Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Planning a memorable summer

I am so very fortunate that I am able to take the majority of the summer off and spend more or less one day a week at A Gym Tale and complete the rest of my work from home. It has taken me 4 years to figure out that after the fast paced school year, what I really need during summer is to slow things right down with the kids. At first I tried to use the time off work to do everything with the kids that we were not able to do during the year - play dates, classes, day trips, etc. We simply ended up more tired than when we started summer. Now I am a firm believer that maintaining a routine, but slowing the pace right down and spending much more time at home doing simple things is what creates the most restful and memorable moments.

I also have to admit, I love the idea of homeschooling my kids. I really do enjoy my job, especially creating the nursery school program plans, and doing that programming as a hobby over the summer is really exciting to me. It is like I am pretending to homeschool my kids since during the year just does not allow for it - And after four years of nursery school, it really is time for Ewan to move on! I absolutely love the ages that my kids are at right now (4 years & 18 months) and the idea of catering the plans and field trips directly to my kids interests is so much fun. It also provides an opportunity to test out new activities, books and plans for the school year. 

Since I am a self-admitted workaholic, I needed to put a plan in place to ensure that days were kept slow - yes, I do realize how silly it is to have to plan to relax and slow down, but I have come to accept who I am and without a plan the calendar will be out of control! So here is what my ideal summer will look like:

  • Less concern about looks and creating more time in the mornings by showering at night and relying more on hair bands and hats.
  • A goal of 7 hours of sleep per night so that I can be ready for Ewan and Islas 6am wake ups
  • Keeping my phone ringer turned on instead of my phone in my pocket - too tempting to check emails throughout the day, I am limiting to checking twice a day. Otherwise I become very distracted by emails and texts. 
  • Days where the words 'hurry up' are never uttered and the kids are free to go at their ideal pace - this will be very challenging for me.
  • Accepting a less tidy house, but at the same time including the kids in chores as opposed to having to do everything when they are in bed. Simple things like helping with dishes, sweeping the floors and dusting. 
  • Playing outside every day - tending to the gardens, picking our veggies, and simply allowing for open ended time in the yard for the kids to enjoy their own garden, sand, rocks, water barrels available to them. 
  • Nature walks several times a week with our dog. If you haven't read 'Last child in the woods'  it is a really great book and will give the motivation needed for many to make getting out in nature a priority for our kids.
  • Having a never-ending art table just off the kitchen. Ewan and I have been having the most difficulty in trying to keep the 'mess' or hundreds of pages of art a week under control and trying to clean up multiple times per day. So by offering a larger table that he can carry out his projects should hopefully fix this. 
  • Doing daily projects with Ewan in the afternoons while Isla is napping. She is now napping for about 2 hours since we have ended her morning nap. I am hoping to have invitations for science experiments, art, sensory play, baking etc. ready for Ewan during this time. Some will be things we do together and other things will be for him to explore.
  • More lunch time picnics and simple dinners to lessen the amount of time spent in kitchen prepping food.

At the same time, I still want to keep all of my commitments, such as regular date nights, dinners out with friends, running 3 times a week and taking some time just to relax in the backyard in the evenings.

How do you plan to spend your summer with your family? 

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