Nothing is worse than collapsing into bed every night worn out and exhausted. It doesn’t matter if you’re 80 or 8; a schedule that’s too busy wears you out. Kids need downtime in their schedule.
But in today’s busy world, how do you add downtime to your children’s schedule?
One way to add downtime is to reduce the activities in which they’re involved. This is hard. There’s a push in our society to keep adding more and more activities and classes to your kids’ lives. And if you homeschool, you need even more activities. Kids must be socialized!
But too much of a good thing destroys the best things in life such as time to enjoy hobbies, chat over tea, or bake cookies together.
So go through your activities and choose the best of the best. Pick the activities which are most important to you and your family. My favorite approach with small kids is to combine activities. Both of my little ones attend the same activities at the same time and place. It makes my life easier and keeps the kids happy.
Trim your activities down to the ones that are most important to you and your family and give your kids the gift of downtime.
Keep One Day a Week Completely Free
The easiest way to add downtime to your children’s schedule is to keep one day a week completely free. And what do I mean by free? Just that, don’t schedule any events or activities for this one day of the week.
No soccer, no play dates, no appointments. You don’t even have to homeschool!
Encourage the kids to learn a new hobby, explore the neighborhood, or read a good book.
The trick is choosing your day of the week wisely. The weekends seem like the obvious choice, but I find weekends harder to keep free. Mondays, on the other hand, tend to be my family’s most open day of the week, making that the perfect day for downtime in my family.
Go through your weekly events and find one day of the week you can stay home and enjoy downtime.
Schedule Downtime Every Day
A third way to add downtime to your children’s lives is to schedule time every day. You might choose to keep the hours between 1 and 4 unscheduled so the kids can entertain themselves.
The morning may work best for your family. Everyone gets up, eats breakfast, and does a couple of chores. Then you and the children have a few hours to enjoy hobbies, read a good book, or hunt ants in the backyard.
A couple of hours of daily downtime keeps the family relaxed.
Another option is to keep your evenings free. Stop scheduling events or watching TV in the evenings. Instead, you can use this time for enjoying hobbies as a family. Read books together, play games, and talk.
Encourage kids to try their hand at sewing, knitting, and building model cars. Pull out art supplies and let the kids create.
A relaxing evening after a busy day is refreshing for parents and children alike.
Schedule One Day a Week for All Activities
Another way to add downtime to your life is to choose one day a week for all extracurricular activities. Kids can go to swimming lessons in the morning, ice skating over lunch, and park day in the afternoon. You can also schedule all appointments for the same day.
This is a common approach for families who live a fair distance from town. When you have to spend an hour driving into town, it makes sense to schedule all activities for the same day.
But it’s also an excellent technique for families who live in town as well. You don’t need to leave the house every day. The kids will enjoy having time to develop hobbies, read books, and explore the neighborhood.
And you’ll enjoy having a peaceful life at home.
Downtime is essential in our children’s lives. Choose the best method of adding downtime to your children’s schedule and run with it for a season. You can always change your approach later.
How do you add downtime to your children’s schedule?