Yesterday began a two-week stretch where all 3 kids are in day camp, though not at the same place. G returned to school for their camp program, and A&C went to horseback riding camp.
According to their reports/complaints:
1- G’s new teacher is more strict and she was assigned ‘homework’ which I am going to consider entirely voluntary (she’s 4 and it’s camp so . . .)
2- It was hot. Yes, yes it was. I took a 30 minute walk at lunchtime and the weather app said it was 89F but it “felt like 100” due to humidity. I am sending both big kids with more water today as horse camp is almost entirely outside. (G’s is more of a combo deal with considerable time in the air conditioning).
(it already “feels like” 85 right now as I am gearing up to run – gahhh!)
It will probably take a bit for us to find our rhythm, but it’s nice not to have to rush out the door as quickly in the morning. Unlike during the school year, the timing doesn’t work some days for me to drive them on the way to work so our nanny is coming in to do the shuttling.
On the plus side, everyone seemed thoroughly tired out in the evening! I let them watch TV until 7:30 pm (which I deemed the Summer Screens Off Time) and then A&C actually read in their own beds while I read to G. We were done reading by 8 pm and she fell asleep around 8:20; then I read in C’s bed and finally A’s bed for a few minutes. The whole routine wasn’t done until 9:15 BUT I got to read a whole bunch of Sea of Tranquility, which sucked me in instantly and is SO SO GOOD.
(And I love that she brought back characters from The Glass Hotel which I know not everyone loved, but I did!).
Evening Adventures Etc
In reading the above, I feel like for the first time in many years I have a bit of a window in which to relax in the evenings. Since there isn’t really homework and there are no summer evening activities, most nights 6 – 7:30 is just down time for both the kids + myself.
I would love to do family dinner some nights but a) Josh is essentially never home at 6 pm (unless we have a very specific engagement) and b) the kids get hungry after camp despite snacks eaten while there and I suspect there would be a LOT of whining for snacks if they had to wait until 6 to eat; I would much prefer them eat their actual healthy dinner vs snacks.
So right now I just spend some of that time talking with various kids and the rest of it puttering around myself (eating dinner, doing Duolingo, writing in my 5 year journal, etc). I do feel slightly guilty because I know it is the screens affording me this privilege but also — it seems reasonable for them (AND ME) to enjoy this downtime.
(PS: this is TV or movies, not iPad unless A wants to do a specific facetime or chat with a friend. The iPad and its various apps and games riles them up too much and we have found that it is a bad idea before bed.)
Anyway, this is our Weekday Summer Routine, for now. (This will change when A&C head to camp and then again for 2 weeks when they return. And then summer will be basically over – ahhhhhH! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)
Oh that sounds like a lovely routine! We find the same issue with the ipad, my son will get bored of TV but not bored of the ipad, so we’ve taken a break. I’m looking forward to the Sea of Transquility, the library holds list is decades long, so I’ll buy the airport paperback copy when we head to Portugal next week. I’ll buy a pile of Lego magazines, hand over my ipad preloaded with Netflix downloads, and we’ll enjoy books, TV, snacks for a few hours.
Also the post school hanger is real! For some reason, Tuesdays are the worst for us. We stop in the park for a snack when I pick him up at 5, typically fruit and some sort of homemade pb ball, but by the time we cycle home (15 minutes), he is RAGING! I think I just need to prep his dinner so it’s ready when he walks in the door. I wonder if they do something he can’t eat for snack (he’s dairy free) and so he just gets fruit, and he’s extra hungry???
We eat family dinner late (usually 6:45, sometimes 7) throughout the year. We have a 4th meal between lunch and dinner called “snack” in our house. It is after school/camp and while you can have 1 sweet treat if you are still hungry after that you can have fruit/veg/cheese stick etc. Snack ends at 4 (starts around 3 with various kids shuttling through at different times) so there is a full 2.5 hours plus before dinner (the exception to this is my 14 yo son who eats vast quantities of food from about 4-11 p.m. including dinner…he’s VERY hungry). It works for us.
We’re a late dinner family too — I love this idea.
Josh usually wouldn’t make 6:45 – 7 either otherwise I’d be more motivated to attempt this . . .
Sounds like a great routine!
I cannot believe summer camp is giving out homework – sheesh 🙂
For what it’s worth, I see no issue with some screen time to relax with after busy, on the go days!
As a child in the 1970s we watched the limited British children’s TV offering most nights when we got home from school while my mum sorted dinner (she was a teacher so got home around the same time as us) until my dad got home. I really don’t think it did us any harm! Three university degrees, one brother a full term career in the Royal Navy and now working in central government, a second brother with a career in the oil industry and now working in management consulting and myself a practising commercial property solicitor for 35 years. Each married once for total almost 90 years between us and each two pretty successful children. Hours and hours on an Ipad every night is probably not a good idea but a few hours of TV after a long and fulfilling day in camp – just makes sense for everyone!
My husband is a bit younger and has very fond memories of coming home to television. I think the lack of channels created a really powerful shared experience for a generation of kids. His mom was also a teacher and his dad had a long commute from central London. I spend my afterschool and summers at my grandma’s who didn’t even own a TV and any complaints of boredom would be met with chores so I became very good at keeping myself busy with books and snacks.
Try not to feel guilt about the screen time. They talked about screen time on a recent episode of the mom hour and Sarah mentioned that she has changed her mind or has a different view about screen time. She was incredibly strict about no screens but it was ultimately to the detriment of her mental health. They also talked about the privilege required to not have screen time. You are solo parenting a lot and that is a rough time of day, at least in our house, so I would do what you need to do to get through it. Especially since being outside isn’t an option in this season much of the time. Try not to “should all over yourself” about screen time.
It’s a struggle to push off dinner until 5:30 in our house – we often eat at 5:15 and 90% of the time the kids eat something different from the parents (which is not ideal/what I envisioned before having kids but oh well). The oldest is so hungry since he doesn’t eat super well at school. I try to push it off as long as possible as the less time between dinner and bedtime (which starts at 7 for the 1.5yo and 7:30ish for the 4yo), the better. This is our prime weather season, so our routine is to go outside after dinner for a walk/scoot. But we won’t be able to do that tonight as we are having Florida-like weather with highs in the upper 90s and a 100+ heat index since it’s very humid!
When my 1st was little (he is now entering the 5th grade!) we were a lot more strict with TV. I have revised that policy, mainly so I can have some quiet and downtime myself.
I usually need some unwinding time when I get home from work, and I can unwind while I make dinner as I enjoy cooking, but I … just need the kids to be quiet (I also have a 3 year old) and occupied so they aren’t pestering me to entertain them :). During the work week this means, a little TV time while I cook dinner (usually 30 mins) and then sometimes also family TV time to unwind before bed. On the weekends, it usually means TV time in the morning as the adults sleep in a bit and possibly family movie night, too.
Our older kid also likes to play Minecraft on his Nintendo Switch. He will sometimes opt for that rather than TV time, which is fine. Older child has also been very good about putting it away when I ask. I’m trying to be less controlling about screen time as my kids do lots of other things during the day that do not involve screens and otherwise seem to be doing fine. I don’t want to make it into a power struggle!
I think this evening routine sounds excellent. Our 3 kids (8, 6, 3) eat with our nanny between 5:15-5:45 and I get home at 6. The benefit of early kid dinner is (1) less filling up on snacks before a meal, (2) someone else plans, prepares and cleans up for the most part, and (3) no one is hangry when I walk in the door. As a bonus, sometimes we can go out a family walk or have popsicles on the front steps in the summer. I usually wait until after their bedtime to eat, but in the summer that’s been stretching later, so I may try screen time for 30min and eat myself before they go to bed. Essentially copying your exact schedule. Last night the kids were awake until 9pm which is TOO LATE to be making and eating dinner.