course, none of this is written in stone, it’s simply a guideline to help our days flow smoothly. Occasionally, we’ll throw the whole schedule out the window and spend the entire day at the pool or the park. Maybe we’ll stay in our pj’s and watch movies and read books all day. Maybe we’ll have a playdate, go to the zoo, museum, pool, park or take a day trip to Austin or Dallas.
That’s the beauty of summer. It’s spontaneous and free. But having a routine to fall back on can keep us healthy, happy and sane.
What is your favorite summertime activity to do with your kids?Leave a Comment