It’s that time of the year again. If you’re starting to feel anxious about the end of the school year, please know that you are not alone! Even the most summer-loving mamas can start to feel a bit anxious as the end of the school year approaches. Summer has always been my favorite season. Since I became a mom and discovered the delicious freedom that even a half day pre-school schedule provides, I’ve realized that making a switch to a summer routine can be a bit daunting for any mom. Especially those with children of all ages. Summer break can throw a monkey wrench into established routines. But with these five survival tips, you can be prepared to enjoy the summer as much as you did when you were a child:
1. Set a routine.
We all know that kids thrive on routines, and setting an established one during the summer lets everyone know what to expect. Younger kids feel more in control with a routine, and older kids are less bored with structure added to their day.
Fixed meal times and nap times for everyone (even older kids and mom) can make it easier to plan activities during the day. Also, it allows the kids to pitch in with meal prep and chores, like laundry, that have to get done no matter what season it is. It also makes it easier to schedule outings, which brings us to tip number…
2. Get out of the house every day.
Even if it’s just to the backyard. Getting out of the house every day helps me keep my mom sanity. It also cuts down on screen time and raises spirits for everyone in my house.
I like to plan my day around going to the gym every morning. Both my kids and I look forward to it. They get to socialize with other kids while I get to let off some steam and get some me time. We usually follow it up with errands, like grocery pick-up. If you haven’t tried grocery pick-up yet, summer is a fabulous time to try it. You can save time for more fun activities.
We also hit the pool or splash pad every day. I’ve found it works up a great lunch appetite and increases the chances that my preschooler just might be tired enough to sleep.
3. Give everyone chores.
This might sound crazy, but there is something kids most ages will enjoy doing that you are trying to figure out how to do with them home all day.
My toddler loves to “help” by pulling laundry out of the dryer and unloading sippy cups from the dishwasher. Pre-school is a great age to start teaching how to fold clothes, and my 5-year-old gets a kick out of putting away his favorite dinosaur shirts.
Kids love to cook and help in the kitchen. So involving them in trying out new recipes or daily meal prep is a great way to give them responsibilities and take care of lunch. You can hand out easy tasks that kids view as playtime, like spraying the table and wiping up after lunch. Older kids can handle bigger chores and take some of the load off mom and dad.
If your kids are struggling to embrace a daily chore routine, I highly recommend a chart with stars and stickers. And they can work toward a simple daily or weekly reward. My kids are obsessed with pillow fighting right now and beg me to do it constantly, so a pillow fight after dinner has become a carrot I often use.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Scheduling a babysitter or signing the kids up for some summer camps can be a great way to keep some balance and variety over break. A few hours to yourself can refresh the soul and enable you to get work done without distractions. Arranging a childcare trade off with mom friends is a great way to grab a few hours and provide social interaction for the kids. Win-win.
5. Have some fun!
Try to make it a priority to schedule activities you and the kids will enjoy over the summer. These can be small activities like running through the sprinkler or bigger plans like a day trip adventure somewhere you’ve never been. I love this weekly reminder of fun ideas to implement daily:
- Make it Monday: Create a Craft or DIY Project
- Take a Trip Tuesday: Take a trip to the museum or day trip a few hours away
- Water Fun Wednesday: Get wet with water balloons or hit a splash park
- Thoughtful Thursday: Do something nice for someone else
- Foodie Friday: Get in the kitchen and get cooking
Whatever you do, know that you are not alone in navigating the wild unstructured territories of summer vacation. Your kids love spending time with you, and that is what matters most. Not how clean your house is, where you went or what you did. Cheers to a super fun summer!
P.S. Please let us know how you like to tackle summer break so we can share ideas. It truly takes a village, and we are here to support one another!