Before I forget to tell you, at my other blog I’ve just posted a list of fun ideas the kids came up with for things they want to do this summer, and get this, they’re all FREE.
First, however, you may be asking what surviving summer has to do with real food…?
I don’t know about you, but when I have a crazy day, cooking gets pushed down on the to-do list and I don’t have the time I need to make what I planned or to make anything. Those are the days that I’m happy to have this list of fast food meals to make in a flash, but we can’t make dinners off that list every night. Keeping our summer days somewhat on-task is a huge help, especially for my own sanity!
As I write this it’s the first day of summer.
I’ve known Marilyn Moll from the Urban Homemaker for a few years now (read how I got to know her at this post in my archives), and she saw these comments in my Monday post a couple weeks ago about summertime: “You can probably relate to that bittersweet feeling that you get when summer is here. It’s nice having the kids around more, sleeping in, no schedules, and fun beach or pool days… But yet the bickering and constant interruptions when I try to get work done can be tricky.” That prompted her to send me the tips below about surviving and enjoying summer (wasn’t that sweet of her?!) and she said I could share them. 🙂 You can also listen to her recent podcast where she made some helpful comments in the beginning about this topic, too.
I received her tips last week just when I needed that great reminder about what it takes to make summer fun for all, Mom included! This morning we had breakfast (leftover baked oatmeal – yum!) and then the kids got going on their list that we talked about last week: each day before playing they will do one chore, write in their journal or do a math page, and read for a half hour. Even if they don’t get all of those done, at least we’re starting out each day on task and they’re learning to work before play. (Today I started out by re-teaching our middle two kids, ages 8 and 11, to sort and start the laundry, and later I’ll have them work together to make spaghetti for dinner.) After they got their work done, we all went for a run/bike ride downtown for something fun to do together, we came home for lunch, and then I got to work while they played with friends all afternoon. (Working at home is good and bad. I’m right here if they need me…but yet I’m right here if they need me. Moms, you know exactly what I mean.)
Tips from Marilyn Moll on Helping Moms to Survive and Even Enjoy Summer:
I think moms and kids look forward to school being out as they look forward to a more flexible schedule. However, I quickly learned as a home school mom, that bored children without a schedule will start bickering and fighting and basically destroying the peace of the household if I allow it.
- One thing I learned to do was pray ahead of time and consult with my husband on some activities the children could look forward to (so could I such as camp, VBS, swim lessons, etc.), plus I had a rule: no get-togethers with friends and neighbors in the mornings. I wasn't rigid, but I found that the schedule would be shot if I didn't do this. Once neighbor kids come in – your kids forget about their responsibilities and think its all about them, and then the other kids get jealous and it degenerates from there.
- Generally speaking – each child needs some sort of schedule so they know what is expected of them and when. Will they follow it perfectly? Will you follow-up and check up on them perfectly? Well the answer is probably not so we must be flexible. But if we fail to plan we plan to fail. A schedule loosely put together is absolutely imperative since things can change every half hour to hour. Plan time to get up and dress, time for breakfast, breakfast clean-up, morning chores – beds made, pick -up (sweep/mop floors/vacuum) – laundry, dusting, etc. Dinner prep. Take a walk or do some outdoor activity – play with pets, ride bikes, etc. – listen to tapes, video time, game time/play time/ park time, skill time – work on projects such as sewing or woodworking. These are just ideas I have.
- Older children can be responsible for younger children to keep them on task. Take a morning break with the children so they feel a connection with you.
- Older children can prepare lunch. And so on.
- I always required some quiet time in the afternoon whether they were nappers or not.
- Make sure kids know that if they start fighting/bickering/etc. that they will be sent to their rooms and lose privileges for the rest of the day such as the computer or whatever works.
- Remember that developing character in the children young is so much more important than work – later you’ll be more free to work when kids master some basic character traits such as responsibility, self-control, helpfulness, etc.
- I like this quote: “Sow a thought, reap an action, sow an action, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character, reap a destiny.” Helping your kids by modeling the character you want them to emulate can be hard – I wish I had learned all this much younger.
- I found this Character quality chart free on line and am using it for our adult Sunday School. Wish I had started this my children when they were young. I like that the negative trait is contrasted with the positive trait, the trait is described and there is a scripture reference.
- ATTITUDE is foundational. Require the right attitudes and life will change.
- In hindsight, I wish I had had my husband in charge when he got home so I could have more focused time with the kids during the day – those days are now gone – never to be recovered and I can guarantee you will not wish you had worked more once they are grown up. My biggest regret is the amount of time I did work. But my oldest is very responsible and resourceful and was my right hand.
- I have a friend who gets up at 4:00 or 5:00 am and starts working. She gets in about 3 hours before the family is up – wish I had tried that – napped with kids etc.
Anyway – a schedule with clear expectations and consequences is a must for getting started. Wish I had more creative ideas – but you will have to rely on those older kids.
Thanks, Marilyn! Now please share any of your tips for surviving and enjoying summer!