One of the greatest things my family has struggled with throughout the duration of the holidays is sticking to our routine. During term-time everyone knows exactly what and when they should be doing things. Bathroom times, breakfast, lunch, dinner, activities are all organised and structured. Okay, my day doesn’t always run to perfection but we do know what we’re doing from moment to the next.
The evening routine mostly runs according to plan, chores are completed and child #5 is usually out like a light by 7:30 pm.
However, for whatever reason, this all completely dissipates and comes toppling down like the fabulous towers my son and I make using his bricks, just as I’m about to place that culminating brick at the pinnacle of well-balanced structure, he takes his hands and swipes across, bringing it all to crashing halt. My routine goes on holiday during the holidays!
Perhaps I’m being a bit hard on myself and we all need to stop and take a breather from the daily rigmarole and hastiness from time-to-time. But, somehow having a routine seems to be a safe place for me. Waking up at 9:30 am and having that much-needed rest and lie in, breakfast at a leisurely time and not having a clear structure from one moment to the next and of course; the addition of a Netflix film (family appropriate of course) is just way out of sync for me.
I need it, I appreciate it, to some extent; but it completely throws me. I actually feel as though I’m failing my children. Child#5 now 14 months doesn’t seem to cope well, his eating and sleep times have gone right out of the window and I fear that the lack of structure is affecting him as much as it affects me.
As for the older children living at home, aged 17, 12 and 9 years-old, its a dream come true. They’re loving it and appear to be quite comfortable not knowing what time lunch is, and not being woken up to the sound of the alarm at 6 am, coupled with my many instructions and continuous engagement to get them out of the house on time. Yes, I call it engagement, they’d call it nagging!
So, what am I going to do about it you might be thinking? Well, I’m already one step ahead. I decided to put together a planner that will not only work during the week where most things are rote and well structured, at least in my head they are. I’m the one that knows what’s happening from one moment to the next in our household.
I know that 7 am means breakfast during the week and 12 pm is lunchtime. Wednesday mornings means going to the library and we always have our morning devotion followed by engaging activities throughout the day. Moreover, when hubby is home during the holidays’ none of the above works for him. He has no idea about our daytime routine, he has no clue about what happens at what time when I’m not at work and spending time with child #5. So when he doesn’t think to prepare lunch or organise some activities so I can have a bit of a break, it really annoys me.
Of course. My annoyance is unwarranted and unjustified, how could I expect him to just slip into my routine all worked out and fixed in my head? So, I devised a planner that is flexible, structured, simple and gives hubby, child #5 and me the clarity and coherence we need to get through the holidays and term time with structure but without the pressure. I initially got the idea to have a physical planner from another blogger Sharla Samuel. However, her planner didn’t meet the specific needs of my family.
I put together a weekly planner that excludes the weekends and also put together a daily planner that can be used by his childminder and us on a daily basis. The planner is especially useful at this time because I will possibly be spending quite some time in hospital in the next few weeks when I give birth to our severely disabled baby.
The daily planner will prompt and give structure to hubby and family members who will be helping to take care of the children in my absence. In addition, it gives me a clear picture how child #5 has spent his day. What is even more noteworthy and particularly valuable, is that by having a daily planner, you can pick up on and recognise patterns and trends in your child’s behaviour and habits.
So, if over a period of time, child #5 stops eating particular foods that I know he used to eat, I can look at and analyse his planner and make deductions. For example, if he stops eating food that requires active chewing, it could be an indication of teething.
Or if every Monday for a while he appears miserable in the evenings, it could be due to being overtired from playing at the One’O Clock Club.
Keeping track of patterns is very helpful and can even lead to an awareness of emotional behaviour. For example, my son spends some time with my sister who is his childminder, if I noticed that child #5 was having twice as many dirty nappies I could see what he was eating or what he was doing that might be causing that issue.
Therefore, as well providing us that peace of mind knowing what is happening from one moment to the next, particularly during the holidays, there are other great advantages to keeping a running record of your child’s daily routine.
If you think having a daily or weekly planner might benefit you, please feel free to download a FREE, yes a free copy of my planners. There are many great templates available on sites such as Pinterest and other bloggers. However, I was personally unable to find one that met all of my families needs and so I was forced to create my own.
You can change and adapt the planners as you see fit and use them as a template for devising your own to meet your family needs.
Please do leave a comment if you can relate to this situation. I know it really is about creating the right balance between term time and holiday times. The holidays should offer a break from the regimental and strict routine but it should still incorporate some structure as this helps to maintain things and aids in a much easier transition from holiday mode back into the swing of term-time.