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Ah, Summer! School’s out, the days of staying up late, sleeping in, vegging on TV, and running around without a care in the world are upon us. This summer routine is sponsored by Red Baron but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Or so, that’s how I always thought summer should be. Funny thing though, my Mom always kept us to a routine. Chores, set bedtimes, and meals as a family at the same time every day. We could count on exactly what each day would bring, and still found time for wonderful adventures – as long as the chores were done.
Having married young and starting our family shortly after, I didn’t take much time to figure out the adult world before throwing myself right into it. I became horrible at keeping a routine and let the babies rule my world. Well, that first baby is now getting ready for middle school, and I think I’ve finally figured this routine thing out – it only took 5 kids and 12 years.
See, turns out routines are actually really healthy for us. They keep our mind sane and can keep us from feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and like a failure. Routines teach us good habits, and are incredibly beneficial for our kids!
I’m done trying to create a Pinterest perfect summer for my kids. Instead, I am choosing to give them what they need. A routine they can count on, a chance to learn responsibility and respect, and by far the most important – family meals together that will last in their memories.
To ease us into a summer routine – a new concept around our house – I decided it needed to be done in steps. We are in week 5, and the complaints have been minimal, the creativity high, and the overwhelm in the home almost non-existent. Here’s how I did it.
Day 1 – Sleep as long as you want. Eat what you want and when you want. Play as much electronics and watch as much TV as your little heart’s desire. Get the idea of a lazy summer taken care of on the first day.
Week 1 – Get up when Mom wakes you. Eat breakfast. Get dressed. Make your bed. Brush your teeth. Brush your hair. Say your morning prayer. We got to calling this the “Morning Routine”.
Week 2 – Complete morning routine. Pick 1 chore. I let the kids decide on the chore. This has got them using their minds to see what needs to be done around our house. If they can’t think of a mom-approved chore, they can grab a job from the chore jar.
Week 3 – Complete morning routine. Pick 1 chore. Complete 2 pages in a workbook. We have a million workbooks that come home from school only partially complete.
Week 4 – Complete morning routine. Pick 1 chore. Complete workbook pages. Read for 30 minutes. If they want to get on electronics at all, they have to hold a book in their hands for at least 30 minutes – preferably reading it.
When the daily routine is complete, the kids have free reign to do what they want. Since we don’t have enough electronics to go around, my ears are often met throughout the afternoon with the whine of boredom from whatever child is left screenless.
So I bought a small backyard pool. It’s so tiny, but man you should have seen the complete joy on these faces when they saw it.
“A pool! A pool! You bought us a pool?!”
I waved my mom badge in the air for all to see. I did indeed. It should have cost $9, but when checking out a $2 discount was applied. You betcha I bought us a small backyard pool.
After the morning routine was complete, they didn’t ask for electronics. They didn’t sleep away the afternoon. And for every penny of that $7 I didn’t have to listen to “I’m bored” for one more minute.
While the kids played in the pool, I grabbed Red Baron Classic Crust Pizza’s from my freezer and got them in the oven – 1 cheese, 1 pepperoni, and 1 supreme. After all, in a family this big, we can’t have any arguing over what style of pizza to cook. Thank goodness Red Baron has 11 different flavors to choose from!
After a day playing in the sun, while Mark and I get work done around the house, the last thing I want to do is clean up a dinner mess. With pizza, there’s virtually no mess. We don’t bother with paper plates, because Red Baron pizza’s classic crust is not too thin or too thick.
There’s no better way to end a summer day where the kids didn’t complain, chores were finished, and there was no dinner mess to be cleaned up. I sat back with some supreme – this mama likes her pizza loaded – kicked up my feet and read a book while keeping an eye on the kids truly enjoying their summer vacation.