In my last article, I shared three reasons why your family needs a summer routine. The truth is, without one, you are very likely to waste much more of the summer than you intend to.
The good news is: summer routines aren’t nearly as difficult to make as you might think. There is no reason to schedule things down to the minute, and you can always shift things around if you need to. All you really need to do is to lay out a general framework that will help guide you and your children through your day. Here’s what to do:
How to Create a Summer Routine
1. Take a sheet of paper and write down the hours of the day going down the left hand side.
2. Make a note of the times your children wake up and go to bed. Block off the time it takes to get up and dressed as well as the time it takes to wind down for bed, including baths, brushing teeth and reading stories. These times are now set aside for these activities.
3. If your kids are still little enough to nap or have quiet rest time, block off nap times as well. It’s okay if they go down a little earlier or a little later on a day-to-day basis, but you should have some idea of when they usually sleep. (And furthermore, just by having a schedule, your children might start sleeping a little more consistently if they don’t already.)
4. Mark off any standing obligations you have, such as ballet lessons at 5 pm or soccer lessons at 7 pm. If your schedule varies widely from day to day, you might need a weekly calendar instead of a daily one. Do whatever works best for you!
5. Mark off meal times, including the time you need to prepare the meal and clean up afterwards. The dishes won’t pile up nearly as quickly if you work on them while you are in the kitchen cooking anyways.
6. Look at the time you have left. Chances are, you still have a few big blocks in the morning, afternoon or evening. What activities still need to get filled in? Do you need to set aside some time to work from home? When will you clean the house? When will you spend intentional time with your children? Fill them in wherever you think they should go.
**Need to see an example? You can see what my daily routine (during the school year) looks like here: A Day in the Life: Brittany
A Few Quick Tips
1. Let Your Schedule Be Your Guide: Your schedule isn’t set in stone. If you have to adjust or move things around a little, that’s okay! Let your schedule help you, not rule your life.
2. Don’t Schedule Down to the Minute: I find it is way more effective to plan my day in blocks. For example, I have a cleaning block in the morning and a working block mid-day. If my kids need something for a minute, it doesn’t throw off my whole schedule.
3. Leave Plenty of Margin Time: And the fact is, your kids WILL need something. Probably lots of somethings. And if your day is filled to the brim, there’s no way you’ll ever get it all done, even if it fits nicely in your schedule. Make sure your blocks of time are large enough and that you have margin time so you really can stick to your schedule.
4. Let Your Family Know: A schedule won’t do you any good if you’re the only one who knows about it. Share your schedule with your family and get their input, even if you feel silly. Otherwise, if no one knows about it, they won’t follow it, and your schedule will be useless.
As a work-at-home mom, having a daily routine is absolutely CRUCIAL for me to get everything done, but having seen the benefits of having one, I know I would have one whether I was working or not. They are simply that helpful.