Tonight I set up my family activity calendar. This happened simultaneously with setting up my planner. That's right, until tonight I had NOTHING written in the daily planner that I have owned since July. Sometimes I seriously wonder how I have been functioning in every day life! Anyway, since I am now staying home with Andy full time, I've been feeling like I need to establish a weekly activity routine with him. I can only live in a world of Little People for SO long everyday!!
We are fortunate enough to have a family membership to the aquarium in our town and my Dad got us a membership to the children's museum for Christmas. Those are going to be our two primary weekly activities. Right now, for February, I have set up Mondays as aquarium day and Wednesdays as children's museum days. I also went to our county library website and checked out what programs they offer. We are going to try story time for children under 24 months once during February and see how we like it. I did take Andy to story time at Barnes & Noble one day not too long ago, and, although he did well, I just didn't feel like he was old enough to really benefit. I might feel differently, however, if it is story time geared specifically to children under two years old.
We are very lucky to have a fantastic county park system here in Charleston, so I've marked Thursdays in February as park days. We have several fun parks to choose from, so we shouldn't get too bored with that either. I think that I will spend an hour at the beginning of each month checking the websites for the aquarium, children's museum, county library, county parks and the online calendar for Lowcountry Parent Magazine and populate each month's calendar with any special programs or events that we want to try. Eventually, once Andy is older and we (hopefully) have more children, I will most likely move our family activity calendar to a board that everyone can read, but for now, that just seems unnecessary. My planner can finally serve a purpose!
I have found that with Andy's daily schedule, we both crave and thrive on routine. I try VERY hard to stick to meal times, nap time and snack times. It really benefits us both. I can plan appointments or play dates appropriately and Andy knows when to expect meals, nap time and bed time. I know that all children don't take good naps everyday, but Andy takes one 3 hour nap every day and I really feel like a big part of that is because when I felt like he was ready and I noticed him transitioning to one nap a day on his own, I started putting him down at the same time every day regardless of his behavior. I stopped waiting for him to act tired. Now he knows that he takes a nap after lunch everyday and I know that I can put him in his crib awake an he'll put himself to sleep rather quickly.
I think that we will both benefit from the weekly predictability of our "activity days."