Summer is the time to relax and have fun. And while I am a firm believer in that, I also want to have a little bit of structure. Noah thrives on a routine. Even before starting school, I would fill our days with a mixture of fun activities in and out of the house. This past year, we had quite the system. We would have an activity planned each day... school twice a week, swim, soccer, play dates, errands, etc. Having something planned for each day made our time at home feel special and made it so that Noah rarely got bored. Last week was our first full week at home. He finished school two weeks ago but went straight into a VBS at his preschool. While we had a few things planned this past week, we had 3 full days where we just stayed at home with nothing to do. And while Noah is a homebody at heart, I find that he does better when we stay busy, even if that's just doing a craft or baking something. When perusing Pinterest, I found that a lot of people like doing a theme a day. For example, "Make Something Monday", "Time to Read Tuesday", "What's Cooking Wednesday", "Be Thoughtful Thursday", and "Somewhere Fun Friday". And while all that sounds super fun and great in theory, I know that chances are we would get thrown off the schedule real fast. Noah would want to make something on a Thursday instead of a Monday or we would get invited to go to the zoo or beach on a Wednesday instead of Friday. So instead of assigning certain activities for certain days, I decided to create a daily schedule of sorts... one that would allow for a lot of flexibility and freedom.
Mornings spent out of the house...
Mornings are when Noah is in the best mood. I think this is pretty common for young kids. Because of this, I like to plan activities out of the house before lunch. Whether it's a play date with friends, going to the pool, or running errands, I like knowing we will get out of the house at least once a day.
Afternoons at home...
Afternoons are when I find the hours start to drag on. We usually finish lunch by 12:30 and then there's a good 6+ hours until Chris gets home. And now that Noah is no longer napping on a regular basis, that's a lot of time to fill! When I don't have a plan, I am easily tempted to just let Noah watch more TV or iPad than he should. So I have come up with a very loose schedule to keep him busy while also giving me some downtime. Ideally, this is what our afternoons would look like...
1-2 Playtime. Whether it's Legos, puzzles, board games, or some imaginative play with his Octonauts, this is the time for him to just play with whatever he wants. I want Noah to have a fun and relaxed summer, so I'm not micromanaging this hour, just telling him to go play!
2-3:30 Quiet time. If we are out in the car around this time, Noah almost always falls asleep. But when we are home, he rarely takes a nap. Regardless, I still think he should have some quiet time. I will also admit that I need some time to myself to go on the computer and just be alone. This is when I let Noah watch his iPad, watch a few TV shows, or put a movie in. If he's watching a show or movie I will usually sit with him while working on my laptop.
3:30-4:30 Create something. I find this time of day is the perfect time to be hands on and create something. Some days I will plan a craft for him to do, but many days he likes to just draw, color, paint, or do play doh. I would also like to bake with him once a week during this time. He loves doing it and we get a delicious treat out of it too!
4:30 -5:30 Play on the deck. Once it starts to cool off a bit, I'd like to get Noah back outside to play. He gets to play in the sand and water table while I get to sit and relax for a bit. Originally I thought I would be able to leave Noah out on the deck while I ran in and out getting dinner ready. But then this past weekend I spotted a bear in my backyard and it has me totally freaking out! I'm actually a little concerned I won't be able to get Noah to play out in our yard at all for a little while, and I honestly can't blame him... I'm a little on edge too!
5:30-6:45 Dinner. Feed Noah and prep dinner for Chris and me. This is also when I plan to do a quick clean up of the downstairs.
6:45-7:30 Chris is home! Eat a quick dinner and spend some more time outside. I'd love to start eating our dinner out on the deck and then maybe going for a family walk around the neighborhood while Noah rides his bike.
7:30 Get ready for bed. When Noah doesn't nap, he needs to be in bed by 8pm. This gives us time to do a bath and read some stories. If he did end up napping, then I'm all for the boys playing a little longer together.
While I think this "schedule" will help our days run more smoothly, I am fully aware and expecting that this schedule to be thrown out the window at times. I will never turn down an invitation to go on a day trip or spend the afternoon at the pool with friends. I also love that Chris plans to take a few random days off of work so that we can go do fun family things when it's not as crowded as on the weekends. Just yesterday, Noah and I went to the beach for the day with friends and loved every minute of it. I really believe that these are the summer days we will always remember!
I'd love to know how you do summer! Do you try to maintain a routine or just let your kids dictate their own time? What are your tips for having a fun summer while still keeping the house (and your sanity) in tact!?!