It’s that time of year. It’s not Christmas. It’s not your child’s birthday. It’s summer. Your kids are out of school. They are home.
All. The. Time.
If you’re a working parent, summer can be a nightmare….trying to find a babysitter, a camp…whatever it takes. If you’re fortunate enough to have the summer off and don’t have to find childcare, then your kids are probably with you 24/7. This can also be a nightmare in its own right. That is, if you let it.
I’m probably in the minority here, but I actually enjoy when my kids are off during the summer. It’s actually easier than all the drama during the school year. I don’t have to do school drop offs and pick-ups. There’s no running to activities and “Soccer Saturdays”. Although these are enjoyable in their own little way, they are exhausting. Anyone else agree? It’s nice to not have to inhale breakfast and rush everyone out the door. It’s refreshing to just be able to breathe a little.
While I don’t have to worry so much about childcare during the summer. I do have to worry about keeping the kids occupied and maintaining my sanity at the same time. I’m here to tell you, it can be done. Seriously.
Here’s a little survival guide:
1. Find Free Activities: Summer is full of free, “tire out your kid” activities. Designate one day (or two) as a beach day. Get the kids involved in packing snacks and toys to make it fun for them. If you can, change your beach location so no one gets bored. Build sandcastles. Pick sea shells. You can even paint them when you get home.
Spend another day at a park. Take a bike ride or nature walk. There are so many free outdoor activities that will keep the kids out of the house and happy. Take advantage of what’s nearby so you’re not shelling out a lot in gas money.
2. Keep ‘Em Learning: We all know it’s called summer break, meaning no school. That doesn’t mean your kids don’t pick up a book or practice letters and numbers until September. Designate a half-hour a day to do school stuff. Whether it’s reading, writing, or math…do something! Check out your local library for summer read programs. Many offer incentives based on the number of books your child reads over the summer. Keep their little minds learning. At least it will keep them occupied for awhile.
3. Teach Them to Tag Sale: This is a great way to clean things up and make some cash. Get some friends to join in and pick a good weekend. Make it fun. Let the kids keep some of the money you make. Your house is getting clean, you’re teaching your kids the value of money, and you’re getting outside. It’s a win-win all around!
4. Discount Movies: We all know you could buy a trip to Europe for the price of going to the movies these days. During the summer, many local theaters offer $1 movies at the theater. Granted, they’re re-releases, but still it’s in the movie theater. This is a great way to catch a movie you and the kids may have missed or re-watch one you really love!
5. Just Play: The whole idea of the summer is to relax, isn’t it? Take some time to just play in the yard. Blow bubbles. Run the sprinkler. Draw with chalk. Throw a frisbee. Let kids be kids. Be a kid yourself! You may be surprised at how much fun you’re having and how much less yelling you’re doing.
Don’t forget to carve out some time for yourself. Some time at Grandma’s isn’t going to hurt if you want to have a kid-free meal or get your nails done. It’s all part of keeping your summer sanity!
What do you do to keep it all together during the summer?