Well, summer is here and there is nothing like those loosey goosey days to get your kiddos all out of whack, am I right? I sat down early last week to determine what I need to make the MOST out of summer, having the MOST fun but also not going crazy in the process!!! Here are my tips (to myself) for one successful summer!
MAKE A PLAN One of the worst things to hear in the summer time from my kids is “Mom, I’m bored!!!” Or how about “what are we going to do today?” My response is often, “It’s GOOD to be bored!!!! Go make something to do or I will GIVE you something to do!” And while that is well and good - teaching them to be resourceful and creative is GREAT - it is also good for both them AND me if I have somewhat of a plan for the day. I try to have one ‘activity’ planned each day. Whether that activity is staying home and riding our bikes or going to the neighborhood pool, I try to have ONE goal for the day during the summer. This helps the kids with "boredom" (or them driving me crazy) but it also helps to break up the lazy days of summer. My oldest would just as well sit in front of his XBOX all day, but that makes for a cranky nine year old and an even crankier mom, so most days we try to limit screen time and encourage activity.
I saw on Jess Connoly's Instagram last week that she made these super fancy sheets of paper so the kids could know what to expect. Y'all - I tried this last week and it was such a blessing for me and the kids! Truly, not a lot of effort, but it goes such a long way!
CREATE A RHYTHM Along with plan making - rhythm for my week is always good. I used to get hung up on the word routine, because our life resembles nothing of a routine. But I CAN create rhythm in our week. Mondays are for groceries and other errands, Tuesdays are for play dates, Wednesdays are for pool swimming, Thursdays are for morning park visits or the library and Fridays are for staying home - or something like that. It’s not a rigid rhythm, but more like a fluid balance that helps this momma stay on top of her game. There’s also a slight rhythm to our days as well. Wake up (lazy), eat breakfast leisurely and watch cartoons together while I read with them or do laundry. I usually aim to be “ready” by 10 in the summer. Later, we generally have nap time / quiet time from 2-4. No, my big kids don’t take naps, but they’ll either watch a movie or read in their rooms for a bit so we can all take a break for the day. Again, it’s not rigid but it gives the kids some structure.
PLAN AN ADVENTURE I struggle with this every year and have had some major mom fails. We once went to a traveling circus that was SO rinky-dink that I thought the animals were going to leap over the “fence” and come at us. We went to a local farm for a “tour” and got on a HOT hay ride and then there was literally nothing else to see. The point is - just like we talked about on the Fun Mom Post - it doesn’t have to be HUGE to be an adventure. Local water parks, a new public pool, a trip to the next town to check out a new restaurant. Something NEW and exciting. This happens probably twice in the summer for us - even though my intentions are better than that. Last year we checked out a new public pool that was AWESOME. My kids thought it was the best - even though it was just in next town over, we packed our own lunches and it was definitely not expensive.
If you can go somewhere different and make an adventure of it - even if it’s just for the day - DO IT! Plan a picnic, see a museum, explore a farm, look for historical markers on the side of the road, tour a factory, paddle boat on a local lake. Change up the scenery a handful of times this summer and I bet, the kids won’t stop talking about it. KEEP A RAINY DAY STASH I have a love-hate relationship with rainy summer days. Not because we are super active in the summer, but because I would just assume curl up inside with a cup of tea and read my book or watch a movie but after about seven minutes of this, my kids are screaming at each other and I can’t say “GO OUTSIDE!” when it’s raining cats and dogs! This is when I learned about the rainy day stash. Here are a few ideas of stuff to have on hand for rainy days - or even those days that you can’t leave the house but need to get them busy for a few hours (minutes). Keep cookie dough or muffin mix in the pantry and pull that out to make a treat for a neighbor. Build a fort. Make cookies with Playdough. Watercolor or Dot Paint Keep activity books on hand or just print out sheets from pinterest
Special little lego sets
We have several of those melissa and doug craft kits that the kids get for their birthdays and I have very secretly shoved them to the top of my closet so I can pull them out for this exact purpose!! The dollar spot at Target is great for this, so is Hobby Lobby! GIVE GRACE And loads of it.
It is easy for everyone to get irritated a few weeks (or days) into summer. Wehther it's change in routine, selfishness, staying up late but still getting up early or just plain never having a moment to myself, I have to make sure to give out as much as grace as I need myself! And man, I need LOTS.
The only way I can even attempt this is by getting up early (still) and stealing a few quiet moments with the Lord before the kids get up and start demanding a bit of my attention (and all of the food in the house).
I encourage you to dig into the Word this summer, when the days are a little longer and there isn't a hard and fast schedule for the kids to stick to at all times!
God moves in these slow moments.
And every time we find ourselves in the struggle as one of our kids is melting (or we, ourselves, are), may we then find ourselves looking up instead of throwing our hands up in frustration!!
Happy Summer, y'all!!! HAVE FUN!!