With so many colour-coded schedules popping up all over my Instagram and Pinterest feeds, I wanted to add an alternative solution: a no-schedule summer!
Does this sound horrifying to you? Well I promise you that it’s not.
The problem with hour-by-hour schedules is that you’re quickly setting yourself up for a stressful summer of clock watching. That’s why we ditched the high expectations in favour of a no-schedule summer.
What if your child is happily engaged in play and you’re dragging them off to do a ‘fun’ craft because it’s 10am? Most of the time, that’s not going to met with enthusiasm.
Whilst schedules can work for some children, in the early years especially a gentle daily rhythm is better.
Why is a no-schedule summer best?
🌻Because young children typically don’t have any concept of time but they do understand ‘before/after’ and ‘first/then’ statements.
🌻In the early years, children really thrive when able to spend plenty of time engaged in free, self-directed play
🌻Boredom can actually be a good thing – that’s how creative projects are born
Implementing a daily rhythm 5+ years ago was a total gamechanger to my parenting.
Our own daily rhythm started out of my desperation for life to start feeling like something MORE. I was utterly fed up with the treadmill life of washing, packed lunches, activities and mess on repeat.
I’d gotten so far away from my previous life as a teacher and researcher that I hardly recognised myself. And whilst I’d made tentative steps towards establishing This Playful Home (first as Teach Investigate Play) I was hardly getting any work done at all.
In addition to this, Illness postpartum meant that I didn’t have to energy to set up a conveyor belt of activities. Plus, my observations showed me that planned activities didn’t go over as well as they thought they might.
Up until this point, my days had swung from activity overload one day to complete and utter exhaustion the next. The exhaustion meant I didn’t do anything ‘fun’ and then I felt super guilty about it.
It got to the point where something had to give.
So I put on my ‘teacher’ hat and my ‘researcher’ hat and pieced together our very first daily rhythm.
The beauty of a rhythm is that it is a gentle, predictable flow to the day. This means it’s much easier for young children to follow.
In comparison, a strict timetable of art at 9-10am and outdoor time from 3pm-4pm (and so on), means that nobody wins. What if your child doesn’t want to do crafts at a certain time? If you fail to do playdough at exactly 11am, does that mean the day is a write-off?
Take the pressure off of yourself and your kids this summer by introducing a daily rhythm instead.
So if a no-schedule summer is best, what should you be doing instead?
Introduce a daily rhythm
A daily rhythm was absolutely essential for us. It turned our days right around and it’s so much easier to manage everything from parenting to work and more. But it’s not just me that recommends it. Many educational philosophies from Montessori to Waldorf stress the importance of creating a predictable flow to your days.
In the Playful Days at Home Starter Kit, I talk about the whole process involved in setting up your days for simplicity and success. By the end of the programme, you’ll be able to create a daily rhythm that’s right for your family.
Right now, there is a sale on all digital course and you can get $15 off of the price of the Starter Kit by entering the code PDAH15 at the checkout
Create a bucket list
Having a no-schedule summer doesn’t mean the same as doing nothing at all. You can still plan days out or fun and free events with your family. I really recommend creating a bucket list to help you focus on the activities that you really want to do over the summer break.
You can download our version for free (without email sign-up) here or try creating your own with a programme like Canva.
Set up the play space for independence
Give your children the freedom to play independently by ensuring they have access to open-ended toys and skills-based resources in a playful home environment.
Environment is the third teacher of children and so having access to resources that will help them play independently for longer periods of time is crucial.
In my mini course, Play Space 101, you can learn how to create a purposeful play environment – from decluttering and organising to presenting toys so that will actually get played with.
Play Space 101 is also currently in our summer sale. To take advantage of this limited time offer, use the code PLAYSPACE10 at the checkout
Introduce an art cart
One of the easiest ways to encourage creativity in young children is to have an art cart available and accessible.
Children are actually born creatives – they have incredible ideas, even if us adults don’t always see their genius. Rather than setting up loads of planned crafts during the summer break try introducing an art cart instead.
Read ‘5 Reasons you Need an Art Cart’ and ‘Our Favourite Art and Craft Resources’ https://thisplayfulhome.com/our-favourite-art-and-craft-resources/for more help to get started.
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The Summer Sale Continues on all courses
A daily rhythm is for life and not just the summer holidays. If you’re looking to make big strides towards simplifying your days at home, why not take advantage of our summer sale?
This is a limited time offer and the sale will only last for a few weeks!
The good news? If you buy now, you get lifetime access
This means that when the course go to an official launch in the fall and new year, you will get all of the benefits of new course content without having to pay anymore.