Monday, July 4, 2011

Ahhh, summer. Oh, no--summer!

During the school year, we've got our routines down, but when summer comes, routines can quickly go to pot. On one hand, it's nice to get up a little later and to have more unscheduled time. On the other hand, the things that are usually done by 8 am can now easily drag out until noon.

Take music practice, for instance. Our 12 and 10 year old boys both play instruments, and we've found that the best time of day for them to practice is in the morning before school. And no, I'm not a "Tiger Mom", but that's another important topic for a blog post, so we'll get there. Trying to fit in practicing the violin and cello after school when there's homework and other after school activities has never appealed to us, as I know it would likely create a lot of negotiating and reminding and nagging and result in our boys hating practicing their instruments. Whereas in the morning, they get up, get dressed, make their beds and do their practice. They are in the routine of it, so there's no resistance and practice is done and out of the way early.

So summer. Because we didn't want to negotiate and nag our boys about music practice, we took a tip straight from one of Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting's core skills, "Preparing for Success" and rejiggered the rule about when it happens. So our new summer rule is that we moved practices back 45 minutes so everyone feels like they're benefiting from summer vacation by sleeping in a bit, but we stick with our morning routine and practice early, whenever possible. Though they moaned when we first told them the new summer rule, the next morning after they practiced, both boys mentioned how much they liked practicing early and knowing they had more free time later. When the rules are clear, our kids don't resist and everyone is calmer and happier knowing the plan.

Laura Runnels Fleming (see profile below)
Pasadena, CA