As a homeschool mom I crawl to summer like a woman stranded in the desert trying to get to water (doesn't that make you want to homeschool). The first couple of weeks of summer I wake up like Jim Carey on Truman Show with the biggest grin, listening to the birds and thinking of all the things I can do that day because, hello, no school!!!! Then, after 2 weeks, tops, I turn into the the haggard old witch who wants to scream at the next kid that crawls on me....again, I'm painting a delightful picture of myself. Here are a few tips on how I keep everyone alive and somewhat happy during the summer.
1. LET THEM BE BORED!!!
I can't tell you how many times a day I hear, "mom, I'm bored!!!" Fun fact kids, I ain't here to entertain you! In our day in age kids (and adults to be honest) feel the need to be entertained at all times. I cannot be that for my kids. I'm probably creating another topic that will be introduced at their therapy sessions, but if my kids complain to me that they are bored I have a stack of math sheets and lessons they can do or a list of chores that need to be done. As soon as you offer these as an option to solve that "bored" problem, the amount of humans complaining at me diminishes greatly. #winning
2. Keep a schedule.
While summer wouldn't be summer without the delightful flexibility I have learned that our family thrives on routine. As a result, we tend to keep a schedule on most days so that everyone knows what to expect next. Depending on your life and what needs to get done you can morph it however you need. For us, we still require our kids stay in their room until 7:30 (expect rose who is revolting), get up, do breakfast, most mornings head to crossfit (for me), run a few errands or go do something fun like the beach or pool, home for lunch and rest time, play outside and then karate in the afternoon, dinner and bed by 8. We def will do big outings occasionally, but for the most part having a schedule is life in our house.
3. Make a Summer bucket list.
I'll be honest, I haven't made a hard copy of this for our fam this summer. It's been a little busy because I'm starting a new business...more on that later, but we have done it almost every summer. It fills the days that may be long and helps me mentally, because I can formulate a plan for my week. They don't all have to be big. Things like "go to the library" "family board game" "bike ride." Honestly, its most things that you actually would do in the day, but kids love to be able to check these off and it's super fun to see what you have done by the end of summer.
4. Have a plan for outings and stick to your guns.
I wrote a blog about how I manage all my humans, especially when they are very young. My biggest advice still is, make your expectations of behavior clear and then stick to your guns. I'm often asked how I take all my kids to Disney (or anywhere) alone and the answer always is, "they know, as soon as they get crazy, we leave. No exceptions." Like for real, I've left a cart full of groceries. Bye Felecia.
5. Be adventurous and make memories.
Taking a lot (or one) of kids anywhere can seem daunting. Add in zoos or Disney or any big outing and it may seem insurmountable. My philosophy is we will always try it. It's better than sitting at home twiddling my thumbs and watching my kids destroy my house. Plan an adventure, get your kids involved, don't overthink it (or overpack for it) just do it. You won't regret it. The memories are always so worth it. Even the crazy ones....boy do I have stories.
6. Find all the VBSs
No, for real. The first year my kids were old enough (well Jude and up) I sent them to all of them in my town. I mean, more Jesus right. No, let's be real, it's like euphoric to drop them off and have 3 kids free(wish) hours. No guilt. Do it!
So their you go! How we do summer at the zoo....and as in all my blogs, STOP WITH THE GUILT! If you have a day (or a lot) of screens and laying around I'm fairly certain no one will die. Survival y'all, its all about survival.