Blog

Create a Flexible Family Schedule

Summer is a time of transition, especially if you have older kids who will be home from school for a few months!

Create a Flexible Family Schedule | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

(I remember those years with younger children, when our daily routine didn’t change all that much, but all of our favorite places to spend time–like the library, park, and nature trails–were suddenly filled with lots of bigger kids. If you are a mom of little kids, don’t worry–the break will go by faster than you can imagine!)

The benefit of a flexible family schedule is that you can adjust your routines any time, regardless of the season. Some families prefer to have a full calendar, with lots of extracurricular activities…while some families prefer a more relaxed, spontaneous approach.

And then some families–or MOST families, I would imagine–are a mixture of both when it comes to their weekly schedule: some crazy busy and some that are totally light!

For that reason, I found that using a blank calendar template is best for our family. It allows me to see, at a glance, those open pockets of time where I can be a more intentional mother.

Create a Flexible Family Schedule | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

Here are some of my favorite tips for creating a flexible family schedule:

  • Print off the printable calendar template for several weeks at a time. That way, nothing will stand in the way getting your week down on paper!
  • Fill in all the “out of the house” commitments for the week and all your regular family activities (meal times, nap/rest, etc.).
  • Check the weather and write it down. It’s silly, but it may help you make the right clothing and activity choices–a must for a busy mom!
  • Consider your personality and those of your family members. Do you need to pencil in some at-home time for the introverts? Or maybe you need to plan a social activity, like a playdate, for the extroverts.
  • Write down some activity ideas and family goals for the week–and remember, positive changes happen one small step at a time!

Create a Flexible Family Schedule | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

Grab your family schedule template (its FREE and printable!) right here:

 

Sensational Summer: Activity Ideas for Kids

How are you feeling about summer?

Recently on our Facebook page, I asked, “How are you feeling about summer?”

Today’s post is for all those parents who are feeling concerned about how to fill all the free time during the summer!

Preschoolers and school-age children who have spent the last nine months on a schedule may need a time of adjustment to re-learn how to play freely and even be bored at home.

(Note: I’m not saying a family schedule is bad, but my advice–as a mom and a teacher–is to make sure to include some”down time” for all family members to recover from a busy school year. And then, after a time of “de-schooling,” families may want to start easing back into a routine.)

Summer Activity Ideas for Kids | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

Here is a sample summer routine that works well in our family:

  • Morning chores: get dressed, make bed, personal hygiene
  • Breakfast (children help set the table, prepare the food, and clear the table–as able)
  • Morning time: music, religious studies, memory work, read-aloud time
  • Free time!
  • Lessons (we will be doing some math fact review and writing during the summer–no more than an hour on weekdays!)
  • Lunch
  • Outside time/pool/playdates (we will alternate ‘at-home’ time with ‘away from home’ time)
  • Rest (when needed)
  • Screen time if it gets too hot outside
  • Dinner
  • Family time
  • Bedtime

*As the weather starts getting hotter, we will likely do outside time in the morning.*

Since we homeschool, our girls are really experienced when it comes to using their free time (although they do everything so s-l-o-w-l-y). We do use our activity “menu” on the days when it seems like all they really want to do is watch T.V.

Summer Activity Ideas for Kids | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

Summer Activity Ideas for Kids | family time, summer schedule, summer bucket list, indoor activities, outdoor activities

The activity menu has 20 different activity ideas, such as art, board games, playdates, puzzles, and more.

You can access the full guide by entering your name and e-mail address in the box below:

Introvert Mama, Extrovert Child

First off: extrAvert or extrOvert? According to the dictionary, both spellings are correct. But since spell check dislikes extravert, we’re going with extrovert throughout the post.

This post was originally published on lonestarsigners.com on November 13, 2013.

A little more than two years ago, when our second child was a few months old, I realized that I was tired all the time. I talked with my doctor about hormonal imbalances (my estrogen-progesterone balance leans toward estrogen dominance) and met with a lovely therapist for a few months to talk through my struggles with perfectionism. It was about that time that I read Susan Cain’s amazing book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. (In fact, I just requested it from the library again–I’m due for a re-read!)

