Let me check my schedule...

Here's the thing about summertime. As a teacher, I've been blessed (and I worked my butt off, thank you very much) to get 7 or 8 weeks off in the hottest months of the year. What, were you still under the misguided notion that summer vacation lasts three months? Hate to disappoint you. We teachers must voluntarily show back up at work at least a week before the official preplanning starts just to get our rooms/minds ready. But we'll deal with that when the time comes.

So like I said, I'm blessed to have the time off in the summer. Being a mom, this means I can save a load on daycare costs and get plenty of precious time with my kiddo at home while the rest of society continues the grind in cubicle-land.

Naturally, that is my official statement and I'm sticking to it.

But since this is my space to be honest and say what I like, and since most of the time I'm too tired/lazy/creatively tapped to be anything but honest anyway, let's get real. Summer scares me a little. All those hours. Alone. With my child. A child who happens to be going through a dramatic, wheeling-dealing, three-year-old, all I want is more snacks and more tv phase. A child who considers waking at seven a.m. to be sleeping in (today she crept down at 5:30) and can't be bothered to be begged/forced up to bed until at least nine o'clock.

Don't get me wrong. She is awesome. The other day she informed me that a butterfly's life cycle is: caterpillar, raccoon, butterfly. Oh, she makes me laugh.

And then makes me want to scream really, really loudly. And isn't that (plus a bottle of wine) just the perfect recipe for parenthood?

Anyway, knowing I'm not great at being a stay-at-home mom (hence the reason I got myself a job), I always look toward summer with a little trepidation. My main goal for this summer is not to let Violet's brain or teeth rot from over-consumption of snacks and television. And I need a way to accomplish this with a minimum of negotiating (this child could be a lawyer. Or a used car salesman). So I decided to take what I know in the classroom and apply it at home. What do all kids need? Schedules! And thus Violet's picture schedule board was born.

Let me just check my schedule...
On our magnetic board are a collection of pictures representing different activities throughout the day. Some are obligatory - nap time, breakfast, etc. The rest are the possibilities - coloring, reading  books, playing outside, pool time, etc. We talk about the choices available each day, then map out our schedule. I put some things in - tv time comes after nap time, there are only two snack time pictures (and one optimistically shows pictures of healthy fruit!) while Violet gets to plug in her choices too.

A craftier mom than me would have taken the time to snap photos of their child doing each activity. But for me, clipart will have to suffice. But I did use my own laminating machine, so take that!

Whenever she looks bored or asks for another snack, I tell her to check the board. Is is snack time? No. What time is it? Playroom time. Okay then, go play! As each activity is completed, Violet takes great joy in moving the picture to the other side of the board so show that it's done. Easy. And so far, it is working.

Although this is only day two, so don't count any chickens or pin this idea to pinterest yet. But it's been nice to start the first few days of summer with my sanity and patience (mostly) intact.


  1. What a great idea! Don't forget to put a "surprise" every now and again...even if the surprise is something that you pull from the closet (and got from the dollar store) so that mommy can get a nap (or if you don't feel good) ;)


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