June 21, 2012
By: By: Jennifer Hill, MK Publisher for Fremont, CA
Summer is just about here and I, for one, look forward to a less rigid schedule each day! All school year we have to be up and ready by a certain (early) time each day and, around here, summer means waking up a little later! But we still have gymnastics, swim lessons, music class, etc., on our calendar each week! In addition, we make lots of plans for outings with our friends and cousins.
Over the years I have found that if I put together a calendar of our “known plans” – including “relax at home days” – the kids seem to do much better. All school year, they follow a daily routine/schedule at school only to come home and follow a typical schedule as well. So it makes sense that even while it’s summer, they would like to have an idea of what their day/week/month will look like. In addition, it helps me not to over-schedule or miss out on any fun things we want to do. We always have our "usuals," but also ask the kids for some ideas of what they want to do this summer. I keep notes and then get together with some friends over dinner for a mom's night out and pull out our last year's calendar and start filling in the blanks on this year's! Before we meet, we all jot down appointments, trips, etc., that we already have planned so we can schedule things and know they won't interfere with other plans. I also include how much something costs, if there is a fee, which helps me to budget my week. There are several free sites you can use to create and print a very simple calendar, if you’d like. I make a copy for the fridge, one for each kid and one for hubby! Definitely keeps us all on the same page.
In addition, on the days we’ll be at home, I use a dry erase marker and make a very simple “guideline” for the day on the front of my fridge. (Check to make sure it will wipe off your surface using the inside edge of the door, before marking up the front, please! You could also print on paper, use a small dry erase board, etc.) It’s usually very simple: breakfast, chores, painting outside, lunch, water play, naps/quiet time, snack, reading, craft, outside play, dinner, baths/teeth, reading, bed. I warn you not to include times! LOL Seriously! Your kids will try to hold you to them and you might be stuck! I go for an “order” so it’s in writing and I can say, “Well, our list says it’s time to do chores now,” and get results! If you allow TV/video games/computer time, I suggest adding it to the list as well. Then they won't keep asking if they can watch TV yet. For very young kids, you can draw pictures, take pictures, etc., and use them as a chart. This also works great if you have a day you will be fitting in errands – kids know it’s on the list and when to expect it. Kids really do like to know what’s going on and what’s coming next!
As a mom to four kids, a schedule/calendar is the only way we make it through the days! It would be total insanity around here without one. Before you start planning your summer, pull up the Macaroni Kid Calendar and find some great things to do! (Many of them are FREE!)
What are some of your favorite places or things to do with the kids over the summer? Please share them with us in the comments below! We love hearing from our Macaroni Family! Happy Summer!!!