The following is a guest post by Jessica Fisher of Life As Mom.
Summertime approaches! Just the idea of it makes me smile. The word evokes memories of my childhood — carefree days with no agenda. I long to give my children the same happy memories of summer.
You know the chant: No more papers, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks? Since I happen to be my children’s teacher, I’m more than happy to wipe some dirty looks off my own face, to kick off my shoes, lie in the hammock, and drink cool beverages poolside. As summer vacation approaches, I look forward to a lessening of my work load and to being more “plain old mom.”
However, all moms, regardless of their schooling choices know that summer with kids is not all bare feet, carefree days spent lazing in a lounge chair. The kids are on vacation, too!
And so thoughts may trickle in like, “What am I going to do with the kids all day long?”
The truth is that boredom can drive any man, woman or child toward mischief, wreaking havoc on the household. All the more so when the weather is hot and neighborhood friends have dispersed on vacations.
The remedy? Plan some simple summer fun into every day that gives structure and intentionality as well as leaves room for those lazy poolside moments.
After fifteen years of motherhood, I’ve found that routines help us all to stay on a even keel. And summer lends itself to some very cool routines.
Here are a few:
1. Read some great books.
No matter your child’s reading skill, summer is the ideal time to practice reading and reading comprehension. Consider instituting a daily time of reading in your home. Kids can curl up with a good book and take a trip in their imaginations. Older kids can read on their own while younger ones might “read pictures” or be read to by you or an older sibling. Discuss the books together and see if you can help your children make connections to real life.
Make the online slots library your friend this season. Participate in summer reading programs where kids earn incentives or institute your own reading club at home.
And be sure to jump into some family read alouds. Kids of all ages love to hear a great story in community. I’ve had certain husbands and teenage sons stop in their tracks to listen to a rousing rendition of Old Yeller.
2. Cook together.
Schedule a cooking lesson a few times per week where you encourage your children to help out in the kitchen, stirring batter, setting the table, making a salad. It doesn’t have to be dinner; breakfasts, snacks and lunches are low-key moments to spend some time in the kitchen together.
Encourage your children to help you with the meal planning by asking them about their favorite meals and side dishes.
Do yourself a favor and teach each person to clean up after himself.
3. Get outside.
Fresh air and exercise is great for every member of the family. It’s especially helpful in using up pent-up energy.
Plan for time spent at the pool, beach, or park each week. Make after dinner walks a nightly family ritual. Work in the garden or wash the car together. Consider dining (or breakfasting) al fresco to enjoy the great outdoors a little more.
Last year I packed a suitcase-full of ideas into an ebook, titled The Summer Survival Guide This manual for moms includes a range of ideas and activities to enjoy with children from toddler to 12. It is 180 pages of book and film recommendations, craft ideas, recipes, and loads of activities to help give structure and a taste of fun to your summer daze. (Note from Kara: we used the Summer Survival Guide last year and had a great time with it! We”re looking forward to more fun this year.)
Use the code SIMPLEKIDS to buy The Summer Survival Guide for $5. (This code will expire on May 30th.)
How do YOU plan to have a simpler summer?
Mother of six, Jessica Fisher writes about parenting hacks at LifeasMOM and posts delicious ways to act your wage at . She is also the author of Organizing Life as MOM – a 170 page e-guide complete with customizable planning pages and inspiration for home management as well as Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook.