Summer is here. Lila reminds me daily that it’s Summer. And asks me daily if it’s Summer. Not sure what’s going on in that adorable little head of hers but it’s hard to wrap it around Summer. Do we go to school? Why not? Why isn’t daddy off for the summer(um…do you want to starve? Ok then), why don’t we live at the beach? Lot’s of questions from the now 3 year old about this weird and crazy and AWESOME time of year.
They have no idea how good they have it.
Anyway, with Summer comes lots of noise, and laundry(make it stop. Beach towels are KILLING me), playdates, pool parties, sunscreening, summer sports, more laundry, a messy house that just doesn’t seem to get straight for more than .3 seconds, wet bathing suites left on the CARPET(this drives me MAD), waffles, Chick Fil A, and snow cones. Summer is a beautiful thing. If you’re a stay at home mom spending the summer with your crazy little blessings, bless you. If you’re a working mom juggling schedules and vacations and camps. Bless you. I don’t know you do it and I have mad respect for you.
I know Summer can get a little shaky after the first few week’s of the honeymoon phase. You suddenly realize you won’t think a full and complete thought for the next how many months now? Lord I don’t even want to think about it. Then, if you are like me, you have blissful moments when you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Because here’s the deal. MY kids are still young enough to think I”m cool. They want to play with me and be around me. And I need to jump on that while I can. Yes, sometimes they drive me to a closet just to have time alone with my thoughts, but I love them something fierce.
Part of loving on them this Summer means taking some practical steps to keeping all our sanity in tact. Here are some things we do(not rigidly) or at least try to do during the summer to keep it together and keep everyone from killing each other.
Make a Schedule
Ok so I’m not a schedule person. I’m a let’s just wing it person. But I’ve tried this in the summer. IT DOESN’T WORK. Your kids (esp if they are in school) spend the majority of their year with a schedule. The temptation when school get’s out is to let them so completely off the hook that they are free to roam free on a daily basis. This may last about 2 days then they are getting into trouble, leaving your house a mess, or fighting non stop with their siblings. So, give them a schedule. Here’s how our day looks:
Morning: 45 min screen time(our lovely first week of summer got my boys xbox taken away for the ENTIRE summer. Yep. Mean mom). So, they can watch Phineas and Ferb or some other Netflix option….or Beauty and the Beast for Lila (They dig it). They usually end up all in my bed on the iPad watching a show together. It’s really cute. Even though I usually end up getting kicked in the face. Moving on.
This generally takes 5 hours at least because I have to repeat the breakfast options to the boys about a thousand times. What is the deal? Why can’t boys hear things the first time they come flying out of your mouth?!
Out for an activity
(like how specific my scheduling is?). We go to the pool, splash park, play date with friends, errands, grocery store(which they HATE but have to get over if they wanna eat), library(I owe about $500 dollars to the local library, so we avoid it at all costs), more pool, camps. Something to get them out of the house and burn off some energy.
We will either eat out or head home for lunch time. I try to space out the eating out otherwise they’d be at Sonic or ordering food by the pool every day. Once a week is what I shoot for. Then we’ll do snow cones or ice cream once a week. This keeps them reigned in.
Lila Nap/Rest Time
While Lila naps I have the boys break up the afternoon a little. Again, this isn’t an hour by hour schedule. Some days she naps at 12:30….other’s at 3:30. Flexible nappers rule in my book. This is just a general guideline to keeping some order to our day. During Lila’s nap I have them read, rest in their beds if they’ve been swimming or are acting worn out, chores(putting their laundry away), and outside time. We’ll make smoothies and play basketball. But I always enforce some sort of down time and separate the boys if I can for a bit. It’s good for them to have their own space.
We play outside a lot late afternoon because our driveway is shaded. Take advantage of moments when it’s not 23,900 degrees outside for them to get out and play a bit. We’ll have dinner and watch a baseball game or go back outside. I love the ease of Summer nights. We still get them to bed at a decent time most nights so we can relax, but I love not HAVING to.
Yesterday we went to Half Priced Books and found out they have summer reading points. You can track your minutes and earn bucks towards a new book in the store. Score. Several places including the library does this, and it’s a great way to encourage them to read. My boys are competitive with each other so they were on it as soon as we got home and counting up their minutes already.
Yes. Go to Target or Wal-Mart. Get some giant outdoor buckets and fill those puppies up with water and let them loose. My kids LOVE this. We don’t have a pool in our back yard but they will play with water guns and giant buckets of water for hours. Sometimes I even let them have Sundae Monday. We’ll get chocolate sauce, whipped cream and sprinkles and they can douse each other in it. They have a blast and it can easily be washed right off the driveway. My neighbors think we are insane. Keeping McKinney classy.
Sorry this is sideways..I CAN NOT fix it. So just turn your head=)
If you’re like me, you don’t always feel like having extra kids in your house. Sometimes the extra noise isn’t welcome and that’s ok. Other days I feel totally up for more kiddo’s running around so I try to take advantage and let the kids have some friends over. It gives them a break from each other and breaks up all the togetherness. Plus it’s fun and part of summer. So, work them in when you can.
We don’t do a ton of camps. Honestly, I don’t want to have that many things on my calendar in the summer. The school year is insane enough. But, there are SO many to choose from in most places. Sports or art or reading and writing. So many options. Both our boys are playing Summer basketball so I laid off camps a little. But, they are each doing one and then will do reading/writing camps with their school in August. It’s just enough so I have some things to break up the summer(since we vacation the first week of summer, we’re here for the long haul).
Get your kids in the kitchen with you. Mine love it. We make lots of healthy treats and some not so healthy. We make smoothie’s together and ice cream and pumpkin bread..because it’s good year round. Trust us.
I don’t craft. But, I have two kids who really get into it. So, we took a trip to Michael’s(where I break out in hives) and I let them pick out a couple cheap things to keep them busy. Josh got a minion thing that he’s been working on almost a week. Win. Lila got some paint for her birthday and even though she’s covered in it, it’s keeping her entertained. Dinnertime is a great time to have them sit down at the table and work on something of their choice while you cook. Turn on some fun music and everyone seems to totally chill.
PUT THEM TO WORK
People. Don’t raise lazy kids. I’m begging you. Give them jobs. Make them appropriate for their age but make those kids do something. They live in your house free and clear and do not need to grow up thinking they are entitled to laziness. They may fuss and moan and complain but trust me, it’s good for their hearts and their minds. And they will probably enjoy it once they start. Make it a game or a competition. Crank some loud music in your house and make a party out of it. Make chore charts or whatever you need to do to keep them working a little for you over the summer. Remember, everything they have is given to them FOR FREE. It’s ok to remind them that part of being a family and living in a household is chipping in and working.
So there you have it. Some very practical ways to keep Summer enjoyable and fun and happy and not entirely hair-raising. I know it can be hard but it can also be so fun and sweet, especially if your kids are young and still like you. Take advantage of it. Before you know it they’ll be teenagers driving around in all their freedom. So enjoy them now while you have them around.