Summer is here which means the kids will be out of school and, unless you have your kids in full-time summer care, they will suddenly be home more. And I mean a lot more. The thought of summer conjures up all sorts of images for most of us: iced tea, good books, the beach, swimming pools, lazy dinners and picnics. But, if you have young children, the reality can look more like this: whiny voices proclaiming boredom, wet and dirty footprints on the kitchen floor and thoughts of all of the things you need and want to get done but can’t seem to find time for.
With this in mind, here are my top 5 suggestions for creating a summer that will allow you to enjoy yourself and your kids:
- Create some structure.
Kids crave structure and even though they might groan, creating a schedule sets expectations and helps you avoid the constant questioning about when certain things are going to happen (like when the video games can be turned on). For the past several summers, I’ve included reading time, one-on-one mommy time, chore time and yes, even screen time, into our days. It’s all very flexible, of course, but having a loose schedule ensures that we never accidentally end up with a full day of nothing to do.
- Plan some fun.
It’s summer, after all, and if you remember back to when you were a kid, summer is full of fun possibilities. Talk to your kids about what will make the summer a success. Arrange time to go to an amusement park or the beach or take a picnic to your local park. Plan a day where you pretend you are visiting your own town and do all of the touristy things you never take the time to do. Put those activities on your calendar now so you know they will happen. Plus, having them scheduled will give you all something to look forward to.
- Get some help.
The help I’m talking about includes day camps, babysitters, play dates and child swaps. Especially if you work from home, you need to have some time you can count on to be productive. You and your kids also need breaks from each other so make sure you have some (or all) of these items in place before that first day of summer vacation and you’ll ensure a smooth transition.
Summer is a time to enjoy yourselves. Find time to read under the shade of a tree. Enjoy the fresh berries that are available this time of year. Run under a sprinkler. Camp in your backyard. And roast marshmallows, even if it’s just on your grill. Unless you live somewhere that is warm and sunny year round, this is your only opportunity of the year to do some of these things. Do them and have a blast while you are at it.
Erin Baebler is passionate about working with women to help them explore, grow and share their gifts with the world. She recognizes that we all have talents and interests we can use to impact our worlds and the world at large. She began coaching in 2002 and has loved every minute of it! She's trained and certified through The Coaches Training Institute and has an additional certification through The International Coach Federation, the professional association of personal and business coaches. She lives in Seattle with my family. Learn more about Erin at http://www.magnoliaworkshop.com/