I think introversion is misunderstood in today’s society as shyness, social anxiety, or just a reclusive personality. The truth is that whether or not a person is an introvert simply depends on how he/she recharges their energy. Some people seek out other people, activities, experiences, and action to gain energy (extroverts), some are energized with solitude and reflection (introverts), and the rest are a lovely blend of both.

Well, it turns out that I am an EXTREME introvert. I think my tendency has definitely become more pronounced as I’ve gotten older, mainly because my “alone time” has been extremely limited by this thing called parenting.

When I was single and living by myself, I had lots of balance–interacting at work and plenty of social activities–followed by a night alone with a good book! When my husband and I were first married, our non-traditional work schedules left us some time apart, which I filled with a good book and my husband filled with singing in a chorus and a quartet. (Guess which personality type he has!)

Even after our first daughter was born, I still had “alone time” in the car going back and forth to work (listening to audiobooks, naturally) and while she was sleeping. But once I had two young children with different schedules and no outside job to go to, I was exhausted because I was never alone.

Introvert Mama, Extrovert Child | parenting, personality style, child development, communication, family relationships and dynamics

Please understand me, I love my girls and I wouldn’t want to do anything other than stay home with them and homeschool–but those two hours of naptime are precious to me and my sanity. I need time to read and reflect every day or I get run down. Thankfully, my husband appreciates my sanity and arranges his evening schedule with the girls so that I get to rest. (And he gets a night out every week to go out and sing.)

* * *

Our oldest daughter is clearly an extrovert. I love to watch her light up around other people! I appreciate it when the moms that she is drawn to take the time to listen to her and affirm what she so badly wants to tell them. She processes information by talking about it, and that means she talks A LOT. She is constantly asking me when we’re going out or which activity is coming up next, when I would much prefer to curl up on the couch with (you guessed it!) a book.Introvert Mama, Extrovert Child | parenting, personality style, child development, communication, family relationships and dynamics

If introverts get their energy from the inside and extroverts get their energy from the outside, there are some days that it feels like Addie is simply taking my “health units” for herself. 🙂

As an introvert raising an extrovert, I’ve discovered a few tricks:

  • Plan social activities for the extroverted child. If at all possible, plan to host them them so you can control the number of guests and how long the activity lasts.
  • Go to the park a couple of times a week. My extroverted daughter is more than happy to play alongside children she has never met before and I can find a quiet bench to sit on and watch.
  • Make allowances for an “at home” day at least once a week. It’s beneficial for extroverts to learn how to play independently. Listen to audiobooks if your child needs extra stimulation.
  • Channel your child’s extra energy with a hobby! 🙂
  • Make it a point to connect with other moms in real life at least once a week. Facebook and other forms of social media are awesome, but it’s important to have some in-depth face-to-face conversations, too.
  • Don’t forget your spouse! My husband is very understanding of my need for quiet time, but I need to remember to “come back up for air” in the evening and ask him about his day. Even if we’re not talking, he appreciates it when I sit next to him while he watches a movie. (And then after I’ve had my fill of “quiet time” in the evening, I tend to want to talk his ear off right about the time he’s ready to go to sleep. It’s all about balance!)
  • Teach your child about the differences between introversion and extroversion. Addie knows me well enough that when I say I need a break, she respects my ten minutes of downtime. When we leave an intense social situation, she is usually quiet in the car so I can recharge. It’s not just about me, either! When an introverted friend comes over and needs some time to ease into the situation, it’s important for her to learn how to respect their space.

How about your family? Is there a difference in your personality style and your child’s? Share some of your tricks in the comments below!

Looking for a book on the subject? I highly recommend MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths! In fact, this great book is our May 2017 selection for Mom’s Book Club. If you’ve ever taken the Myers-Briggs assessment, this book will really “click” for you, and help you understand parenting in a whole new way. Join us!