Monday, April 25, 2016

Managing Disruptions to the Routine

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We clearly had no concept of the importance of consistency. We didn't understand the benefits and the positive impact a little consistency could have in life. Brayden's first summer was spent here, there, and everywhere. The only thing consistent was that there was no consistency. As our girls came along, we were very careful about consistency. We had learned what inconsistency did and seen what could happen when there was consistency for a baby. 


Summer is coming, and with summer comes disruptions. So when the time comes to have those disruptions, how do you manage them? This was my latest "managing" question on Facebook. Here is what you had to say:

Stay Close to Home
Christina said: This will be a new experience in a way for me because I will have a four-year-old and a newborn this summer (he's due May 12). We will most likely do a stay-cation this summer, but I am planning to bring my new baby boy with us outside whenever possible so that my daughter can play in a swimming pool or sandbox and get as much sunshine and outside time as she can. I'm also hoping to take both of them to the park for short visits here and there (we don't live very far). Everything will be timed around nap time once our schedule is set. If there is one thing I wish I'd done a bit differently with my daughter, it would have been to get outside with her even more. Evening and morning walks will be a must with our routine! 
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Have Flexible Plans in Place
Alyssa said: We will plan one outing a day (usually the morning) and a walk or park trip in the afternoon. I like having days set aside for various outings (Thursday's are library days, Friday's are the pool, etc). I have a list of events locally and we rotate enjoying them. It's a different routine than our school schedule, but we still get out in the day, come home for lunch and room time, sibling play/movie time, and then enjoy outdoors. I also have a back log of crafts and experiments we can enjoy at home whenever we are getting bored. When we travel we usually follow a similar pattern because the kids need some down time midday and it seems to work out pretty well. This will be our first summer with my oldest two not needing naps, but new baby is coming, so that should shake things up. Hoping this one will take good naps in the ergo!

Disrupt Wisely
Shseena said: Mine is to try and have a more specific time to get out..a time where i know its ok to sacrifice a nap..like around3pm i know its okay if my 5 month old takes that nap while out because is always short anyway

Plan Around Schedule
Kristen said: I usually just fit in our fun around our normal everyday schedule! For instance when my daughters were young and still napped, I usually didn't plan anything unless we could do it first thing in the morning to be back by nap or later in the afternoon after nap and be back by dinner. I'm a real stickler for sticking to a schedule and routine with little ones! Now that the kids are older it doesn't matter as much because they don't require naps or have any other things they have to do. But now we have a baby in the house so we're back to scheduling our lives around nap time and bedtime, lol! It'll be interesting to see if we can get much of anything done this summer!!!!

Do Not Stress
Erica said: I live abroad and go home to the USA for summer, which means a super long flight and crazy jet lag! In my experience, the key is to get the kids back on schedule as quickly as possible, understanding that there will be a transition time of a few days. It's hard for me but I have to force myself to be more flexible. You just have to relax about it as much as possible--things do back to to normal once you are back home, I promise!

Adjust for Personalities
Katie said: Disruptions come in all shapes and sizes. When we take a long family vacation, we don't do a ton to minimize disruptions. It is a special and different time and requires adaptability on all parts, and there is usually a lot less sleep involved for everyone. We get back to normal in a strict way when we get home.

But the rest of the time, I work hard to add activities to our lives without disrupting routines (mostly sleep routines), especially for younger kids. I watch each kid to see how they are doing with disruptions and when they need a break. Their personalities determine a lot of what each can handle. As they get older, it's easier - mornings can be really fun and different every day and they do well with this. Special evenings can occur more often although I watch carefully to see if this is creating more fun or more overall chaos. And we try to use the summer to work on their coping/adaptability skills on how they can let me know appropriately when they're overwhelmed, or what to do when they need some down time.

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