If you listen closely, you may hear some quiet under the breath whispers coming from fellow parents:
“Is it September yet?”
Not that any of us wants to let go of warm weather and flip flops anytime soon, but days when my kids are at each others throats and constantly underfoot I have said it too…
I chose not to put my kids in summer camps as I
am tired of driving their little butts around figure they have enough structure during the rest of the year. Aside from daily swimming lessons, we are free as birds. My intention was to take this free time and explore new places and revisit old favorites but I forgot one important fact:
My kids are loathe to go anywhere and they will WHINE LIKE CRAZY when I try to take them out.
Me: Let’s go to the beach
Them: NOOOO I hate the beach!
Me: How about a picnic at the spray park?
Them: NOOOO its sooooo boring!
Me: We need to take a drive to ***** so let’s stop for lunch
Them: NOOO I hate lunch!
I can’t win…
Whether you are a stay at home parent or are simply taking your vacation in the summer months all kids all the time can be a lot to deal with. So here are my coping mechanisms:
Try a new attraction, a different beach, pool, local farmers market, country drive etc. I like to schedule lessons (if any) mid-day so that we break up the day, and there are lots of summer activities going on in Calgary and Vancouver.
Crafts, Games & more
Most kids like crafts. Hit up the dollar store for fun cheap crafts, check out the plethora of craft blogs on the net and get inspired. My kids still love play dough and will play for a good hour. New coloring books and a new package of markers are a novelty. Pinterst is also chock full of stuff to try. Games (the non-computer, non-iPad kind) are an often overlooked amusement. Older kids can learn fun card games like old maid and crazy 8s, classic board games like Sorry and Monopoly or try newer games like the ‘analog’ version of Angry Birds; my son hoards it and doesn’t let his sister play but it will amuse him for ages!
The dollar store also has loads of phonics, math and science workbooks for kids of various ages. I’ve picked up a few for my kids, combined with the unfinished worksheets from school and every other day or so my kids sit down and do some school work just to keep their minds a little engaged over the summer.
I also signed up for the summer reading club with our local public library where the kids have to read 15 minutes a day and get stickers and other treats after certain milestones are reached. This appeals to their competitive natures….
Everything else gets slotted into the routine and for me it’s the most important even though I’ve listed it last. I came to the realization that we needed a routine rather late last summer so I started right off the bat this year. Here is our routine;
An hour of TV in the morning, then get dressed and go play. This is my time to work, do laundry and get us organized for the rest of the day. Then we have our outing, home for playtime (usually where the crafts and learning happen), play again after dinner then come inside for downtime and bed.
The other thing I have done, which I haven’t in the past, is set a summer bedtime and try to stick to it. For me, one of the hardest parts about being responsible for children, with their boundless energy and curiosity, is not knowing when my day is over. The day seems endless if the kids are up early and in bed late, so my kids have to be inside by 9 pm and in bed by 9:30. This is an hour later than the rest of the year but its working for us.
So that is how I have come to cope with long summer days, tired kids and a joyful abundance of free time. How do you beat the summer doldrums?