Tuesday, June 19, 2007

WFMW - Summer Schedule

Wow, I can not believe it's been almost a week since I've posted! It always takes me a while to get back on track after a schedule change. And of course, school's out for the summer, which is a major schedule change.

The first week school was out, I had a project to do for my dad, so I packed the girls up and went to his house every morning, then we came home and bounced off the walls every afternoon.

Once that project was complete, we got busy catching up on doctor and other appointments. We've been to the pediatrician twice, two ophthalmologist appointments and the gastro doctor, along with at least 3 other miscellaneous appointments.

So, that's why I haven't posted much. But I'm getting into the swing of things. Now, let's get to what Works For Me.

I had forgotten how aimless my girls can be when school is out. They seem almost desperate to "have a good time" every minute of every day. And they're often disappointed. Because life isn't always a good time. Sometimes it's just life. After the first week of "freedom," I remembered how we got through last summer: The Schedule.

Our schedule isn't any rigid, minute-by-minute boot camp thing. It's more of a nice soft set of boundaries that bounce the girls along through their day. What I've done is set up a basic hourly schedule, something like this:

9:00 - Breakfast and Morning Chores
10:00 - Inside Play Time
11:00 - Outside Play Time
12:00 - Lunch
1:00 - Rest Time
3:00 - Chores
4:00 - Learning Time
5:00 - Baths, help with dinner

These one-hour blocks get switched around, depending on how much time we're actually at home and whether I'm babysitting. And any time someone doesn't want to do what's on the schedule, they can read on their beds instead. You get the general idea.

Morning Chores consist of everyday things like watering the dogs, taking out the trash and unloading the dishwasher. Afternoon Chores are whatever housekeeping things we're working on that day, and can include laundry, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bedrooms or whatever.

Inside Play Time is limited to one or two activities per one-hour block. Otherwise, the girls are restless and don't seem satisfied with anything. They get to choose the activity, but once they do, they stick with it.

Rest Time may be a nap if someone's had a rough morning, but usually just means everyone's in my bed watching a movie.

Learning Time can be computer games, Leap Frog, workbooks, coloring, or watching an educational show on TV. I tape lots of Animal Planet and other educational shows on the DVR, so we have a good selection.

We also throw in a fun craft about once a week, and try to go to the park or library once a week, too.

This works so well for my girls. We fine tune the schedule together every morning, and they seem so much more settled when they know what to expect. It sure beats having them wandering around the house wondering what to do.

So. Summer schedule - Works For Me! Now go on over to Shannon's and find some great ideas to make your life easier.

UPDATE: The key here is flexibility! For example, we stayed up late last night, so everyone slept in this morning. Praise the Lord! We also have a lot of laundry to do. So, today our schedule will look something like this:

10:30 Breakfast and Morning Chores/Laundry
11:30 Inside Play/Laundry
1:00 Ready for Lunch?
2:00 Rest Time while folding clothes
4:00 Learning Time/Laundry
5:00 Baths, etc.

Really, really works for us!


Don't mess with a good thing! My girls have been playing nicely in their room for well over an hour. I'm obviously not going to put an end to this wonderfulness because the schedule dictates it. When things start going downhill, we will return to our regularly scheduled activities. In the meantime, I'm just enjoying it!


Chelsea said...

Schedules save my life! Its a great idea to have the day set in hour long blocks.
BTW-I love the title of your blog!

Cara said...

Oh, I have found that schedules are really great also! Great idea for during the summer too! :)

Jennifer said...

Glad you're getting settled into your new schedule. Sounds like a good schedule you have going on with the girls - some great ideas there!

sara - The Estrogen Files said...

Kids do SO well with set routines. I dislike summer because of the kids swarming all the time over me and have a loose schedule of my own.

Sincerely Anna said...

I'm in love with a schedule, too. Really, I'd go a little crazy without one. We use a wipe-off board to write the schedule at breakfast (not with times so I can stay flexible if needed). This helps my son tremendously to know what is coming next.

I like the "watering dogs"...ha ha!

Kristen said...

You're so adorable! I'm glad it's working for you. Summer is a challenge with kids somethings. But, it is true, kids do better, and usually enjoy being on a schedule.

dcrmom said...

Nice idea. But I'm way too laid back for that, lol. I did send both big kids to their rooms for an hour today. I will be doing that regularly, I assure you!!