Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Summer Preview

This week is Spring Break for us and so far we're having a pretty great week off. While this break didn't come with quite the excitement, relief, and anticipation for me as a "non-teacher", it is still a welcomed and much needed break. A break from making lunches. A break from being somewhere on time every morning. A break from baseball. A break from PreK homework. It's just been a nice break from the regular routine.

And this break has given me a preview of what summer might look like. We're only about 5 weeks away from summer here in the Selph household so it's coming soon. Real soon. (I can't believe we're almost to the very end of another school year.... my baby's PreK year... I'm not ready!)

So far, this summer preview has been helpful and enlightening. I've discovered that while I love a break from the "school year" routine and all the things mentioned above, I also love and need a we're on a break from school routine. I love having some predictability to our days. I like knowing that after lunch comes naptime/rest time. I like knowing that most days we'll get out of the house before lunch... and having a plan for where we'll be going. I like knowing what we're having for supper every night. I like knowing that bedtime is the same time just about every night. It's nice for me and the kids to have that predictability. At this point in time, especially having a new baby, we're not quite ready for go with the flow, do whatever we want whenever we want absence of routine. I know we'll get there one day... although I'll still probably have things planned out since I'm just a little Type A, but for now we need a somewhat consistent (but still flexible) routine. And this week's routine has been nice.

Other than routine, I've noticed how much my boys need a balance of structure versus total independent play. Time at home versus outings. Time together versus time apart. This week has been pretty revealing. We've had an all time high of playing together and cooperating and teamwork and sharing. But we've also had (what seems like) an all time high of fighting and yelling and not sharing and not keeping hands to ourselves. It's been crazy. Night and day crazy.

This summer I'm hoping to really establish a balance... and remember what I'm learning this week.

After breakfast they usually do great playing independently... I clean up from breakfast, finish getting myself ready, get Layton down for a nap, etc. And all the while they are busy playing. Totally independent and totally fine without me. Then, after Layton is settled, and I've *maybe* taken care of a chore, they need some structure. They need me to read to them on the couch... or play with them on the floor... or help them get started on something at the table... or get them dressed and ready for the day... or just to watch a 30 minute show. If I can intervene with a little structure after their long stretch of playing independently, I can usually prevent them from getting bored with what they're doing or tired and aggravated with each other... which leads to fighting and meltdowns and time out.

Also... and I've known this one for a long while... too much time at home without a plan is not a good thing. We need outings! We need fun places to go. We need simple errands to take care of. We need time outside to burn energy. My boys love some play time at home but too much of a good thing just isn't a good thing anymore. At least not in this case. The tricky thing with this summer will be Layton's schedule. We'll have to wait until after his morning nap to go out and we'll have to make sure we're home for feedings. It's a little intimidating to think about a whole summer of this but with a little flexibility I hope we can make it work... and that it's a fun summer for everybody.

The most surprising thing this Spring Break has revealed has been the need for some occasional separation for my big boys. While they are the best of friends and love being together and playing together and pretty much come as a package, I've noticed that every now and then a few minutes separation is good... and maybe even necessary. The boys are rarely separated during "play time", however, this week we've had some separation for literally 5 minutes per day that's been good. Example #1: Earlier today Garrison wanted to color and since Austin isn't currently allowed to color, I did his alphabet puzzle with him while Garrison colored at the table.... in other words, a meltdown and big ole argument was avoided. Once Austin and I finished the puzzle, Garrison wrapped up coloring and they were ready to get along and play together again. Example #2: Earlier this week when they couldn't keep their hands to themselves, Garrison had to play in his room for few minutes alone while Austin played in the living room alone. After 4-5 minutes they were ready to play together again. Who knew? Such a good way to take a break and appreciate having a playmate.

So my summer preview has been pretty beneficial. We've had some highs and lows so far this week but thankfully they've all come with a lesson.... that I can hopefully remember and learn from. I'm not ready for summer just yet, but I'm getting close!

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