I have been trying to figure out my blogging schedule so that it did not interfere with my off-line life. I am not sure how to best fit in with everything else that’s going on here on a daily basis. I miss regular blogging, but at the same time resent the fact that my time writing posts and working on the blog is the time not spent with my family. I am letting things decide themselves naturally, and intend to post whenever I have a chance.
We are almost half way through with the summer. June was very eventful for us. The first couple of weeks were hectic with lots of appointments that I had put off till the school is out– will not repeat that mistake again. After things settled down and we officially began “relaxing” and taking it easy, it became obvious that unstructured “chilling” is not going to work.
I realized (or confirmed) that my kids do not do well without a certain type of structure, and become bored, overwhelmed with all the free time, and eventually express it through whining, bickering and drama queen shows.
To save the summer and my sanity (with four children, including a fire-cracker under 2, and no extended family in town, I need all the tricks I can come up with) I put together a daily schedule that I hung in our family command center next to the calendar.
I did not bother to make it pretty (I may get to it, but it has been doing its job as is), or permanent. It still did magic to the order of things here: a lot less boredom- induced stress, a lot more productive and fun activities.
Here are some things that I considered while putting the schedule together:
1. Weather: here in Texas you do not want to be outdoors in the middle of the day, so most outdoor activities were scheduled for morning hours.
2. Baby’s nap time: she is not the type of a child that can peacefully tag along and fall asleep anywhere any time. And if she misses her nap, the whole family will hear it later in the day.
3. Chores and studying: with the general expectation of summer being a season for “all fun and games” I wanted for the kids to remember that daily chores are not going to do themselves. Same goes for keeping up with basic academic skills: I do not see a need for their brains to rest all summer. I believe intellectual activities are good for you all year long.
I can’t stress enough how much following this schedule has helped us stay in control of our time, letting us enjoy this summer so much more. It also proved to be a great way to minimize the time spent playing video games and watching TV.
I should note that the schedule is not set in stone, and allows for flexibility if there is a change of plans.
Here is our summer schedule in a nutshell:
|8.00–8.30||Breakfast, clean up|
|9.00–10.00||Chores (me: gym)|
|10.00–12.00||Fun activities (out)|
|1.00–3.00||Nap (baby); Educational activities, reading, exercise (kids)|
|3.30-6.00||Play(friends, electronics, TV, etc.)|
I don’t time the activities with a stop watch. As I said, it is a flexible schedule, a guideline for the day. I will write a further breakdown of this time management system in other posts (how we handle chores, educational activities, outings, meals).
“Summer” and “time management” are not mutually exclusive. Quite the opposite: this time management system let us get the best out of this summer break! I am sure I will rely on it to enjoy our next summer, modifying it reflect our needs.
What tricks do you use to keep your family happy (and your sanity intact) during summer break?
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