It's summer, it's summer! I feel a little bit like Olaf from "Frozen" right now... you know the part where he sings about how awesome he thinks summer will be? There's a line from the song that say's "Bees'll buzz, kids'll blow dandelion fuzz, and I'll be doing whatever snow does in summer." Ok, just replace the "snow" with "mom" and that is how I am kind of feeling right now! Kids are out of school tomorrow, and I have visions of us lovingly spending screen-free time together, doing a service project everyday, and throwing in a few educational activities to help prevent the summer slide, no one will be grouchy and there will never be any fighting because we will be so busy having fun! Sigh. Won't it be beautiful?
But I happen to know what happens to snow in the summer, and I'm pretty sure somewhere that Kristoff is whispering to Anna that he's just going to tell me the truth-summer as a mom can be hard! Trying to stay up on the yard and house while keeping little one's entertained and engaged is a lot of work! We will definitely have a lot of fun, but I've done this summer thing a few times before, and here is a more accurate picture of what also might be coming....Mom! I'm hungry! Mom! I want to watch another show! ...MOM! I'M BORED!
I've done this summer thing a few times before (my boys are 10, 7, and 4.) So after years of trial and error, I've decided that the following plan will work best for my family (and my sanity!) So feel free to borrow any of the ideas, and the printable's below. Simply right click on the image and click "save image as" to save to your computer. The "Summer Bucket List" is sized to be 8 x 10. The daily schedule is sized as a 16 x 20( but can be printed as an 8 x 10. I just printed mine at Costco. (Clipart used were created by KPM Doodles on Etsy.)
1. Print the above images. I framed mine so that I could write on the glass with dry-erase markers.
2. Sit down with your family and fill out the bucket list of things we would like to do. We had each boy pick one thing that was most important to them, so we could make sure at least that happened at some point.
3. I will fill out the daily schedule each night for the coming day. Plans may change, but at least there is a plan! On the left, I will write in the meals for that day. Hopefully to stave off the constant groans of "I'm hungry!" and "there's nothing to eat!" In the middle section there will be a loose schedule. I'm not adding times--when the kiddo's have had enough of one activity, we will move to the next. In the third column I will have jobs for the day as well as our fun activity for the day.
The hardest thing about summer for me has been trying to get all of the normal house and yard jobs done while the kids were all home. My solution this year is that we will do a little bit of work each day, and we will do it TOGETHER. Wish me luck!
My (Sample) Schedule:
Get Ready: Dressed, breakfast, hair and teeth brushed, room tidied
Outside Time: Play outside, go on a bike ride or walk to the park, etc. Spend 20 minutes working together on the yard while we're out there.
Brain Chase-I heard about this program last year. We tried it and loved it! It is online learning combined with a global treasure hunt. Highly recommend! For my littlest guy this is when we will read stories, do puzzles, etc.
Lunch/Cleanup-I will probably have the boys spend a few minutes doing a 20 minute household chore right after lunch.
Quiet Time- Guess what? Mom's and Dad's. Need. Breaks! It's important all of the time to have breaks and rest periods throughout the day. It is even more so in summer when there is so much going on! The kids will each be able to choose a few toys or activities that they can play with quietly in their room for 1 hour. (Based on the age of your child, just make sure the environment is safe, and that they can call you if they need you.) There is a great podcast called "Mommy's Quiet Time" over at Power of Moms with lots of great tips to help encourage quiet time with your own little one's.
Planned Activity-Some days this might be a bucket list item. Other days it might just be something fun (and easy!!) we have found on Pinterest-to see my board go here.
Dinner/Cleanup-My goal is to have everyone help with making and cleaning up dinner. I'm going to try it. No guarantees. This time of day is usually a little tricky at our house-everyone is starting to get hungry, tired, and a little grouchy with each other. I'm hoping this will keep us all busy and I won't have to play referee while getting dinner on the table.
Play Inside or Outside- The best part of the day as far as I'm concerned is those golden hours just after dinner when everything is pretty much done for the day, the heat starts to wane, and the kids can play in the yard!
Bath or Shower
Story, Prayers, Bed!
I hope some of these things can be helpful to you. It doesn't have to be involved, but it is nice having a plan! What has worked for you over the summers? Please share!