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  • Katie Smith


Whenever someone brings home their first baby, they typically respond one of two ways: the baby will be on our schedule, we like our routine, or we have no clue what we are doing, we are just hoping to keep it alive. I personally think there is wisdom in both trains of thought.

There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen when raising a child; thus, the "village" raising that child can get pretty loud. Even if the volume comes in quiet, side comments. Your kids are on quite a routine; I don't want to mess up that schedule. Maybe you should break those habits now and again by adding a little structure to their day.

Unfortunately, child-rearing advice doesn't correlate as seamlessly as diaper-changing ones. Everyone knows that what works for one kid, on one day, may not work with the next on the next day. Yet there is still a plethora of practical advice at our fingertips.

That said, even though I seek to share my structured peace in chaos, I only know what has helped our four little humans grow. I know that before I brought home a baby I wanted my kids on my schedule (don't we all seek to be uninterrupted in the things we love?), but when God gave us a child with developmental disabilities (and two more babies after that) we threw our schedules out the window and opened our hands to His.

Simple structure must be embraced with flexibility because, as every parent knows, children are not computers, and there isn't always a formula for troubleshooting their problem. More than that, if you throw a few more kids in the mix, you are liable to get overheated if you haven't mastered flexibility.

This pandemic shut down has been a "reboot" for families. Many have taken the opportunity to create new healthy habits while others are just trying to keep their computers from combusting, literally. There is no harm in either, so long as the motives are pure. When we refuse to bend in any direction because of "selfish ambition or vain conceit", we subject ourselves to wreckage and collateral damage.

It's comical to read between the lines of a 1950s baby scheduler. How little and how much has changed over time....

I will let it speak for itself, but I am very curious about the writer. Did she/he work? Did she have help? Did she have more than one child? It's easy to post something and make a comment, but the back stories are far more enlightening.

We just completed our first year of homeschooling, hybrid-style. School's out for the summer! However, there's a difference between letting young children run free outside all day as they did in the 50s, and still keeping an eye on those little boys under the age of ten. There's something to be said for structuring little boys until they learn to literally run with their own creativity.

James Dobson quoted his own dad in his book Bringing up Boys, and it stuck with me. "If you let that kid get bored, you deserve what he's going to do to you." I don't think it's a bad thing for kids to experience boredom because that is when the real creativity begins, but I think he's speaking more to the importance of guidelines for little guys. You can't tell one of my preschoolers to go "find something to do". There are those rare times that they'll find something productive, but that's only when their eldest siblings have modeled it appropriately. All other instances involve major clean-up on the back end.


Thus, you don't have to be a Pinterest mama to be purposeful. For summer, I would suggest having a general outline for your week or month so that your kids know what is expected of them.

When chores are achieved, when silence should start, when errands can be arranged, and if you know the weather looks particularly ominous, pull out some hands on stations (playdough, puzzles, paper, princesses) so they have some place to start.

If you give them the building blocks, they'll begin to lego their own tiny towns without your assistance. They may even forget about screens for a sec and later thank you for shutting down the computer.

~Carefully Careless

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