SummerTIME: 3 suggestions for a Mama bear and her cubs to effectively enjoy all that extra time together.
"Mom, I'm bored. What can I do?"
"What do we have to eat?"
Does this sound familiar? Do you typically hear these words by 9:30 a.m. on summer mornings and again every hour following? I was getting a little anxious thinking about the looming summer and knew I needed to come up with a quick solution. Summer is great for being able to let go of our so called schedules to enjoy all things summer — going to the pool, late nights making s'mores and cuddling up and watching a movie together — but then there can also be SO much open ended time. Time where the kids want to watch tv, play on iPads, iPhones, gaming devices, etc simply because they think they own said "free" time.
Honestly, this was never an issue until my son got closer to the age of 6. There is a serious transition from little kid to 6 year old. Anyone else see this transition and get a little freaked out? Just when you think you have a kid figured out they grow again.
Maybe I am in the minority, but for me, as a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom, it's a lot of work coming up with creative ways to keep my kids busy and engaged all day, every day. So like any (slightly crazed) go-getter Mom would do, I came up with a plan.
Here are 3 ways to help your kids manage their summer TIME and keep Mama sane!
1. Come up with a general schedule for your week.
Sit down Sunday night and pencil in some weekly goals. It makes a huge difference in our day when we get dressed, eat breakfast and get out of the house for a little bit. Here are some general ideas:
- Monday — Meet up day. Find some friends and go to the park.
- Tuesday — Go to the Library.
- Wednesday — Pool day.
- Thursday — Baking day.
- Friday — Field day, play day... FriYAY!
You can find several printables on pinterest for a summer "schedule" with kids. Follow my Pinterest board to see more fun summer activities to do with kids.
2. Make a list of goals.
Jude and I sat down together and wrote down a list of goals we wanted to accomplish this summer, places we wanted to go, things we wanted to do, a little summer bucket list. It was so much fun, and it gives us so much to look forward to! Jude and Lila were both really into it and will go to our list and say, "Mom, what can we scratch off our summer bucket list this week?!" Our goal is not to make unattainable lists that will never be complete, our goal is to teach the kids about goals and how great it feels to accomplish them. I try to incorporate the importance of God in our every day and we will re-visit our trip or day to recognize how blessed we are to get to do the things we do and how God truly delights in the details of our day and rewards hard work.
3. Create some visuals aides.
Those rainy summer days tend to creep up on us and can feel like they last for-EVER. Plus, a Mama has way more to do than be her kid's personal entertainment all day long. Cooking, cleaning, all those fun things we may not love to do, but ultimately need to get done (confession — I truly do not like to cook). I am a pretty big advocate for giving the kids a direction and encouraging them to get creative. I love to watch my kids play and hear all the nonsense they dream up. The other night I came up with some visuals to encourage some independence and creativity.
- Jude wanted to set a goal of reading 25 books this summer as part of his summer bucket list. So I created a little gumball machine on a piece of paper and divided it into books that he reads personally and books that we read together, along with a reward system when he reaches certain goals. He was PUMPED to say the least. He immediately dove into reading (something he did not attempt once through the school year) and almost finished his first book he read to himself in a couple hours. He wanted to have 5 read the first day, so we had to talk about realistic goal setting. ;)
- I also created a little "activity jar" filled with suggestions on ways they can keep themselves busy. Some of our suggestions are: dance party, make a self-portrait, nerf gun fight, run through the sprinklers, etc. This has been a huge hit as well. Even if they pick something they do not really want to do at the time, it gets their little minds thinking and they run off to play and/or create. Which allows some breathing room for mom to do those little necessary tasks.
Above all, I want to enjoy my kids this summer. I will be the first to admit that I can lean toward being task oriented and miss all those silly giggles and hugs during these crucial and precious years because I am so focused on getting the cooking, cleaning and errands done. Ultimately, taking care of my kids and house are all important and part of my job, but when it comes down to it, I do not want my kids to remember their Mom as someone who was distracted and always working on getting her tasks done. I want my kids to remember talks about Jesus, random dance parties, outside adventures and playing games together. That is my goal as a Mom.
I see some great things ahead this summer with this super flexible way of trying to maintain some order and spontaneity (which is necessary for my and Jude's personality). I would love to hear your suggestions on what you plan to do with your kiddos this summer! #mamasunite and make this a summer to remember, a summer of laughter and fun, not boredom and stress. Make sure you follow us on @happylittlemessblog on instagram to keep up with our summer bucket list and activities.
Enjoy the sun and don't forget your sunscreen! ;)