3 weeks into summer break, and I’ve realized that this year, I’m all about structure. If I don’t get out the door by 9:15, then most of the day just gets away from me. The following post was written last year and published on the Philly Moms Blog. Its rather relevant.
June 12, 2009
Its summer. Ideally, there should be no concerns over schedules, activities or structure. That’s what they tell me. “Relax,” friends say. “Sleep in,” others proclaim. “Let them run free,” I hear.
Yeah, I hear. And I tried. We tried, actually, for 3 whole days. But the first 3 days of summer vacation have been, as a friend so gently put it, a doozie. Breaking up fights wasn’t bad. Sleeping in could have been enjoyable. But the consistent craziness of my children and their lack of understanding of appropriate behavior drove this mama to mania. And her husband wasn’t too far behind on the insanity level (lucky him, he got to go to work each day.)
What gives? We’re pretty strict parents. We have high expectations for our kiddos. Fun certainly reigns supreme, but manners and respect trump fun. Period.
Find a frog? Great, lets show it off to the neighbors. Want to make a mud-bath? No problem, just ask for a towel before you get in the house. But when we’re shopping at Wegmans (because you need your milk, Mr. 5-year-old,) I do not expect yelling. I insist on you walking with me, not running to the candy aisle and, please, cut it out with that rude smile and tone of voice.
Timeouts and rewards have their time and place, but when the behavior exceeds the lowest of my threshold, something needs to change.
Yesterday, I scrapped the free-reign summer I had so deliberately chosen. Out the window went all the spontaneous plans of excitement. Yesterday, we had The Talk.
Mr. 5-year-old-soon-to-be-Kindergartner and I sat down to discuss. No emotions. Just frank face-to-face discussion. And you know what he wanted most of all? A plan. Structure. He wanted a list like his teacher makes each day in school. Written down, discussed at the the rooster’s crow and followed.
So a list for Wednesday was created:
- Get Dressed
- Magnet kit play time
- Dentist appointment
- Park time
- Story time
- Rest Hour
- Crafting (we made those cute monster masks in the photo)
- Bedtime Routine
When my husband returned from work, the table was set, some laundry done, the kitchen cleaned, and we were peaceful. We were calm. We were happy.
So-long lazy days of summer. We’ll be rejoicing in our own, private, extended school year.
© 2010, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.