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When I look back on my earlier years as a mom, I see how I was constantly scheduling our lives. I was always searching for the perfect routine and schedule for us and time after time, I was coming up short. Every time a schedule did not work out, I would try another one.
Day in and day out, we lived by schedules of play, lessons, and planned activities. Sometimes, my sweet little toddler would just want to play, but then I would feel guilty, and break out the learning books for some lessons. It was a vicious cycle, until one day, I just stopped scheduling.
When I quit scheduling our days, I started to learn so many things:
(1) My kids could entertain themselves. My constant scheduling was creating little children who lacked their own creativity. As I slowed our pace, I started to see them being creative. Lego creations were built, experiments created, and puppet shows performed. Our kids do not need us to entertain them 24/7. It is good and healthy for them to have time where they play by themselves or with their siblings.
(2) We enjoyed the activities/crafts we did choose to do, more. Instead of rushing through a list of activities that no one was enjoying, we would choose activities or crafts that were well suited for our family and current season. I started to learn what methods work better for my kids and how to incorporate learning into play.
(3) My guilt and comparison lessened. It can be easy in a world full of constant interaction via the internet, to compare. We see the mama on Facebook with her themed lunches and instantly compare ourselves. The guilt crowds in and we convince ourselves that we are just not doing it right. It happens way too often in our world. But here is the thing. When we stop trying to be what others are, we learn how to embrace ourselves. We learn how to do what works best in our own homes and there is joy and excitement instead of guilt and comparison.
It is good and important to teach our kids, but it is also important to let them play, explore, and create. Sometimes, some of the greatest lessons they learn in the early years, are when they are just being kids and having fun.
What about you? Do you struggle with over scheduling your kids’ lives?