Surviving Summer

June 19, 2012, Parenting Success Network

Summer has arrived. Everybody is home. No school, no work (mom is home for summer), no homework, no after school activities. Just endless days together, as a family, outside, in the sun, at the park, out with friends. It always sounds so dreamy at first. But I know from years of experience that this is a picture that exists so perfectly in my mind only. I seems as if it just takes a few weeks for the reality of nothing settles in.

“Mom, there is nothing to do!”

“Mom, there is nothing to eat!”

“Mom, there is nobody to play with!”

And before I know it I become the activity planner, the chauffeur, the short order chef, and the play date hostess for the duration of the summer. And all of my dreams of having nothing to do are blown away like a warm summer breeze.

Well not this summer! This summer I have dedicated myself to developing a summer plan that saves my sanity while enriching my children at the same time. Last week I began by posting some links to favorite summer “hot spots” and activities in the Benton County and surrounding areas. With your help on Facebook, I even added to my list. This week I have a few more summer survival ideas.

First, I hope to create a summer routine (and write it down) that builds in responsibilities for all of my children, such as: tidying up their rooms and other shared areas of the house, reading time (studies show that kids who read over summer have greater success in school the following year), snack and lunch times (with options for cooking themselves), outside time (studies also show that unstructured playtime is critical to child development), game time, creative time (arts and crafts etc.) and “down time”. Children look forward to routines and they find comfort in knowing what is expected and when. Of course this is in the absence of any summer “field trips” and activities like those mentioned in last weeks post. And, as with all routines, flexibility and spontaneity are allowed because summer surprises are way too much fun to eliminate completely.

Second, I plan to develop a “to do” list with my kids. We will brainstorm the things that we would like to do with our summer hours such as: training our new puppy, making a stepping stone garden, learning to play hopscotch and double dutch, making homemade ice cream, and planting a new flower garden. Just in case we forget, we can refer to this list in desperate times of nothing to do. Check out this link from for summer “to do” list ideas. Do you and your kids have any creative things on your summer “to do” list? If so, check out our Facebook post titled “Summer Survival” and share your ideas.

Third, I plan to schedule time for myself to do the things on my summer “to do” list as well, such as: plant a garden, take a dance class, and read a novel. As ambitious as it sounds I think my children will benefit from seeing my list and watching me do the things on it. Yes, I will lead by example, probably the most powerful parenting skill we all possess!