Remember as a kid when you used to count down excitedly for the end of the school year and sweet freedom? Summer was the ultimate time for fun and relaxation. However, the meaning of summer changes as you get older. Now, as a mom, you’re still counting down the days – but this time, you’re waiting for school to start again.
Having your kids home all summer can be a difficult adjustment. Your kids want to go on special trips all the time, and you just want some peace and quiet. By setting reasonable expectations and doing some creative planning, you can have a great summer with your kids without losing yourself and your sanity.
Be Upfront With Expectations
It’s the first day of break and your temperature is rising because the kids are on their second straight hour of video games. Keep from losing your cool this summer by setting some expectations and ground rules from the start.
Will your kids have a set bedtime? Will they need to help out with chores? How much screen time can they have each day? Setting boundaries right away will get everyone on the same page and prevent meltdowns when you try to enforce those rules later on.
Plan Time for You
During the school year, the house is peaceful and quiet during the day. With the kids home all day, you might feel like you can’t get a moment to yourself. Work with your partner to get a little time each day where you aren’t responsible for anyone. If that’s not an option, develop morning and nighttime routines focused on self-care.
Between getting everyone ready in the morning, getting breakfast, serving as a judge between siblings, and working as an honorary cruise director, your day can disappear in a blur without ever stepping foot outside.
Getting fresh air and sunshine might be the most important thing you’ll do all day. The shot of vitamin D will be an immediate mood boost for you and the kids. Outside playtime will also wear them out a bit, which might let you be more productive when you come back inside. Just make sure you apply sunscreen every two hours you’re in the sun and wear a hat.
Set a Summer Reading Challenge
Promote a love of books for your kids by modeling a daily reading habit. Start a summer reading challenge in your home where everyone works to read a certain number of books or chapters. Spend time reading together as a family and independently. Maybe you’ll even get through that book that’s been on your list for the last year.
Institute a Daily Quiet Hour
If your kids no longer take naps, introduce a mandatory quiet hour where everyone must stay in their rooms and entertain themselves. This will give you a little “me” time, too. You and the kids will feel more prepared to tackle the rest of the day. They could read books, play independently with quiet toys, or have some screen time.
Spend One-on-One Time With Each Child
Summer vacation provides plenty of opportunities for fun family activities, but don’t disregard the importance of one-on-one time with your kids. Schedule specific days to spend with each child during the month and let them pick out an activity. Your kids will soak up the individual attention and you’ll build stronger bonds with them.
Get Everyone’s Help With Chores
Having everyone home all day can lead to some big-time messes. However, it shouldn’t be entirely up to you to keep up with it. Most kids are old enough to contribute to household chores. Little ones could be responsible for picking up their toys and can learn simple tasks like taking care of their dishes and dusting.
You can teach older kids to take over just about any chore and help them learn to cook. If getting them started is a struggle, you could make daily chores a way to earn screen time.
Sometimes You Just Need a Break
No matter how much you love your kids and enjoy spending time with them, sometimes you just need a break. Call your mom and schedule a day or weekend away for the kids. They’ll get to make special memories with grandma, and you get all that extra time to yourself to relax and recuperate.
Odds are good you aren’t the only mom feeling a bit burnt out, so you could also arrange playdates with your other mom friends so the kids have somewhere else to go once a week. You can get away for a massage, have your nails done, take a nice long soak in the tub, or curl up with a good book. The world will be your oyster for a few sweet hours, leaving you mentally ready for whatever comes next.
Don’t feel guilty about taking some time for yourself this summer, Mom. It’s the only way you’ll be able to stay sane and have some fun!
How are you keeping the kiddos occupied this summer? Do you have any favorite activities we should know about? Tell us below!
Looking For More Ways To Balance Being A Mom With Real Life? Read These Articles Next: