The forecast said rain…all week…and the boys had just begun two weeks of spring break. We were spoiled with the most beautiful, sunny weather for weeks but wouldn’t you know it, the kids were out of school and cooped up in my house.
Oh sure, that’s fun for a day or two, but active kids need something to do to exercise their bodies and brains. So rather than retreat like a turtle back under my blankets, I got up and decided to write a little “rainy day schedule” while having my morning tea. It was more for my sake than the kids, really. If I was going to stay sane, I needed a game plan.
The Game Plan
Weather “experts” told me that Monday was going to be my only day of sun so I callously kicked the boys out to do their farm chores and play in the yard, despite their protests that it was the first day of spring break and they should have the freedom to lay around in pj’s all day. Caleb was spending his spring break on a missions trip to William’s Lake and then milking and working the second week. But for those of us staying home, I needed a plan for how to let them relax and just be kids while still keeping a little structure in our lives.
8:00 Morning. This one needed to be clearly spelled out for the younger members of our family. If I’m letting you stay up later at night, you are letting me sleep a little longer in the morning. But feel free to read a few books to pass the time.
8:30 Be dressed and ready for breakfast—that includes Mom! groan
9:00 Owen reads to Mom, Aiden practices recorder and Drew and Levi tidy up the bedrooms.
9:30 Half-hour of electronic time…Wii, iPad, computer, iPod, etc.
10:00 Snack time
10:30 Play time. This is free time to play what you want but every day, Mom will organize a game. Examples are:
Tuesday: ping pong tournament
Wednesday: hockey tournament
Thursday: foosball tournament
Friday: board games
12:00 Lunch time
1:00 Brave the rain and go outside to the barn to ride your bike or skateboard or ripstick and work out a little pent up male energy.
2:00 Mom reads aloud while boys play quietly, colour, do a craft or catch up on some project work/homework.
3:30 Snack time. Boy, these kids eat a lot!!
4:00 Screen time. You can choose a movie or electronics while Mom makes supper.
5:00 Dad’s home—Hallelujah!!
While I didn’t plan on sticking to this like a general in command of his army, I thought it would be a good guideline and hold me accountable. It’s too easy to get sidetracked by the computer, catching up on paperwork, etc.
At the last minute, I decided to write, “Mom has the freedom to change this schedule at any time and for any reason.” Good thing I did, because it wasn’t more than a few minutes after I’d left the table that I heard Aiden calling for Drew.
“Drew, Drew, come look at this!” They both examined the schedule closely and what surprised me the most was their enthusiasm. Next, Levi and Owen were called over. When the neighbour boys arrived, Aiden quickly explained the schedule to them.
Wishing for Rain?
What I had written as a loose timetable was now cast in stone, according to Aiden. He kept coming to me with ideas to add or questions about how the day would unfold. At one point, I even overheard him saying how much he was wishing it was raining already.
Talk about a plan backfiring! Here I was, praying for sunshine while Aiden was fervently praying for rain! This morning, when he showed up in my room at 8:00am on the dot, I was informed that it wasn’t technically raining yet, but the sky looked pretty ominous so we might as well commence with our “rainy day schedule.”
I’m not sure what held the greatest appeal for them about the schedule. They definitely liked holding me accountable for making sure lunch is on time. They liked the anticipation of something fun just around the corner. They loved that I was going to be a part of the game time. Even the neighbour boys were told they had to time their visits to line up with our schedule.
But it struck me, despite how they cherish time to relax with nothing to do, they still crave structure. Fun structure, but structure nonetheless. And I’m no different really.
But as much as I like my schedule, it was pure bliss to turn my alarm off for two weeks.