Tips for a Summer Schedule

Between family trips/visits/other obligations, our summer break is finally starting. That means, this week I planned our “summer schedule.” I like to make a schedule every summer to keep the kids from lying around all day, watching too much TV, fighting, etc.

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Our daily schedule includes things like: free time, chore time(for all of us), planned activity time, reading time, and so on. The schedule works well for us, but because I’m and admitted control freak, the schedule too often became a hindrance more than a help.

I like the idea of a schedule, but this year, I decided to include some rules in my schedule. Though it’s only been a week, following the schedule plus the rules has been wonderful in our house. We have enough to keep us busy, but I’m not developing a nervous twitch trying to keep on schedule. I’m posting my rules here because I think they are good rules to live by.

My Schedule Rules to Keep My Head from Exploding:

I will not:

  1. Pick up toys more than 1 time a day, and this time will mostly be the responsibility of my children. I can’t stand clutter, and waste way too much time picking up toys. I decided to get over that problem. I’ve never walked into a home and thought the owners were disgusting people if there were toys around. I need to feel the same way about my own home. Plus, what in the world am I doing picking up all the toys!? My kids got them out, they need to put them away! We generally do this before dinner.
  2. Spend more than 30 minutes a day on Facebook/phone games. I always complain and feel stressed due to lack of time, yet I spend way too much time on Facebook. I love Facebook, but limiting my time online will open up my schedule a bit.
  3. Panic if I miss a chore for one day. My kids are not going to get sick if I miss one week of polishing the furniture. It’s important to keep my home clean, but not at the expense of spending time with my family or helping out a friend.
  4. Clean all my kids’ messes, but will teach them how to do it themselves. This one is tough for me. When my kids spill or spit toothpaste all over the bathroom mirror, my first instinct is to clean it up because they couldn’t possibly do it thoroughly enough. They can never learn to do these things if I always do them. It may take more time now, but in the long run it will save me time and help them.

I will:

  1. Be a good mom even if the house is not 100% cleaned and the kids 100% entertained. Maybe it comes from watching too much Donna Reed as a kid, but I always thought it was necessary and normal ┬áto have the house clean 100% of the time; the kids spotless while we sit in a circle discussing literature and scientific theories; and a hot, healthy, all-natural, gourmet meal on the table at every meal time. It took many years to realize… nobody lives this way. It’s okay if I can’t do it all every single day.
  2. Make my kids my #1 priority! While I can’t play with or take my kids to museums and parks every second of the day, they need to come before other obligations. Twenty years from now, I probably won’t remember if I met every expectation I had for myself, but I will notice the kind of people my children have become. A lot of who they will be depends on their lives now. Putting it in that perspective, it’s a no-brainer how I should spend the bulk of my time. That said, part of helping my children become who I hope they will become is setting an example for them of hard work, service and cleanliness.
  3. Tell people, “No.” I can’t tell anyone “no.” I really don’t remember the last time I did. I always tend to overbook myself and get stressed and can’t do anything else. While I still want to be a person others can turn to for help and count on, it’s okay to say “no” once in a while when I have too much on my plate.
  4. Plan the next day the night before. I am so much more productive if I know exactly what I have to do the next day and prepare for it physically and emotionally.
  5. Make “time for myself” a scheduled appointment. I always get so ticked off when I hear people say things like “It’s time to focus on me,” or “I’m finally going to make this all about me.” While that still makes me cringe, I’m starting to realize how important personal time is. I don’t plan to sit around for hours eating M&Ms and watching talk shows… but I think everyone needs to take time for personal reflection and betterment. I schedule time each morning to exercise, and time each night to read and write. This gets me focused and recharged.

I hope you’ve found something here useful. After a week of this, in my house, we’re happier, more organized, we have more fun, and we’re actually more relaxed. What are your tips for making a schedule?

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