How are we going to make this the summer that you’ve always envisioned? The one where the kids aren’t bored, and you are relaxed and actually enjoy the extra time that you get to spend with them? How do you make summer fun for the kids, and for you too? Well… with a PLAN silly! (‘Cuz you know- I am ALL about the plan!) I’ve been spending a fair amount of time lately working on my own summer game-plan for our family…. and here are some of the things that I am keeping in mind while working on our schedule- because truly, I want to make this our BEST SUMMER EVER!
#1. Plan something BIG!
And by big, I don’t mean a huge, exotic trip to somewhere on the other side of the globe (although if you can swing that… by all mean, go for it!). Something big is in the eyes of the beholder…. and the “beholders” in this case are your family. So if it would rock their world to go to a major league baseball game, then make this the summer that you do it. If hand-feeding a giraffe is on your 8-year old’s wish list… then find a zoo that offers this, even if it means driving to another state- and cross that item off of her list! Ask yourself, when my child returns to school in a few months and I make him or her a t-shirt that features this event…. will they would be SO excited to wear it and show it off to their friends?
#2. Get outdoors in a new way
Now I realize that not everyone is the outdoorsy-type. And I am well-aware that in many parts of the country, summer is just too darned hot to be spending any significant time outside. But summer and outdoors goes hand in hand…. so challenge yourself to find a new way to enjoy Mother Nature with your family. Head to a park in another town that you’ve never visited and try a hike there. Never gone geo-caching before? Then grab your GPS-enabled-smart-phone, download the app, and give it a try. Are your kids finally ready to tackle a bike trail with you? Then go for it. And even if they are quite young… find a new zoo, or a new park to visit that you’ve never tried before. They will be intrigued by the change of scenery, and it will do you a world of good to try something new!
#3. Make a mess in the kitchen
I love to cook…. but I don’t always love to take the time to cook with the kids. So often it feels as if I am in a rush, to get breakfast made so they can get to school…. to get dinner on the table so we can move on to bath time…. even to get the cookies mixed and baked because we need to tackle the homework. So during the summer months, I plan to make sure that I involve at least one of my kids in my meal prep and dessert baking every single day. And to make it fun for me (and to hopefully expand their repertoire of meals they will eat), I plan to try a new recipe at least once a week.
#4. Get all crafty
I love to create things with my kids… but during the school year, it is nearly impossible to set aside the time to do this. I can’t wait to start crafting some of the cool ideas that I have pinned to my Pinterest boards all year long. And even on vacations, I plan to get my “craft on” with my kiddos by packing along some of the craft kits that they have received as birthday presents this year, that we still haven’t even opened yet. Most of them come with everything included in the kit, which makes it the perfect thing to take along as a vacation boredom-buster!
#5. Tackle something new
I always say that the summer is the perfect time to set some goals for the kids….. it’s the time when our kids have learned to ride their bikes without training wheels, learned to tie their shoes on their own, learned how to ride a skateboard over a jump. And it’s a great time for Moms to tackle something new too. This year I hope to teach myself how to create a digital scrapbook page!
#6. Set some limits
What is this doing on a list of positive things to do to make this your best summer ever? Because you need to set some guidelines and expectations for your kids up front… otherwise you will spend too much time asking them to turn off the TV or video games, do their summer reading, get their chores done, etc. And you want to have fun, and not spend your days nagging. So create no-electronics hours and make sure everyone knows what they are. Use a chore chart and a reward system to set your expectations (I’ll be sharing some examples of my own in the next few weeks).
#7. Embrace your inner child
Throw an after-dinner dance party in the family room, establish a family game night, snuggle in to watch 7 of the greatest Disney princess movies each night in one week. Do something that you remember doing as kid (or that you would have loved to do as a kid)!
#8. Read a book series together
If you can find a book series that the entire family would love, then plan some time after dinner each night to read a chapter or two. A few years ago we read “Little House on the Prairie“. If you don’t think that your older kids would love the same series as your younger ones… then aim for a chapter book or series that your younger kids would enjoy and you might be surprised that the older ones end up listening in too. This summer I plan to read the “Dragons of Blueland” series to my family.
#9. Recharge your own batteries
I say this all of the time (but don’t always do such a hot job of taking my own advice…) but you have to make time for yourself too. If you want to stay upbeat and focused on your family, then you need to make sure that you have enough downtime too. Eeven if that means declaring a quiet hour in the afternoon where you can read a book by yourself, or even (gasp!) take a nap… summertime is about relaxing for you too!
#10. Do something unexpected
Serve dessert before the meal. Take a rainy day and declare it an electronics-free-for-all and a let them play their video games until their fingers fall off! Let your older kids settle in and watch all 8 Harry Potter movies back to back! Do something as a surprise that the kids would never expect. You will be their hero.
Do you have any ideas that you would add to this list? Tips on how to make this your best summer ever? Please leave a comment and share them here!
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