Part of me dreads the summer. School ends Friday, and while I’m happy for a break from that routine, I fear that the kids and I will drive one another crazy in the first week. So I’m taking a few steps to proactively combat the insanity.
First, we’re kicking off the summer with a week-long media fast. I know–it feels counter-intuitive. Screens are my easiest go-to babysitter. Even though it feels like I’m just asking for trouble by denying myself this outlet, it actually has the opposite effect on our family. When we started this year off with a solid week of being unplugged, I saw only benefits: more calm and focused silence for myself, more independent and creative play with my kids, less bickering and demanding behaviors, and more quality time together. Being unplugged made us present to one another, and I want that again.
Second, I’m making a predictable schedule for our week. While it seems like summer should be a time for lazy days and spontaneous fun, I know my kids. Without a plan or structure for each day, they will pester me non-stop with questions. They thrive on routine, and they go a little spastic when they don’t know what to expect. So we’re going to have blocks of time for meals and snacks, chores, reading, sensory input, and free play, and we’re going to be ready to throw it out the window when fun opportunities present.
Third, I’m going to put daily decisions on auto-pilot. Making decisions fatigues me, so we’re going to plan our meals and snacks for the week instead of standing in front of the pantry or fridge when people get hungry. When we reinstate screen time, it will only be during a small window each day. And I’m going to line up our at-home activities for each week so we have something different and interesting to do each morning. If I can make decisions all at once, it removes the constant stress of having to decide what to do on the spot.
Fourth, I’m praying every day that God will help me to love my kids well and enjoy the time I have with them. To be honest, spending time with my children is usually not my favorite thing to do. I get frustrated and restless and wish I could just clock out of my job as mom. But I don’t want to get to the end of my summer and have a pile of regrets for wasted opportunities. I desperately need God’s daily help. Any time in the past that I’ve felt my heart growing cold or hard toward my children, God has been faithful to answer my prayers and fan the flames of affection and tenderness once more. So I will pray daily–for them, and for me.
Now that I’ve told you my plan, I have to follow through! (Nothing like public accountability to keep you motivated. Ha!)
Would anyone else like to join me in this endeavor? Share your plan in the comments below, and we’ll cheer each other on this summer! Let’s combat the crazy together. 🙂