It’s really hard for me to believe that summer is almost over. The past few months have flown by for me. Our family has been pretty busy, with great life events like our little boy’s first birthday, my sister’s wedding, and great vacations with friends and family.
We’ve been enjoying all of the wonderful things of summer – swimming in lakes, and playing in water in the back yard, parades, walking to the zoo and the park and the farmer’s market, enjoying fresh and local produce from the farmer’s market and u-pick farms, sidewalk chalk and bubbles, picnics and eating meals outside, ice cream and homemade milkshakes, hanging laundry on the line, and growing food in our garden. It’s been a fun and full summer, with lots and lots of memories made.
But, in the midst of all of the fun and business, we’ve gotten a little bit off schedule – late nights where the kids get to bed much later than they should, lazy mornings where we still have our pjs on at lunchtime, lots of time spent outside means some things don’t get taken care of inside the house, and just a general lack of routine to our days.
Now, I’m definitely okay with not following a routine in certain seasons of life, and this has been one of those seasons for us. It’s nice to take a break and even relax a little from the normal routine and rhythm of day-to-day life. Lately though I have been feeling the lack of routine in our days – when the kids are getting cranky and whiny, when I’m feeling overwhelmed with all that needs to get done, when the kids are having trouble settling down and going to sleep at night, when I lose my patience and get frustrated with my kids too easily. I’m definitely ready to get back into a day-to-day routine, I’m ready to have a regular rhythm to our days again.
Back in the spring I shared our daily routine. And while it was great and worked for us really well at that point in time, I realize that it is in need of some tweaking before we can jump back into it again. For one, my son has dropped his morning nap and just takes an afternoon nap now. And nap time has moved up a little bit in the day, pushing lunch a little earlier and making less time for getting stuff done in the mornings. Also, my kids are playing pretty well together now, sometimes for a good chunk of time without needing too much intervention from me (on good days!) and I want to keep fostering and encouraging that independent play time for them.
Today was one of those days that just happened to go pretty smoothly without any real planning by me, so as I wrote about in my post at Keeper of the Home on creating routines, I took a few notes of why things went well, and I think I’ve figured out a general routine that I’d like to start implementing and see how it works for us right now.
Here’s the general routine:
-Breakfast – Bible story while kids are eating
-Clean-Up Time – kids “help”, or just play with cleaning items (they are for some reason obsessed with brooms right now!) 🙂
-Quick Kitchen Time/Independent Playtime – time for me to get some prep work done in the kitchen, starting dinner prep, cooking/baking from scratch, etc.
-Playtime – this is time that I am more involved with playing with the kids. Right now we are usually outside, as it starts to cool off I’ll probably try to do some kind of learning activity/game during this time.
-Lunch – we will eat outside as often as we can- it’s great because the clean-up is so much easier!
-Clean-Up, Pick-Up time – clean up after lunch and clean up toys and main area of house before naps
-Reading Time – reading books on the couch together
-Kitchen Time/Independent Play – again time for kitchen prep, working on dinner, etc.
-Play Time – not totally sure what this will look like, because in reality I’ll probably still have to be working on dinner.
-Kids to bed!
As you probably noticed, I’m trying to follow a pattern throughout the day of eating, cleaning up, and playing. My kids are at the stage where it’s pretty hard to get things done, because while I am cleaning, or picking up, or working in the kitchen, they are undoing everything else around the house, and it’s really easy for the house to get really out of control, and for me to go through a whole day and not feel like I accomplished a whole lot.
So, I’m going to try to incorporate them more into the cleaning time, so they start to understand their responsibility for cleaning up after themselves, and so I will hopefully be able to spend focused time on cleaning up and then be done with it and move on to something else, like working in the kitchen, or playing or reading with my kids. Some days I feel like I am just cleaning up all day long, and I get to the end of the day and the house is still a wreck. How does that happen?! Anyway, I don’t want to spend my whole day cleaning up after my kids and miss spending time with them.
Also, you’ll notice I didn’t include morning and evening routines for myself – I’m still working on figuring those out. For a while, I was doing really well with getting up before my kids and getting a head start to the day, and then two things happened 1. my kids started waking up earlier and it was harder to get up before them with enough time to actually get anything done, and 2. I got into a bad-habit of going to bed much too late and just not being able to wake up in the mornings. So, those are parts of my routine that I am personally working on. For now though, I really think it’s really important for me to have a consistent routine in place for the kids.
We’ll see how things go over the next few weeks. Of course I will be trying to give myself a lot of grace as we tweak this and figure out how it works best for us. And while it’s definitely still hot out and still feels like summer, we are really in need of settling down and getting back into the swing of a routine again at our house!
What about you? Do you throw your routine out the window in the summer? How do you plan to get back into the swing of things as summer comes to an end?
Hope this is going well. I work better with a routine and schedule too. I love the predictability of the kids now that they are getting a little older and that we can plan and do more kinds of activities.