We are only about a week from the start of Elijah’s summer vacation. Over the last two weeks, thanks to built-in school calamity days that didn’t get used this winter, Elijah has had Fridays off, and I’ve had a small glimpse of what it’s going to be like to have all my boys at home all day again.
It hasn’t been pretty.
You would think that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I mean, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for nearly eight years. I’ve dealt with my boys being with me all day, done my grocery shopping and errands with them all in tow, and managed to cook meals and keep the house clean while they are clamoring for attention or fighting with each other.
But apparently, I’ve gotten soft over this school year, used to the ease of having only two children for most of the day.
From previous summer vacation experience, I know I needed to start preparations now if we’re going to have a good summer all together. So, I have put together a 3-point strategy to survive our summer vacation.
Not only do children need it, but I accomplish so much more when I have an organized plan of action for my day. Now that I’ll have both older boys again, I’ll need to adjust my school-year daily schedule and transition it to a summer vacation daily routine.
I say “routine” because I’m not going to set specific times for everything, but maybe more just a general idea of what we should be doing “around-about” when. I don’t intend to schedule every moment of our day – that’s just a recipe for frustration when you have children. Flexibility is key! For example, if my boys would by some miracle actually sleep in, I’m not waking them up for a scheduled breakfast unless we have to be somewhere that day. Nope – if that would happen, we will all revel in it, and I’d totally take advantage of it! 🙂
(Of course, I’m not counting on many of those days because even now, they pop out of bed on the weekends (or days off school) earlier than even school days because, as Josiah says, “it’s sunny now.”)
Not only do I plan to have a general schedule for the day, but I’m also going to make sure that the boys know how the day should go. While looking for inspiration for my summer strategy, I saw this cute printable “Morning Checklist” for kids from Not Consumed. Since we won’t be doing school work over the summer, I may recreate this idea and make it fit our plans, but the idea is great.
I love that the checklist includes a devotional time and a reminder to do daily chores because my next strategy point goes right along with that.
Since my older two boys are getting old enough to take on a few daily chores, this is definitely something we’re going to incorporate into our summer strategy. Right now, Elijah’s big responsibilities have been feeding our dog and bringing down his dirty clothes in the morning, while Josiah just gets to help Mommy throughout the day as he can.
This summer, I’m going to up the ante a bit for them both by adding an item or two to their daily chores. I’m sure they are going to LOVE this part. (Hahahaha).
Of course, since they are both still learning, I know that they will need a lot of instruction and supervision, at least at first, with some of the more “big kid” tasks. However, teaching them now means they’ll be really good at it when they get older. 🙂 (My mom was awesome for “encouragement” and an answer when we were young and doing chores. If we complained that we did it all the time, she’d tell us, “Then you should be able to do it quickly and really well.” If we tried to use the excuse that we weren’t good at it or didn’t know how, guess what? “Now, you can practice/learn.” Haha.)
For help with this strategy point, I’ve pooled all kinds of resources from Pinterest, including age-appropriate chore ideas and printable chore charts.
Editable Chore Cards for Kids (This one even gives them step-by-step directions!)
Of course, I won’t expect my boys to spend the summer slaving away for me. I’m definitely not going to!
So, I need to have a healthy stash of activities ready to go once we’ve completed all our responsibilities for the day. I already know that my boys enjoy visiting the nearby parks, plus we plan to participate in our library’s summer reading program, and we can always visit family and friends for play dates. For what we can do at home, my boys like our Homemade Sidewalk Paint and playing with bubbles or on their swing set, so those are always on the list, but I’ve also gathered some new ideas for ways to make memories and spend a fun summer afternoon.
Summer Activity Schedule for Kids (Free Printable)
And if they seem to find that structure, responsibilities, and the activities I’ve come up with aren’t enough, I’ve also found this great little printable to help them out when they think they are “bored.” (Elijah likes that word lately, so this is definitely going up in his room.) 🙂
Having been through “summer vacation” before, I know that my strategy isn’t all that we’ll need, but having a plan is better than being completely unprepared, right? Hopefully with a little organization, planning, and advance preparation, we can sail through this summer fairly happily, making great memories and enjoying the time we have together so much that we’ll hate to see it end. My hope for this summer vacation is to more than survive it. I want us to thrive in it together as a family. That sounds like a good plan to me. 🙂
WHAT IS YOUR SUMMER SURVIVAL STRATEGY?
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