The Summer Holidays are upon us, and whilst it may be tempting to kick back, relax and let the children run wild, you may find the six week stretch more enjoyable if you implement a routine. Why Routines And Schedules Are Important Children thrive on predictability, feeling more secure when they have an idea of what is coming next. You can flex your daily schedule as required but if certain milestones throughout the day, such as meal times and quiet times, remain the same, you may find their mood and behaviour is better.
It's also important to remember that even when school is out, children still need plenty of sleep. If your children rise early regardless of what time they crash out you will need to maintain a sensible bedtime each evening.
What's Important To You Depending on the ages and temperaments of your children you may want to create a detailed daily schedule, or a simple outline of the key points throughout the day. The most important thing is to start by defining what is important to you. Do you want the children in bed by a set time each night so you can complete housework, homework, or relax in peace? Are meal times set or flexible each time? Will there be nap times or quiet reading times? Is it all fun, or is there some school work to get done. The things that are important to you will form the basis of your schedule every day. Collaborate Brainstorm with your children some fun stuff they would like to try out during the holidays and places they would like to visit. Pinterest and parenting sites are awash with ideas for arts, crafts and educational activities to do, but don't assume your children will love every single one of them. Let them join in the planning by giving them a preview of what's on offer and asking their opinion.
Make It Balanced Each day should provide a balance of outdoor games, rest and relaxation, time spent together, and opportunities to be alone. Some scheduled activities will help avoid boredom-induced poor behaviour, but it is also important to allow plenty of time for little minds to wander and hands to explore without intervention.
Reinvent The Familiar If you've had the same garden play equipment for a while, liven things up by adding a new piece, or think of new games to play with the existing structures. A few old sheets thrown over the climbing frame make an excellent den, and the slide can be turned into a high speed bowling alley.
Put It On Display When you've written up your plan for the day, put it on display where the children can see it. It will give them clear expectations of when they are expected to amuse themselves, when they need to be ready to leave the house, and when their next meal will be ready.
A Help Not A Hindrance Above all else remember that your daily plan should be a help not a hindrance. There's no need to stick to it slavishly every day at the expense of and spontaneity.