Our summer has officially begun in these parts and to be honest, I always feel a little anxious about these ten short weeks. To add a bit to my anxiety, I keep being reminded that we only have 18 summers with our kids and I am down to 8! This year, I am doing just a few things to make sure we are getting summer off to a great start.
If we are honest, it does take a little planning to make things run smoothly. Certainly we are not meant to entertain our children every waking minute. But, even the slightest bit of structure can make a world of difference and make things easier for you. . Admittedly, being a bit of a Type-A mom, I do love the routine that the school year brings and want to keep at least a bit of that during the summer.Here are few ways to get your summer off to a great start-and keep it that way!
Sit down as a family and make a summer bucket list.
Over the past few years, making a list of the special things we’d like to do over the summer has become a tradition. Each family member gets to write several activities down. We make a point to try to do as many of these as possible. I hang the list in a prominent place to help me remember to put some extra effort into planning those things.
Decide on your expectations for your kids.
When would you like your kids up and dressed? What chores will they have to do? How much screen time will they have?. Getting your kids input is key. Talk it over with them and let them have a say in matters like chores and screen time.
Setting a time for kids to be up and dressed can make a huge difference. This is a little thing that can have such a big effect. It can set the tone for the day, without any moaning and groaning. We set a dressed and bed made by 7am expectation (because my kids wake up at 6am).
It’s easy to let chores fall by the wayside during the summer when you are out of your normal routine. But chores year round make kids feel a part of the family, instill a sense of responsibility, and make them feel important. I allow my kids to choose their chores as they do during the school year. Even though summer brings new choices–weeding, gardening, taking care of the potted plants– My kids chose to do the bathrooms. I’ll take it!
Screen time can get away from you in the summer if you are not careful. I loosen up on our screen time rules over the summer, but still have to set clear boundaries. My kids liked the idea of a bit more screen time and agreed to my 4:30 to 5:30 window for being on devices. Setting these clear limits stops them from asking all day. On days we are out and about, they just don’t have screen time. Usually an extra hour at the pool trumps screen time.
Use a big wipe off calendar.
Seriously I think I am way behind in this. But I suddenly felt the need for a big wipe off family calendar. My kids are getting old enough now that they need to start being more responsible for their schedule. It also helps with my son’s anxiety to see the plans that we do have in plain sight-no surprises. I am sure I will not know how I lived without this.
I do feel like a big weight has been taken off my shoulders now that I have just a few things in place. By putting a little routine and rhythm into our days we are freed up to enjoy all those things that summer brings our way – including lots of down time.
I’d love to know how you add a little routine to your summer days. Please drop me line!