As the school year is winding down, I get visions of poolside relaxation, a day at the beach, children playing quietly in their rooms with Legos or exploring outside for hours at a time, I dream of family vacations and lots of uninterrupted free time for me to read, organize and declutter around the house. I make long mental lists of all the projects I have been putting off that I could tackle this summer.
The reality is usually much different from my imaginings. Rainy days, sibling rivalry, stay-cations, homeschool planning for the fall, grading and filing from the previous homeschool year, and projects that don’t get finished again this summer. I get settled in my chair for a good read or engrossed in a project and inevitably cries such as:
“It is too hot outside!”
“Can we come inside?
“Can we play video games?”
erupt from the mouths of babes. What happened to my visions of a peaceful, relaxing, productive summer?
In this first installment of Surviving Summer, I want to share with you a few of the ways that I have found to help me survive the summer with my sanity intact and a feeling of accomplishment by the summer’s end.
Don’t Dream too Big
While book-lists for mom, day trips, vacations, and projects are all things I love to plan and enjoy, I need to make sure that my dreams are achievable. I need to take into account:
- budgetary restraints
- available time
- my kid’s interests
- my family’s needs
Sometimes browsing Pinterest, reading blogs and talking with other moms can fill my head with expectations and dreams that are simply not right for my family because of one of the reasons listed above. When I dream too big, it can lead to comparison, jealousy and disappointment. Making plans that align with our family’s budget, time, interests and needs can be more attainable and realistic. Sometimes less is more.
Create a Gentle Summer Routine
Part of the joy of summer is spontaneity. While I love surprises and last minute picnics, dropping everything and having lunch with friends, there are also many days where things just get monotonous. I have found that we do ok for about two weeks with no routine, and then things start to fall apart. Creating a gentle groove to glide in through the summer has brought much peace to our family. We don’t set strict wake up times, but having a morning routine gives a little structure to our day and keeps the kids moving along a path that doesn’t just revolve around their own wishes and desires. Here are a few suggestions on setting up routines that have helped us in the past
- Eat breakfast together and give everyone a rundown of the tasks and activities of the day.
- Complete the chores first with a reward at the end, such as a craft, treat, activity or outing.
- Be consistent with the routine so everyone knows what to expect. We use a FREE weekly household planner by the Confident Mom
- Break up the routine into morning and afternoon/evening tasks
- Divvy up the jobs so the workload is based on the capabilities of the children
- My routine includes other things besides chores. We have reading/quiet time, outdoor time, etc.
Having just a few gentle routines to our day help us create a more relaxed, comfortable environment and give the kids enough structure so that we don’t end every day in chaos. I look forward to sharing with you some more tips for summer sanity in the next installment. Stay tuned……
Jennifer Allen is a homeschool graduate, wife to her soulmate David (who also contributes to the blog), homeschooling mom, registered nurse, AWANA teacher, pianist, reader and lifelong learner. She can be found on her little corner of the web at conversaving.com. The person on the street would define “conversaving” as the act of easing the discomfort of someone left out of a conversation by including them in the dialogue. “Conversaving” the blog seeks to do the same thing, by relieving the awkward silence across the Internet of those seeking a real place to engage in constructive conversations about news, family, and homeschooling. Sprinkle in some laughs, tears, personal stories and curriculum reviews and you have the recipe for Conversaving.com!