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Summer "Routine"

I used to be frantic in the weeks leading up to summer break, but we need summer this year. Every age and season of motherhood is different—different good, bad, and different needs. We need routine, connection, and to understand ourselves. The routine part is ironic going into summer, but I think an organic rhythm naturally happens when you are home with your kids for extended periods. My kids get hungry for lunch around 11 am at home, so might as well feed them a good meal then instead of a snack then. I’ve learned that 9-11 am is a sweet spot to connect with my kiddos. They can play and be independent after lunch well but by 3 pm, they are restless and whining. That’s the natural rhythm that carries over from the school routine.

We are also tackling more self-understanding and acceptance together this summer. With ADD-PI, ADHD, autism, and anxiety running through our family, it’s time to embrace and understand our superpowers, triggers, and potential. I see my kids embarrassed, ashamed, or confused about their diagnosis, feelings, shortcomings, and strengths. Not on my watch! Being diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety in 2nd grade myself, I ache for and remember exactly how they feel. Thank God for my parents. They got me through it.

I also need to disconnect from the world. I have no self-control with stopping work, being on my phone, and hyper-focusing on tasks when my kids are around. I just want to be creative and paint! But there's so much more to running a business, unfortunately. I am horrible at routine but we all need it. My own ADHD and anxiety have caused me some trouble over the past couple of months. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling and state to be stuck in. I’m so grateful that I was taught the tools to recognize and address this though.

Fun summer plans, huh?! This isn’t an executive function boot camp summer, I promise. More like a baseline for the summer. While I have so much time with them, I want to make it count. So, what does this look like for us?

1.) Stock up on our favorite art materials and have them readily available and open-ended invitations to experiment and create.

2.) Healthiest snacks & ingredients for food they can make themselves.

That's it. Well, not really but that's all I can handle right now. Also, setting a routine for myself. I'm dreading this, but also equally excited and hopeful.

  • 5:00-7:30 am --- Kelly wakes up early and gets ahead with work

  • Get kids ready, fed, and out the door for 9:00 school or camps.

  • If the big kids don’t have camp, spend the 9:00-11:00 disconnected from the outside world and focus on them.

The books I read are intentional and planned already. (Examples of the books section of my Amazon Storefront!) I will act like I just grabbed a book to cozy up with them:) I read somewhere that reading to your children in your bed makes even stronger emotional bonding because it is an extremely safe, cozy space that isn’t always available. And I LOVE my bed, so there’s that. My kids tend to talk the most when their hands are busy and we aren’t facing each other (in the car, Lego building, drawing) or chilling in my bed.

After reading my choice, I'll offer to read one of their choices. Go with it and see if that sparks any boredom-buster ideas.

Work on a chore/task together. I’ve realized that my kids aren’t lazy, they just get extremely overwhelmed with multiple tasks. So, I have to do a better job breaking it down. The Sensory Child Gets Organized by Carolyn Dalgliesh is inspiring, and I've felt inspired to do my part to help them (especially Part 2: Helping Your Sensory Child at Home).

Do something physical: Trampoline, walk the dog, bike, gymnastics bar, swing.

Slip a “life lesson” in and snack. Eat together. "Life Lessons" are the everyday modeling that only really works when they are calm, connected, and not feeling targeted or defensive. Moments you need to revisit with a kiddo or just how to use the dishwasher.

The rest of the day happens, so I can work mid-day and they can chill and do things independently or with friends. I’ve realized mid-day summer is our chill time because it’s so hot!  Glennon Doyle said during the pandemic something along the lines of, “Kids don’t remember much about the fabulous day you planned. They remember the beginning, lunch/snack, and the very end. Start the day with a bang and finish strong.” So, that’s my plan!

I’m excited about diving into this journey with my family. I started simplifying and moving things to make a clear “command central” in our house for summer. This is what we have already found to be helpful.

1.) Visual Timer: I prefer this one, because of the rainbow background. It gives kids a better visual for time with the red showing closer to the 5-10 minute mark. I’ve noticed them understanding time and feeling it when they can see a color and visual block associated with this.

2.) Small Sticky Notes: this is a game changer for tasks and lists. I’ve been using them too, so you can just see ONE task at a time. Helps minimize the overwhelm. You can also reflect on the process and steps once the task is completed by laying them out in the proper sequence to check your work.

3.) Technology Treasure Box: incentives and systems for technology are working in our house. We all know we have very little self-control, so a locked box is where we are. They love it though and respect the system. I like this cell phone lock box too!

4.) Okay to Wake Clock: I am time blind. I’m not going to lie, it’s a problem. I understand why this clock works for our children.

5.) ADHD workbook: I buy a lot of children's books. Honestly, they are easier to understand:) I am really excited about this one for myself, but will use it as a reference to have natural conversations about ADHD over the summer. Maybe if they see me doing it for myself, they will take an interest in discovering more.

6.) Art Supplies: It's kind of like new school supplies at the beginning of the year, but better:) Here are my favorites!

7.) "Burner phone" or NOT smartphone: Literally just a device to use or forward my iPhone to. We use it as a "home phone" regularly, but it's lovingly called the "burner phone" when it's being used to disconnect from my iPhone but still be a responsible parent. I have an EasyFone and Daniel has a Nokia flip phone. Under 20 bucks a month towards the unlimited calls and data plan is worth every penny.

8.) Griddle: My older children can prepare a lot of their own food -- cereal, oatmeal with frozen blueberries, waffles, pancakes, sandwiches, Trader Joe's Ramen, eggs, grilled cheese, yogurt parfait, pizzas on bagels (super messy kitchen operation, but we are getting there...). Gas stoves alone aren't safe or realistic for their ages, so an electric griddle is better. So much can be prepared independently (with me close by and with permission) with an air fryer, electric kettle, and griddle!

9.) Tea kettle: I love this thing. They can start it, I can help pour. It also makes boiling water for ramen or any pasta so much faster. I disinfect toothbrushes after illness runs through our house too!

10.) Summer Calendar: I love this one for our family calendar, but this summer called for me to create a VERY basic version for my kids' summer folders.

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