I love summer with my kids home. Days at the pool. No homework. Bomb Pops.
(I can hear the jingle of the neighborhood ice cream truck now...)
But I know what you're thinking - "Give it a couple weeks." Before you know it all that ice cream-y goodness becomes a sticky mess of mid-summer meltdowns.
"She hit me!"
"When can I have a play date?"
The relaxed nature of the summer can be a blessing, and a curse. On the one hand, there's a good chance you aren't running the mom taxi nearly as often (yay, sanity). On the other, the lack of routine can leave everyone feeling a little over-indulged and under stimulated. But you CAN enjoy being at home with your kids this summer, and make memories in the process.
Make a Summer Bucket List
Whether summer has just begun or you're already getting a case of the blahs, gather the family around and create a list of fun things to do before school starts again. Start with free activities that you never have time for during the school year (like building an epic fort or having a huge water fight). Make a list of local places to visit. Be a tourist in your own town. Eat foods you haven't tried before. This was our list this year:
Make a (SHORT) List of Daily Expectations
The school year often feels so busy that it's hard to really reset and focus our kids' minds on the things that will matter to their hearts most as they get older. Summer is the PERFECT time to recapture that by making a VERY SHORT list of daily focus areas that each child is responsible for.
The only caveat- the list has to be done before the fun. They can chose how they want to meet the expectations and when they want to get it done. You'd be amazed at how motivated a child can be (and how little nagging you have to do) when day trips and screen time hang in the balance.
Here's a snapshot of our list:
Here are some examples of how we encouraged each child to work their list:
GOD- Write a prayer. Read a Bible story. Memorize a Bible verse. Write a list of things you are thankful for.
OTHERS- Make someone else's bed. Clean up without being asked. Do another family member's chores for them. Donate your allowance to a charity. Bring a treat to surprise a friend.
CHORE- We have 1 set chore for each child daily (has to do with caring for our pet). We don't recommend having a whole 'nother list on top of this list but do what you know can help your child feel accomplished.
SCHOOL/ SKILL- For 10 minutes, our kids can choose an activity relating to enhancing their abilities when it comes to school or a skill area. Practice piano. Read a book. Trace letters on lined paper. Practice spelling with the letter board. Soccer drills.
The key is to let them pick. Having a little independence with an end goal in mind is great for developing accountability while keeping things light. Have you tried something similar with your kids? What areas did you ask them to focus on?