Transitioning Back to a School Schedule After Summer Break
There is something slightly unsettling about the thought of Summer ending, especially if you have eight kids. I have visions of standing on a pier, waving farewell to a ship full of later mornings, mid-day park outings, days without schedules, and late nights with a host of board games. The real challenge is actually trying to re-condition eight other human beings into a schedule of discipline that had largely disappeared for several months, and that none of them missed.
I have found that, in reintegrating into the steady flow of scheduled days, it’s best to take the leap with a running start. At about the two week mark before school and activities start, I mentally prepare myself, and begin to add routine and schedule into most of the day. (To be honest though, large families usually have a basic semblance of scheduled events in order to keep the gears oiled). Each family will have there own way of making these things happen, but here are a few things I have found to be especially helpful:
1. Every morning should begin with the proper orientation. Prayer is essential. Not only for God to give us the graces necessary to endure the day, but also to give us the wisdom to discern those things in our lives that are possible and not possible. Every family has its own needs, personalities and opportunities for improvement. Asking God to give us the correct expectations will also help us to give Him the proper glory. On a side note, St. Francis Xavier is the patron saint of busy people.
2. The house should be blessed again. The are many resources online to find a proper house-blessing done by a family, and I have found that it is healthy to do this once a month.
3. Bed times are set two weeks before day zero. It has been helpful for us to get into a routine of bathing and the family rosary beginning about an hour before we want people in bed.
4. Electronic devices should be limited, or even eliminated in the evenings and early mornings. It is far too easy to get distracted for a schedule with a TV on, especially in our house.
5. Try to schedule early morning activities that everyone will want to do (Or at least the majority), like heading out early to the park, going on a walk, or even playing a game together. Daily mass is also a great way to maintain our spiritual center while keeping a scheduled routine.
6. Don’t get discouraged. There is no such thing as the perfect schedule, or the perfect people to follow it. As I said, each family is different, and when you throw kids into the mix of anything planned, chances are that the train is getting derailed on turn one. The best thing to do is to say a little prayer of thanksgiving for the patience and humility lesson, and move on, understanding that we, as parents, are educating our children more with how we handle adversity, than how we plan against it.
Post by: Aprile Sauer, Chelsea Parent