You’ve seen the Corona commercials. Sitting in a couple of chairs on the beach. Tossing the cell phone into the waves or opening your cerveza with your friends bluetooth earpiece. The beach symbolizes a relaxing, carefree environment. But that environment is void of kids!!
If you have followed the show and blog for any time you know that our beach vacation is nothing calm and carefree. It is typically an action packed week of activities ranging from golf, go carts, target shooting and of course all the typical beach activities. Not that I am complaining, it is a ton of fun and what you would expect from a group of adults who can’t sit still for a long time. Granted, we all like to just sit and stare at the ocean for a little while, but we can’t spend too long idle when there is so much we can do with the kids.
I’ve always known that my oldest appreciates structure. He is the routine guy. He likes rules (unless they require more work out of him) and likes to know what is coming up, what we are doing and being able to plan. What I didn’t think about was how this played over into our vacation. In the past few years we have taken the kids out to the beach one evening for relay races and some photo time which typically included building a human pyramid out of kids (although there has always been on extra kid for a 6 man pyramid so that hasn’t exactly been perfect).
This year we had scheduling issues that prevented all the family from being there all the time. One of my nieces is on an All-Star Softball team that was preparing for the state tournament so she and by brother-in-law were only able to make it down for one day. My other niece was also playing in a state softball tournament the weekend after beach week so she and my sister-in-law had to leave a couple of days early. One nephew had a lacrosse tournament in PA that weekend, another had a baseball tournament somewhere (I finally lost track) so they both left a day early. All this led to a change in the routine that caused us to run out of time to fit everything in. We got in the beach time, a couple of rounds of golf (for the adults, not kids golf this year), a morning of tennis for the kids, go carts and of course beach time but missed out on the relay races and pyramid. My oldest was not happy.
Routines are great, especially when you are starting out as a parent. It gives a sense of normalcy and if we didn’t have a good routine for school day mornings, I would need a lot of counseling. And again, I was surprised at how much it seemed to impact my oldest, even on vacation. But I also think it is good to break the routine from time to time, to teach our kids that being flexible and able to adapt is important too. Life is full of surprises (to take from Allstate) so being able to deal with change and not be stuck in a routine is a valid skill that will help them now and even more later in life.
I plan to go more into this topic on a podcast (yes, still intend to record a few of those, time has been crunched) but would also like your feedback on how routines have helped you and if you see flexibility as important? Comment here or send me an email at DaddyCast@gmail.com. You can also leave an audio message on the Hotline: 804-SOS-LATE (804-767-5283).