Our sanity-saving summer schedule {complete with lots of wiggle room & how we deal with media time}

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hooray for summer {Picture me singing at the top of my lungs, just like Olaf.... "Suuummmmertime!"}

Yay! Finally! My favorite season!!! I've told you before how much I love summer, but I seriously, I really do. The weather, the freedom, the water-play, the camping, the outdoors-y fun, church beach nights, beach play-dates, VBS, long days, playing outside with the neighbors till dark, baseball games, picnic dinners, pool time, summer produce... I could go on and on and on.

But.

As much as I love summer from the depths of my heart, things can tend to get a bit monotonous with all the "free time" we have now. Our kids are young enough that we still intentionally quit all activities come summer, so the lack of things keeping us busy leaves our days a bit unstructured (which can be hard, especially for Gigi who thrives on a schedule and knowing "the plan").

summer sanity with a rhythm and media tickets

So this year, I developed my own summer schedule-- a framework that will give us a plan but also lots of room for spontaneity and changing things up, because you can guess that this ENFP isn't the best at sticking to a rigid schedule. I call it a rhythm because that makes it feel less constrictive.

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Basic features of our summer rhythm

  • our days are divided up into chunks, or blocks, rather than set times
  • time is allotted when our kids can expect opportunities to see friends and likewise, set quiet times (Gigi's used to this, but the time is now a bit longer for mom's summer sanity)
  • there's some built-in time for Gigi to keep up her learning skills so she doesn't forget everything over the summer-- I'll share more about this in another post. She also has set time when she can use her media tickets (see below)
  • meals are like anchors, that divide up the blocks of time
  • My disclaimer at the bottom: "Morning/evening fun is subject to behavior, weather, and mom's discretion. At-home or special outings may be substituted at any time!"

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Controlling the media monster this summer

There are a few set times during our summer week when we'll have the option of a movie (or family Wii time), or when Gigi can use a media ticket. This works well for us, because she has set expectations and isn't asking me every five minutes if she can watch a show.

Here's how the ticket system works. If Gigi has a good bedtime routine and night (meaning, she does what she's told at bedtime, and stays in her bed quietly, reading or whatever till she falls asleep, no complaining about music/lights/etc), she earns a media ticket the next morning.

Media tickets are good for 20 minutes of a show/movie, iPad time, or computer time (she likes using a website called StoryBird, or even Starfall). She's welcome to save them up and then use 3-4 of them at once to watch a full-length movie when there's time for that.

Note on tickets: Amazon has tons to choose from, and I have a huge roll leftover from a birthday party years ago, but these are super fun and would make great media tickets.

So that's our plan! It's meant to be super flexible, just a basic framework so that I'm not fielding questions constantly about what we're doing, what's on the plan, etc. The big blocks of time leave lots of room for creativity and spontaneity but they're also small enough to not overwhelm us.

Boom! Take that, summer... Now, let's hit the beach!

How do you keep your sanity and keep things fresh for the kids in the summer?

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Happy to be alive, because, and why I won't give up on YA lit

3 Little Things {5.30.14}