Every summer I think that I will have an organized routine to our days so that the kids are entertained and busy and I have time to myself and everything will get down in a timely fashion.

And every summer I fail miserably. The hours at home go by so fast some days that I feel like I don’t even have time to take them to the playground, and other days, when we are out visiting family or with friends, it seems like I don’t have time to catch my breath before we make dinner.

I long for the warmer days when the kids can go outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, while we decrease the amount of TV and technology in their days. Sadly this doesn’t work out as I hope:

Me:            Kids, go outside and play, it’s beautiful and sunny
Helen:     All we want to do is watch TV, we don’t want to go outside
Me:            Well, when it’s pouring rain all winter and your can’t go outside you’ll be sorry
Helen:     When its winter and we can’t go outside we’ll be happy because we can watch TV all day.


And this summer has been even more off the wall than normal because we moved. First we were ‘homeless’ for a month between the old house closing and the new house possession, then we moved across the country. Unpacking and settling in took a few weeks and that certainly put the kibosh to any semblance of a routine.

So here we are at the end of August, all unpacked, with the back to school sales in full swing, and all I can think of is how do I get these kids organized so the next two weeks aren’t sheer hell and we can ease into fall? Well, I Googled. And essentially what I found out is we need to do is organize our daily lives like a Kindergarten class.

In general, Kindergarten is like this:

  • Arrive
  • Circle time
  • Center Time
  • Clean up
  • Activity (library, gym, music, etc)
  • Snack
  • Circle Time/Stories
  • Go home

So for my family this is what I need to try:

  • Wake Up/breakfast
  • Get dressed/washed: this is one that gets overlooked most often, especially if we don’t have to go out. At least if we are all dressed and cleaned up, I feel more civilized.
  • Play time:  Play with each other, alone or with the neighbors, color, etc. Also known as “leave Mommy alone so she can clean up, return phone calls, go through paper work, etc
  • Clean up! I have no problem saying no to my children and sticking to it (painful though they make it) but I really suck at following through with making them clean up after themselves. This has to be a priority for me so they learn not to be slobs and that mommy is not their personal maid.
  • Outing: Run errands/go to the park, for a walk or visit friends/family
  • Lunch: Can be combined with outings as required
  • Outing: Run errands/go to the park, for a walk or visit friends/family
  • Quiet Time: Kids play in their rooms. Also known as “leave Mommy alone so she can work and not have to hear your little voices for a few hours because she really needs a latte right now.
  • Snack time!
  • Activity: Read to them, play with Lego, do some crafts; just do something together
  • Pre-dinner: Sedate the kids with TV so I can make dinner. They can also help with preparations as appropriate (I need to be better at this too!) and with setting the table)
  • Dinner: Ahh the chaos of encouraging balanced eating, manners and conversations…
  • After Dinner: Kids help with clean up then go elsewhere for play with daddy, each other, the neighbors, etc
  • Lead into bedtime: Clean up toys, have baths, read stories, go to bed.

Of course both outings may not be necessary, or quiet time might also involve sedating them with the TV, but whatever works! This is my generic plan and I know I can switch it up as long as I usually follow it. I am going to try this for the rest of the summer and see how we do!

Some other things I have noticed:

The less attention I pay to my kids, the worse their behavior gets. So sometimes I may be in the middle of something and they are driving me insane, I need to suck it up and play with them. I need to be better at this because they are getting older and this sweet time is short.

The less they eat, the worse their behavior gets. My husband, bless his heart, gets cranky when he hasn’t eaten and so are the children. Therefore I have to make sure to keep my little Martin’s fed before they lose their minds and I want to sell them to the lowest bidder.

Sleep is big too. With the long days it is soooo tough to get them to bed on time. Couple that with the nice weather and genuinely wanting to spend more time together as a family and you get kids that are not well rested. I need to be more consistent about bedtimes. True they can sleep in, but not for much longer!

Don’t let them suck you into their s**t. When my kids get cranky and annoying, I get cranky and annoying. And I can just feel myself being pulled in. And I really really really need to just walk away from them. It is soooooooooo hard to be consistent when the whining dial is on 11 all day! Be firm, walk away, change the subject, redirect. Try it! It works when I am calm enough to use it!

So good luck with the rest of the summer! I am looking forward to enjoying it with a bit more routine in our lives!  And if you have any tips that work for you, share them with us!!