3 Steps to Get Through Summer (Without Being Totally Exhausted)
Summer break always starts with an initial honeymoon phase. Free mornings, fewer extracurricular activities, homework-free evenings and no more overscheduled kids. But then the first few weeks of bliss pass, and it hits you: summer vacation is not a vacation for Mom. You’re even more run down keeping the kids occupied 24/7!
Summer days are longer, and trying to find things to keep your kids busy and away from the TV or computer can be challenging. Here’s the good news: with a basic schedule and some organization, summer really can be fun without being exhausting. Here’s how:
Step 1: Create a Monthly Calendar
No, not a countdown until the kids go back to school. This is a schedule of fun summer activities, starting with the events and activities you already have planned. Grab a calendar and pencil in dates for:
- Camp, summer school and sports practices
- Visits to relatives you don’t see during the school year
- Day trip excursions to waterparks, amusement parks, museums, etc.
- Family vacations and weekend trips
Don’t forget to add in lots of downtime for the kids to play, do fun crafts and just chill. Maybe even sneak in a couple of those home projects you’ve been meaning to get to, like cleaning out the garage or organizing the kids’ closets. Put on some music and make the job fun, Mary Poppins-style.
Step 2: Add Fun Projects
Now that you have important dates and activities scheduled on your calendar, fill in the missing pieces by adding in fun, time-consuming projects for the kids. This can help ward off mid-summer boredom and get creative juices flowing. Just be sure to keep things simple, mess free and age-appropriate so your brilliant plan doesn’t backfire on you.
Here are a few awesome summer projects you can do with the kids to stave off boredom and keep everyone entertained and engaged.
- Let’s Go Fly A Kite! Get your little engineers’ wheels turning by building a kite together! They’ll be learning and having fun while they build, test and make adjustments to their aeronautical creation. Teach them to work together and play to their strengths; one kid may be more focused on the structural design when the other is more interested in the visual design.
Once they have a fully airborne kite, reward them with a trip to a beach or big park where they can fly their masterpiece for everyone to see!
- Picture This. Have your kids choose a category or subject matter to photograph, like animals, flowers or their favorite color. Then, go for a walk together or take a trip into town, and let them go crazy snapping photos in their category. Make a final compilation in the form of a book.
- Take One – Ready, Action! How about going to the movies right in at home? Kids can make their own movie with a set of photos using a recorder on a phone or camera. They can organize, edit, and add music with programs like Vimeo or iMovie. Have them make a video using all of your holiday or vacation photos set to a family theme song. It’s better than the theater and think of all the money you saved!
- Express Yourself! Art can be anything from painting and drawing, to sculpting and modeling, to building a digital robot, to set design or costumes making. Let them express themselves freely so they can find what creative avenue excites them. Have paints, colored pencils, Play-Doh or Model Magic on hand. At the end of the week, take them to a pottery studio where they get to paint their very own clay pottery piece.
Step 3: Be ready for DONE Days
It’s okay that some days you need a break from your kids – even adults need alone time. I call these done days, because I AM DONE for the day! We’ve all been there when we can’t muster up enough energy to do much of anything and want to respond with “food here, water there, go to bed.” For DONE days, you need a plan so you’re not yelling at the kids when your patience disappears!
Preselect appropriate movies, series or documentaries and set an amount of time. Sometimes mom needs a break with no interruptions. By having prepared these choices, the kids will be occupied giving you worry-free mom time during those done moments. After an hour or two you may feel rejuvenated, like you loaded up on a double dose java!
Wrap up the end of summer with a family celebration. Highlight any of your favorite outings, cook your favorite summer recipe and display the best works of art created. You did it. Before you know it, the two months are up and it’s back to school again. I bet you can’t wait for next summer! Now I’m feeling sappy just thinking about the kids all day at school away from MOMMY. Hugs anyone?