Tuesday, 23 June 2015

My plan for surviving summer with three kids

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Two more days. I just can't believe it.

Two more days until summer holidays begin and I get to have all three of our kids home with me every day.

I really can't wait.

I can't wait for days at the splash pad with friends, picnics outside, day trips to the beach, mornings at the park, swimming in our pool, sprinklers and freezies, ice cream cones and bike rides.

But, I also know that in order to make sure that our summer is as great as I hope it will be with three very little kids, I have to have a plan. Because having three little kids home with me all day every day means that chaos can ensue very quickly. Noise, siblings fighting, crying and the question "what are we doing today mommy?" will happen all day long if I don't have a plan. I know this all too well.

So my summer survival plan is simple. HAVE A ROUTINE AND A SCHEDULE.

It's nothing new really. I'm just stealing the idea of literally every place that I know of that cares for children. Schools have schedules and routines--for a reason. Daycares have schedules and routines--for a reason. Summer camps have schedules and routines--for a reason.

Now, in saying this though, I must say...I'm also a fan of just go with the flow. Just let the day take you where it is going to take you--be spontanious, be inventive, just roll with it and see what happens. I long for the days when I can just say to my kids "Go outside by yourselves and explore all day long--I'll have dinner ready when you get home:". But we're not exactly there yet.  

So, with a little work...and a little hope...I printed off a bunch of labels, laminated them and crossed my fingers.

Who knows if this will actually work--if this will actually mean that our days will feel short and full of fun, instead of long and full of "What are we going to do all day??". But I'm certainly willing to try it.

I put it up in the kitchen the other day for the first time (just using sticky tack to keep them up so we can change the activities up each day depending on the day) and I showed our kids the little clothes pin (*found at Dollarama in the craft isle) that they can move down onto each label each time we finish a part of our day, so they can see where we are throughout our schedule...and they've totally bought into it already. Mya loves looking through all of the labels and picking out what she wants to do each day, and Carter just loves pointing to each picture and telling me what he thinks it says.

But I also reminded them that none of this is written in stone--that our days are also flexible, not ridged...so if a friend calls and says "Come on over"...well, you better believe we're heading out the door. Or if we decide to spend all afternoon in our pool or just playing outside on a beautiful day, when we originally had other plans, that's cool too. But at least we have a starting point--some goals for the day and some fun activities planned. Because if "water fun" is on that board, you know I'll be filling up water balloons the night before or hauling out the sprinkler. And if "chores" is up on the board, it will force me to take a minute and do something productive--throw in a load of laundry, or hand out wet rags to the kids so they can dust every square inch of the house (their favourite).   

And if the plan is to get together with Grandma, Jen and Jeff (and co.) or Nana and Papa...well, I made up labels for that too.

I think the resemblance is uncanny.


If you're interested in trying this out yourself, here is the link to where I printed off free labels. It was a good starting point, but I also made up a ton myself since things like outside play, special activity and arts and crafts wasn't in the mix. Let me know if you want the ones that I made up as well and I`d be happy to send them to you. Then all you need is a printer, a trip to Dollarama to buy about 6 rolls of laminating paper ($1 each, found in the office supply section) some sticky tack and some time.  

So, here is to having our kids home. Here is to the great, fun, memory-making kind of summer days...and here is to the chaotic, crying filled, time-out filled, exhausting days too...because, it's all a part of really the best time of our lives. And I don't want to miss a minute of it.

And now excuse me while I go figure out how to bake some cupcakes with a baby in my arms--because Thursday afternoon my kids (and the other kids on the court) don't know it, but they'll all be getting off the bus after school and be told to go run inside and get their bathing suits on--because they'll be coming home to our court full of treats set out on a table, sprinkler on the grass, bubbles, freezies, painting with water on the driveways, spray bottles, water balloons and a water table full of coloured ice cubes and water toys. Because for just a bit over $20, you can pull off a little WELCOME TO SUMMER bash, with very little effort, that they hopefully won't forget.

Carter is already getting a head start on the water fun...

Happy last couple of days before summer starts everyone. Enjoy the quiet while it lasts.

Erica xo

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