Ahhh summer. No more alarms set for early school hours, packing lunches, and rushing to get to school on time. For students and teachers alike, this season is looked forward to as a time to relax and let go.
But what about the schedule? The routine? There is research that says that keeping kids on a routine is good for them. When kids have regular times to go to daycare, eat, and sleep, their lives are more predictable. I enjoy routine and pride myself on the strict schedule I keep in my classroom. Many teacher moms I know decide to keep their little ones in daycare even when they’re not working over the summer in an effort to keep the schedule, because, as we know, many children thrive on routine.
Yet as summer rolls around, my child is not going to be following a routine.
- I’ll admit it: He doesn’t really have a schedule anyway. Even though my husband and I both work full time, he stays home four days a week with grandma and goes one day to the other grandma. This allows us some flexibility as I generally don’t have to get him out of the door with me. Sometimes he’s still asleep when I leave, and other times we eat breakfast together before I go. His wake up time can fluctuate up to an hour or more on a daily basis. There is, however, a general pattern established. Typical times that he eats or goes to sleep. But if we are out late with friends? He either stays up late having fun, or we lay him down there in a pack ‘n play when he gets super tired. Bath time? Whenever I feel like he needs it…or I have the time. Sometimes I’ve wished for a schedule so I could predict when he’d be napping, etc…but other times I’ve enjoyed the flexibility that our non-schedule allows for. I also feel that it allows our child to be super easy going when our plans change or when special events pop up.
- $$$: We don’t go to daycare so we don’t have to hold a spot. Also, If we wanted to keep his same schedule, we’d have to go out of our way to pay someone (way more than we pay the grandmas!) to watch Fitz for the summer months, and it’s just not worth it.
- SAHM: As much as I enjoy my job, it’s so nice to have a window of time where I get to be a stay at home mom, too. Randomly go to story-times at the library. Take a nap when the baby is napping. Eat breakfast with Fitz and then snuggle in pajamas to read books instead of having to rush off to work. I look forward all school year for this time with him, and I honestly can’t imagine dropping him off somewhere while I go home alone.
- We can create a summer routine: School-aged children adjust to summer routines when they are out of school, and I figure that Fitz can have a separate summer routine, too. Daddy and I are both home this summer, but we have already started developing some summer norms. Daddy gets Fitz when he wakes up in the morning, and brings him to Mommy. Mommy and Fitz talk and get dressed while daddy makes breakfast…and so on. We are still maintaining our typical flexibility, but developing some routine for the summer weeks.
Will it be difficult to adjust when August rolls around? Probably. But to us, it’s worth the extra time as a family now. Also, I have a feeling Fitz will adjust when the summer ends waaaaay easier than Mommy and Daddy will!
I think the key, as with anything, is finding out what works for you, your family, and your particular children best. Who knows? Maybe we will do something different when kid #2 comes around. For now, you’ll find me with my little family doing… whatever we feel like doing every day this summer!