Structure and Routine
As parents, we know that structure and routine is key. But, why is it so tricky to implement with little ones at home? If you are feeling overwhelmed by the mess and chaos of the summer schedule and children at home from school – don’t fret! We have a few simple ideas for implementing structure without becoming a drill sergeant parent.
1. Day of the Week Activity! Weather permitting, set a weekly schedule that is achievable for your crew. Here is an example of the way I structure our weeks: Monday mornings, we make a trip to a local park before it gets too hot; Tuesday mornings, we take advantage of $1 family movies; Wednesday is story time at a local library or bookshop; on Thursdays, we head over to Romp n’ Roll for class; and Fridays, we reserve for pool days!
2. Maintain traditions from the school year that work – our oldest is 4, and he LOVES being a Helping Hand at preschool. For him, being a Helping Hand means being a line leader, helping pass out cups at snack time, holding the door for classmates, or being the weather person during circle time. We adopted the helping hand philosophy at home and give him and his brother helping hand jobs every day. It makes the most mundane and problematic of tasks like getting out the door more pleasant and exciting for everyone!
3. Quiet time – We hit an afternoon slump where the excitement from the morning tends to hit us hard. We have a standard quiet time where each one of my kids can take a nap, read, or play quietly. This allows me to rest, check off some tasks of my own, or engage in my own activity. I love grabbing comfortable blankets and books for each of us and we all read together. Set a set time and you will find that your kids will look forward to this time to recharge and relax as well.
4. Bedtime – it’s easy to be lax about bedtime in summer with daylight lasting so much longer. However, we know as parents that later bedtimes do not mean later wake-up times! As tempting as it may be – stick to that bedtime window to keep it consistent and ensure everyone is well-rested for more fun in the mornings.
Make your schedule and routine visual for the entire family! Use poster board or tag it on the fridge! Our family uses a chalk board wall on a door in our kitchen to outline tasks/trips for the day. We review what the plan is the night before and everyone is on board.
Structure and routine can bring elements of control and predictability to your otherwise chaotic days. As adults, we tend to do better with structure, and it allows consistency and balance. Our kids operate the same way!