Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Organizing Summer"

Okay we took the first week of summer vacation and we did nothing but chillax and now to keep me sane and my children happy we spent yesterday organizing our summer. I want to start off by asking a question:  How often during the summer do we become so overwhelmed with whinning fighting children..I know I have already in this 1st chillaxing week.  My next question is:  Why?   It sounds silly to organize summer.  Isn't this a time to be free of a schedule?  Why yes it is but do we(children included) not all function better having a schedule?  The answer is a resounding YES!!! So as silly as it sounds we "scheduled summer" and here is how we did it:

     First consider who you are writing the schedule for. If you have a child that needs some time to themselves each day plan it in or a child who loves to create schedule it. Go with the natural flow of your family life if not a schedule will never work.

     Second sit down with your children.  This step is crucial and it takes some time and a lot needs to be accomplished during this time.  If this idea makes your skin crawl do it individually in normal conversations over a week find out what your children want to do this summer and then bring them altogether, this way you come to the table with a really good idea about what each child wants to do and can remind maybe your quieter children the things they had talked about when your more opinionated ones are doing all the talking at the sit down meeting.   You will be surprised by their answers believe me.  Not once was mentioned tv or huge expensive trips it was the simple things like walks to the park, some time for school work each day, reading a book together.  Decide on a time that your day will start   Some of my children wake up at 6 all summer some of them take the oppurtunity to sleep in during the summer so we decided that we would compromise and all be up with our morning lists completed by 9 am(this includes being dressed and have eaten breakfast). 

     Third now that you have done the first 2 steps it is down to the nitty gritty making the schedule.   Take a piece of paper and write your starting time at the top and your ending time at the bottom and every hour in between. This does not need to be cute just jot it down..make it cute later if you need it too.  I do it by the hour because it gives us time to transistion to the next thing and cleanup if needed.  Take your list from the children and start programming them in to your timeline.  Find the natural flow for your family for example we have rest time after lunch and school time first thing.

     Fourth on the right side of the paper write down the things that don't happen everyday like gardening class, park days, library storytime, the day the farmers market is open.  On these days that are different just go to them at that time in your schedule and so who cares if you skip school time one day because you went to gardening class which leads me to the fifth thing:

    Fifth realize this is just a guidline for your day.  If they are having fun painting and time is up let them paint they are having fun or if you are playing a game and it is not going well stop playing and move onto something else or if it raining and you have take a walk outside maybe pop some popcorn and watch a movie.

The last thing I can say is enjoy your children and I have found the "scheduling summer" has made that a possibility!!!