Thursday, May 29, 2014

Six Secrets to Summer!

School is out for summer!  It is the favorite time of year for most children I know.  But parents enter this transition with mixed feelings.  What does the new schedule look like, if there is a schedule at all.  Will the siblings be bored and fighting within a few hours of the final school bell?  Will there be tears about going to camp?  The questions about what the summer will hold are rattling around in every parent's brain.  I can still remember feeling the panic that would set in, while attending the final performance at school...oh no, what am I going to do now that they won't be in school?

Here are some tips for making the most out of your summer, from a mom who has weathered 25 years of them!

  1. Have a plan:  Summer is the time to kick back a little and relax, but children always adjust better when there is some structure in their lives.  Explain to them what a summer day will be like.  A schedule that used to work for our family was swim lessons and then chores and study time in the morning, and when the "work was done, it was time for fun!"  But depending on the age and maturity levels of your children, you will need to find what works for you.
  2. Make a list:  Get out the markers and a poster board and have some fun brainstorming simple activities you hope to do this summer.  This list is a great way to inspire your children to think about what they hope to do with you.  If you are in need of some ideas, head over to Pinterest for inspiration.  Or check out the website.
  3. Enjoy the simple things:  Go play at a park, pack a picnic, take a bike ride, visit your library and sign up for the children's programs, color, play board games, make lemonade, bake a cake, go swimming, hike in a forest preserve, run through a sprinkler, visit a farmer's market.  There are so many opportunities for simple summer fun.
  4. Guard against summer slump:  Academics shouldn't disappear for the entire summer.  Keep your children learning and growing but embrace fun ways to stay sharp.  Play math games in the car, write poems to each other, visit museums and zoos to learn new things about history or animals.
  5. Think outside the box: One year we placed a small tent in our yard and encouraged the kids to use it for a "special" reading place.  Even though it got hot inside, they loved this idea of a unique place of their own.  So get creative and do something different whether it is pitching a tent, planting a garden, or painting a mural.  Kids love the opportunity to experience new things.
Savor the summer.  Remember to view family life with rose colored glasses.  To use a metaphor, see your bucket as half full rather than half empty.  Eventually you will run out of summers with your little ones.  They grow up so fast, so seize the day!  Live summer to the fullest and enjoy this precious time with your children. 

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