It’s officially: S U M M E R (part 1)
With summer brings so much good: great weather, no school, vacations, and sleeping in! I don’t know about you, but I LOVE my kids being home and spending time with them. In fact, I feel that these few months go by too fast!!!
That being said, how many find yourself getting exacerbated by week 2 of summer break because you find yourself having a never ending “to do” list and not sure where to start, on top of your kids arguing and complaining of boredom? I find that I start playing the role of “cruise director” with the kids asking me what they can do next or how I can entertain them. And of course they want to watch TV and get lots of “screen time” but to me, personally, I want them to be running around outside and using their imaginations, etc. without me directing them.
My son, Ethan, is in his video game phase. I’m not a fan, and I feel like I have to put boundaries on his play time. So instead of me cringing every time he’s on them and feeling like his brain is getting fried, I’m going to be proactive on setting boundaries. So I was motivated to come up with some ideas for implementing incentives. Obviously, each of our kids is different, but here are some ideas that work for mine:
- Before video game time, Ethan has to do his chores. (I create a white board and make sure they can physically see and check their chores off daily.) As for what kinds of chores, some of ours include the basics: making their beds, unload dishwasher, spray off kitchen table, take out trash, sweep, dust busting the car etc.
- Also implement some kind of learning: whether it be daily devotions or practicing his skills (dribbling, shooting baskets, etc.).
- Giving them some of your list: if they’re older, they certainly can wipe down their toothpaste drawers, and help organize the tool drawers, craft cabinets, etc.
- Academic workbooks: I grab educational workbooks from Barnes and Noble, Costco, Amazon, etc. These have been great as it keeps their brain sharp and gives them structure.
- Reading a book together as a family (maybe a chapter a day is a great way to start). Examples-have your little one’s do a picture of what the chapter was about, and have your older one’s do a paragraph on what they heard/read. You can spend quality time and teach them comprehension. Or even just discussing what you have read to see what your kids are getting out of it.
- My daughters love to do arts and crafts. So I set up a plastic table cloth outside and let them paint and create!
- Do a morning walk, even if it’s for 15 minutes. You get some fresh air, connect with your kiddos, and just be with them. Plus it’s great exercise for all!
- Make them be in charge of a meal a week. This is a great way to involve them, keep them busy and implement those little health goals for your family. Even if they pic mac and cheese and chicken tenders, guide them and let them get hands on in the kitchen so you can raise a child to be responsible! You can help them chop, slice, dice veggies for a salad and teach them about all 5 food groups.
- Goal set with your kids: ask them what they want to accomplish in the next year (journal, diary, etc.).
The most important thing is while it’s good to have some structure and great to have some ideas in your back pocket, it’s also very important to tie heart-strings with our kids through adventures and experiences and just making ourselves available to connect with them. Remember that part of what was so special about summer when we were kids was that we were able to run around outside all day and play until we were called in for dinner, sun-kissed and tired. It’s so important to find that healthy balance of letting our kids be kids. They have so much pressure on them now to perform that waking up and not having an agenda is a beautiful thing too…