It used to be that the idea of having both kids home all day made me nervous and filled with dread. It took so much energy to keep them calm and entertained as they had no self-discipline and no idea of how to play by themselves. I am so glad those days are (mostly) gone.
I was reminded of this time, when I heard more than one parent say how they were dreading having their kids home from school this summer. Each had their own reasons, usually which they did not expound upon. The sadness I felt was intense, but also mingled with guilt, as I had been there once too. Do not get me wrong, there are still some very hard days, but they are getting better.
As I looked towards summer, I was actually really excited about having both of the kids at home. It is amazing what a few years of time and maturity can do for personalities and relationships. Some the most important differences now are:
- the kids can play by themselves for periods of time
- they know our basic routine and what to expect
- events bringing their trauma to the forefront of their minds is not happening weekly or every other week
Add to that, there are more activities available for kids their age, or rather I have the energy to take both of them to things like the library or bowling.
Earlier this week, when I was looking forward to today, the first day George would be home for summer break, I knew that I did not want to jump headlong into our summer routine. I also knew that I did not want to take several days with no routine at all. This meant I needed to find a balance between the routine I wanted and the routine we had on a typical school day.
I spent a few days reworking ideas of what to do today, trying to plan for all the things that would go wrong. Okay, not the most optimistic of thinking, but I was trying to keep it real. One scenario that I did not foresee was that I would be woken up from a deep sleep 3 hours into my nightly slumber, then woken up again 2 hours later, and an hour later, only to then not go back to sleep. Instead of getting 7 or 8 hours of good rest, I got 3. As the day began, I started to feel grumpy. I had a talk with myself and said, “You can choose to stay in a bad mood and make excuses about being tired, or you can pretend you have energy and have a good day.” Well, we ended up having a great day, but boy-oh-boy am I tired!
The routine for today turned out to be a blend, introducing parts of the day I would like to have this summer, while keeping it lighter and fun.
- Wake up and start the day as usual (make beds, get dressed, have breakfast).
- While at breakfast, I explained what the morning would entail, giving them a feel for what was to come.
- We got stuck at the breakfast table talking about music. (Did you see the Facebook post this morning?) We had in impromptu lesson about beats and rests, crescendo and decrescendo. It was fun.
- After breakfast, we cleared up the dishes and brushed our teeth. We also did a walk through of the house picking up toys.
- Then we all sat on the couch and read for the next hour. The selection ranged from a portion of a chapter in The Story Of The World to a book of poems. We ended with a fun, but totally fluff book. The boys had never read a story where you were able to choose what happened next in the story. They thought it was silly and loved it.
- We did a quick run to the grocery store for 2 items. Yeah, bad planning on my part last shopping day.
- Back home, the boys picked up all their toys in the playroom and helped switch them out for new items.
- After switching out toys, I began lunch while the kids entertained themselves. It was blissfully quiet in the house, something I was not at all expecting today.
- Lunch time.
- Quiet time for 30 minutes. The boys read in their QT spots, while I cleaned up from lunch and switched out laundry. Jack ended up falling asleep, which is a first for him. Usually if he has any toy/book he will not fall asleep. He must have been pretty tired after keeping me up all night last night.
- George came out after the 30 minutes and preceded to begin a craft. I sat down with him and helped him persevere through it. The fine motor skill needed taxed his focus. It was fun though, and his love of randomness came out. It took a great effort on my part not to create patterns with the colors.
- I woke Jack up after 30 more minutes. Once he came out, both he and George decided to use their earned screen time to play a game. (I had hoped to write this post during that time, but got caught up watching them.)
- Once their time was up, Jack wanted to put together a kit he had gotten some time back. I looked fun … then I opened saw all the little screws. All 37 of them. I think the box lied when it said “6+” After a while Jack got better, but it was still difficult. The instructions didn’t help either; they were more of complex diagrams than instructions.
- Jack’s kit took longer than we had thought, so we ran out of time to go outside. Instead, I put things up halfway through and went to make supper.
- Bath time while supper was being made.
- Ate supper together.
- Finish getting ready for bed.
- zzzzzzzzz … well, for the kids at least. I went outside and did a bit of gardening. :)
All that may look a bit complex, as it did not all turn out like I had planned. Nothing much does, but it is good to have a general flow to things. Things like the impromptu music lesson above are just a part of our day, and not scheduled in.
- Wake up. Make beds. Get dressed.
- Eat breakfast and Bible time.
- Clear table and brush teeth.
- More chores, if any.
- 1 hour of school, if it takes that long. This will include reading aloud daily (if possible), phonics/math online program, 2-sided workbook page daily (if possible).
- Free Time/Craft Time/Errands/Out-of-home activities/time for Mom to do larger jobs around the house
- 11:30 Lunch Time
- 30 minute Quiet Time, after Dad goes back to work.
- 1 hour Outside Time/Free Time
- 5:00/5:30 Supper
- 6:00 get ready for bed
- 6:30-7:30 bed times
I find that having a general flow to the day works better for our family at this time than a schedule based on time. The meal times are the main things in the day, now, that happen at about the same time every day. This is due to my husband’s schedule and kids’ bed times. Not having to meet certain time goals throughout the day means that I can take time to do the extra games and crafts and play and fold that extra load of laundry as needed. It also allows me to go to produce auctions on the days I desire to do so. :)
I am really hoping today was a glimpse of things to come, that the next few month will flow smoothly and be a time of enjoyment rather than stress.