Summer is kicking my butt this year. And, I’ve heard this from lots of my mom friends. We think summer sounds fantastic until summer is here and then we are not that into summer because
1. Kids all day long and
2. HOT. It’s so freaking hot. Which tends to make me angry.
But, the truth is, summer is fleeting, and I do want to enjoy it (as much as one can). But, I also get to the end of my rope repeating all my familiar phrases of summer over and over. It can be tempting to straight up lock them out of the house.
So, I’ve come up with some tips to surviving the rest of the summer with your kids. Now this list isn’t here to make you feel guilty for not planning the perfect summer for your kids, but it’s to help you enjoy it. So here’s my real mom’s guide.
Lower your expectations even LOWER than you thought they were at the beginning of summer.
Sure, you thought you’d be the fun summer mom super excited about lemonade stands and summer reading programs but also being OK with the house being a mess, right? But, the truth is, now it’s actually a mess and there are soggy towels every where and you are dying a little inside each day. Am I right? It’s OK – Take that cool summer mom idea you had in your head and punch her in the throat. To enjoy the last few weeks of summer, you REALLY need to let go. Of all of it. Do what makes you and the kids happy.
Even if there are more TV days than lemonade stand days.
Have pajama days with zero guilt in the summer.
This is key to enjoying summer. You need to de-stress. The kids need to de-stress. It’s just life.
The school year will be here before you know it and the routines and early bedtime and homework stresses will come barreling back to you with a vengeance.
Since you can’t muzzle the kids, or give them sedatives, enjoy these last few weeks by having pajama days. Read books and watch movies and just be a sloth creature at least once a week. But the key is to feel ZERO guilt. You’re re-charging for what’s to come in the fall.
Have structured summer days.
So we can truly enjoy the pajama days, we have to have some structure too. If you can afford it, sign your kids up for summer camps. I managed to get my boys into a couple last minute just this week – it’s still possible.
If you like water parks, head to one. If you can only afford free activities – go on hikes, to the park, to the library, or to a free day at the museum (we have those here). There ARE things to do in the summer that you can’t do any other time. Get out and have busy days too so that you feel zero guilt about your sloth days.
Use a daily summer checklist before they get the fun stuff.
This has been a LIFESAVER for my own sanity this year. So many kids today feel entitled to all the fun stuff that summer has to offer. It can be expensive. They also feel entitled to play video games all day long. Yes, we have plenty of TV around here. I’m not one of those moms that stresses about 30 minutes of TV time. But, I do put limits on Kindle, Computer, and video game time.
This year, I created a summer checklist before they can earn screen time and the fun activities. I did this to give me structure, quiet time, and teach my kids to EARN something. When everyone is doing their 20 minutes of reading to earn their trip to the zoo or video game time, it also gives ME quiet time which is a lifesaver for this work at home mom.
Create a summer bucket list with your kids.
I did this one year and was surprised at what my kids wanted to do with me. Their ideas were REALLY simple. My daughter wanted to draw together and have an art contest. It was such a simple sweet activity that we did together one day. Kids don’t always need the fancy and expensive activities to make them happy. They often need simple ones that show that you’re giving them your attention.
Here are some awesome bucket list ideas to conquer with your kids before summer is over:
- Have a lemonade stand
- Write letters to grandparents, relatives, or military
- Visit the library every week for new books to read
- Make a public park bucket list and go to a new one each week
- Go on a nature hike
- Camp in your backyard
- Stay up and look for constellations in the sky
- Family slumber party in the living room
- Family movie night
- Eat cake for breakfast
- Plan Halloween costumes
- Start a holiday wish list
- Do an act of service
- Participate in a random act of kindness for a stranger
- Listen to a book on tape
Let them be bored
My biggest suggestion is to be OK with your kids being bored, and tell them right now -TODAY that if they tell you they’re bored, then they get an automatic chore. I promise this works. I’m so guilty of being scared of letting my kids be bored. I think a lot of moms feel this way. But, kids need to use their imaginations. Some kids need a little push to come up with something, but the ONLY way you can accomplish this is by letting them be bored.
I tried it a couple of weeks ago and you know what happened? My oldest made crepes. From scratch. By herself.
She asked if she could and I said yes on one condition – she could get zero help from me including clean up. It was magical. She made crepes, had her little brothers working in the kitchen with her, and cleaned it all up. Bonus – they all got in one of their eleventy billion snacks for the day in too.
Let them be bored. I promise, they will find something to do without you, and you will get more alone time than you think you will. Because when my kids use their imaginations and really get into a game, or activity, they leave me alone. And, that’s one of my big goals every summer if I’m being perfectly honest.
Last but definitely not least – summer doesn’t have to revolve around them. Kids will figure out ways to fill the hours if you let them. They will be OK if you have to go in your room for 30 minutes and lock the door and have some down time (disclaimer – obviously if you have an infant this does not apply). They will be OK if they have to have a sitter one day so you can accomplish things to feel human. They will be OK if you get a sitter one day to go to lunch with a friend. Your kids will be OK if you take care of yourself too. The world does not revolve around your kids, and summer shouldn’t either.
Yes, we want to plan summer activities, and do lemonade stands and reading challenges, but we also need to be real – mama needs her space, too. Or she just might go insane.