Summer Survival Strategy

So after making my way through 10 previous summer breaks since my oldest became a school aged boy, I have developed a few “Survive-and-Enjoy-the-Summer” strategies:

1. Decide what really matters to you in the break time. Accomplishing or relaxing? Travel? Doing new things? For us it’s everyone in the family having the feeling of taking a break from heavy structure and planning. We are very busy during the school year, so in the summer we do NOT over-plan activities. I do not sign kids up for VBS mania because that’s more structure for me, and as I still work full-time in the summer, it would not feel as though I was getting much of a break that way.

2. Assign everyone one household task to handle. This has gotten more involved as the kids are older and more capable of helping. This year, we all sat down and decided Kyler will sweep/vacuum all summer. Klynt will do breakfast/lunch dishes and Emma will bring all laundry down and empty all trash cans. Mom will cook most nights, clean bathrooms, and do laundry.

3. Relax on everything else. This summer I said no one has to make beds. Or get up before 10am (now that I have two teenagers that is a real possibility- Emma will still get up naturally at 7:30) I don’t worry much about bedtimes in the summer, but when my kids were all smaller I still sent them to bed, just not as early.

4. Be festive. Be cheap. Be creative. We have declared “Tuesday Pool Days” (after I get off work at one, we’ll be YMCA pool side till dinner) and we’re planning which Movie Thursday’s we’re going to participate in for the $2 summer specials. We picked 2 local attractions to try out, and one free historic site to visit. I have also declared the Summer of Ice Cream, and we’re trying a new kind of ice cream each week. If you need some creative help, just google “cheap ideas for summer”- you’ll get more than you can possibly use.

5. Plan to rest. Especially when my kids were little, I aimed to have activities done by 3, and we all took an hour or so to rest in the cool house. With less pressure to have dinner on the table early, we could all rest a bit and it allowed us to enjoy those relaxed evenings with good attitudes (mine included). Now that they’re a bit older, the “rest time” is more of an attitude I’ve adopted, than a structured event. The bottom line is resting lowers bickering- which is the one nemesis of all mom’s in the summertime.

Hope you all enjoy the blessings of the summer season in your family! Have some juicy watermelon and a grilled hot dog and watch the fireflies!

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