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As of next week, my kids will officially be on summer vacation. I have fond memories of my childhood summers, full of warm weather, freedom, friends, and lots of fun. Summer time as a mother is a whole different ball game. Having the kids home all day and staying sane all summer is an overwhelming task.
In the past, I would just kind of wing it and hope for the best. Well, friends, that approach was not successful. Often we would be left with nothing to do and more screen time than I care to admit. By the end of the day, my fuse was completely burned out. We need a little more structure in our days in order for everyone to be happy. That is why I have decided to do it differently this year.
I’m sure many of you can relate and want to find a way to better manage your summer. That, my friends, is why I am sharing my plan with you today. I hope that this helps you create a summer that you can actually enjoy. Here are the steps I am taking to make this summer one for the books:
Summer Bucket List
Gather the kids and have a brainstorming session of all the things you want to do this summer. This is a great way to get lots of activity ideas that you know your kids will enjoy. Some of the ideas my kids came up with were going to a different playground every week, making popsicles, and visiting a farm. The ideas do not have to be elaborate or require lots of effort. It’s also likely that you will not get to do all of the ideas, and that’s okay. The point here is to get ideas for things to do that you know everyone will enjoy.
Research Free Activities
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go broke this summer. While I certainly want to have a lot of fun, I don’t want to spend a lot of money doing it. In the summer, you can find all sorts of free events from free concerts and free outdoor movies. In my area, there is a “Free Fun Fridays” where local museums and other cultural venues offer free admission for the day. It is a great way to take the kids somewhere special without breaking the bank.
Create A Daily Routine
Even though summer is a time of relaxation and freedom, there are still things that need to be done. I am the one in my family responsible for 95% of household duties and I work from home. If I neglected these things, my home would fall to ruin and I would be fired. Not good. My youngest also takes an afternoon nap every day, during which I enjoy much needed quiet time. Get the kids together and come up with a routine that everyone agrees upon. Think about when will you do chores, when you will go out, and anything that you know needs to happen regularly. I find that when my kids are involved in the decision making process, there is much less resistance when it comes time to follow through.
Plan For Rainy Days
Inclement weather can really throw a wrench in your plans if you’re not prepared. This doesn’t just apply to rainy days either. Plans will fall through, regardless of the weather. It is a good idea to have a backup plan for when that happens or chaos may ensue. That is why this year I have enrolled in the Kids Cook Real Food course, which I am really excited about! Many of the bucket list items my kids came up with involved making food, so I thought they would be very interested in learning how to cook. I love the idea of my kids learning a valuable life skill and I know that there is plenty of content to keep them occupied with over 8 weeks worth of classes. The best part is that all of my kids can get involved, even my 2 year old. The skills taught range from super easy (ex: measuring, careful pouring) to advanced (ex: Sauteing vegetables, sharp knife skills). It will also be a lot easier to get dinner on the table with help from the kids, once they learn the skills required. I strongly suggest you check it out and you can enroll by clicking here.
Map It Out
Get a calendar or planner and write in anything that has a definite date like vacations, family reunions or summer camps. After that, fill in the blanks with the ideas you came up with in your brainstorm and research. Resist the urge to overschedule. Let me say that again – RESIST THE URGE TO OVERSCHEDULE! Everyone needs some down time to just lounge around. I also believe that it is so important for kids to be bored occasionally. This is a great way to spark their creativity, and teaches them to manage unstructured time.
Even though I have mapped out my summer plans, they are not set in stone. We may not get to do everything on the schedule and that’s okay. If we get an unexpected request for a playdate, we can ditch the plan and do that instead. Or if a friend invites us to their beach cottage for the day last minute, I want to be able to say yes. I want to have some semblance of a structure to the summer, but I am not tied to it being 100% perfect. In fact, I am not even expecting it to be perfect. There will be days where the kids watch more TV than normal or that we just stay in our PJ’s all day. I have accepted that. Just go with it.
This structure has relieved most of my anxiety regarding summer vacation. Now that I have a plan in place I am looking forward to spending more quality time and making lasting memories. What are you planning for you summer?