Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne (this is the last time I will mention him....maybe ;)). In his book, Mr. Payne talks a great deal about slowing down children's hectic schedules in order to allow them to have a childhood. I found that getting rid of our hectic schedule as S's schedule heated up, was soooo good for us.
Z starts private Kindergarten in the fall and will be going 5 mornings a week. A part of me dreads this because I appreciate the flexibility of our very laid back schedule. Below are 5 things that we did to help slow down and calm down our family life. These changes have helped my children to be more creative, less stressed (Z stopped biting his fingers) and has reduced the number of tears and tantrums by 80%. It is my goal to make sure that we still try to do as many of the following things next year, even with Z's new schedule.
1. No more than 2 Classes/Sports per kid
We use to be the family who signed up for anything and everything. We were running around like crazy people trying to fit it all in and nobody was really enjoying it. Now we only have 1-2 activities per child and it has made a huge difference. This year Z did Kindermusik and Swimming and Lil' C did her own Kindermusik class. If Z wants to play soccer in the fall we will take a break from swimming for a bit. I do not want to be that family who lives in the car ;)
2. Must have a Home Day
We schedule in at least one "Home Day" each week where we don't go ANYWHERE. These days are time to catch up on chores, play and do special projects. Z LOVES them and is able to wear his jammies until after lunch if he wants. Lil' C does not love them as much (she is a people person) but I find if we change scenery (upstairs/outside) every hour or so...she is just fine.
3. Must have a Home Weekend
Our weekend schedule from April-October is pretty hectic. Last summer I started scheduling in "Home Weekends" where we make sure that we are home and not traveling one weekend per month. We try to make one of the days of those weekends a "Home Day" where we can get much needed chores and relaxation done :)
4. Only Say "Yes" if it makes sense for the majority of the family
This was a big step for me. I use to sign up for activities or events without considering how it affected the entire family. Now I will not schedule anything during Lil' C's nap time, take both kids into consideration when we accept invitations to parties (will there be anything for them to do, is it too far away, too much going on etc.), try to remember that we are all more fresh in the morning and before I schedule anything, I always ask myself, "Does this make sense for the entire family?". Of course there are things that take exception but for the most part it has worked really well.
5. Build Downtime into our schedule
I am a person who thrives off being busy, or at least I thought I was until we slowed down. Now I appreciate downtime just as much as the kids do and I too find that I am more creative. I now NEED time to decompress, time to reflect and time to just BE. The kids and I (and daddy when he is home) spend some time each day reading books, relaxing and just enjoying quiet time together.
Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
My other Posts about Simplifying our Life: