It may have been mentioned before that when I get stressed out, I try to have more control over the given situation. Let us now consider children. When children stress us out, does exercising more control over them help? Generally, no.
Two summers ago (aka 2012), I was faced with a whole new prospect: I needed to be home with 3 children. All day. Every day. Without a car. While my husband was at work. This idea really stressed me out.
For those unfamiliar with my situation, here’s the run down: I married my awesome hubby at the beginning of 2012, and he came packaged with 3 children (6,8,11 at the time) who lived with him primarily. Wow. Me, at not yet 25, was going to become a sudden parent of 3 incredible children who, like all children, are a handful. Now back to that situation that had me stressed. . .
What do I do with three children all day? I had gotten into the groove of only working part time and having to occupy myself during the day while everyone was away (getting chores done, doing chores while watching documentaries, doing chores while watching documentaries while eating brownies—oh and of course my fun baking experiments). But suddenly having children at home all day–children who were prone to saying “I’m bored” after only a half hour of being home from school–was TERRIFYING.
So I made a schedule. Yes, I was the crazy lady who had a chore board and wrote a schedule everyday mapping out what the day looked like.
This year the situation is a little different: After a long drawn out custody battle with the kids mother my husband was reduced to non-residential parent with “extended parenting”. And me almost never working during the summer just wasn’t going to cut it financially, especially with only limited summer parenting time (ie no reason to be home all day when we didn’t have the kids). In other words, my husband had to work, I had to work 25 hours a week, and we were expecting 28 days with the kids during the summer in addition to every other weekend that started on Thursdays. My sister (who lives with us) agreed to watch the kids until I got off work (and again later), then I was there until I had to get my husband (one car family), and then all of us adults were there.
My question for myself was “How are we going to care for these children, keep them occupied, and still have discipline with 3 adults in charge at different times of the day?” My answer, “School.”
If teachers can handle 25+ children for 7 hours a day, sometimes switching between teachers for different subjects, surely I could use some of those same principles in my home.
And thus was born (or refined) the following things in my home:
- Daily Schedule
- Chore Board
- Limited Electronic Time
- Activity and Game Jar
- Behaviour Chart
- Star Chart and Star Time
- Reading Board
- Boggle Board
As I post articles on each of those things I will add the link here.
Good luck with your own summer parenting!