In a previous blog post I mentioned that one of the reasons I love spring is because it’s a time when I do a lot of family planning for the summer. I have to if I want summer to go smoothly. Last year was a real learning experience for me because it was my son’s first summer “off” from school. It was an adjustment for both of us as we had both gotten used to being apart during the school day and had to readjust to being with each other 24/7. During this time, I learned a few tricks that helped things run smoother.
1. Take Advantage of Summer Camps. There are a lot of different types of summer camps offered by community organizations every year. Last summer, my son attended three half-day Art and Science camps, as well as, bible school. Some may think parents use these camps as babysitters, and that’s partially true, but the kids experience some great benefits too. They aren’t sitting at home bored and getting into trouble and they’re learning when they are at these camps.
2. Shop Online. I hate going to Wal-Mart (or Target) on a regular day, let alone on a day when I have both of my kids. While there will always be those inevitable instances when you have to take both kids, it doesn’t have to be all the time. Websites such as Diapers.com, Soap.com and Amazon helped me tremendously last summer. I imagine they will not disappoint again this summer!
3. Babysit for Friends. I know, it sounds crazy that babysitting other kids will make mom’s life easier during the summer, right? Well, the idea here is to find a friend who is interested in taking turns babysitting with you. So, one day you watch her children and a couple days later she watches yours. This allows you time to enjoy running errands without the kids and also gives your kids time to play with other kids, giving them a much needed break too!
4. Make Naps Mandatory. I will never understand parents who say, “Jack refused to take a nap today.” When I hear that, I want to ask, “Who is the adult, here?” Seriously, children need naps, even if they are at home all day. Moms need them too – for their sanity! Therefore, make naps mandatory at your house this summer when the kids are home. If the children are older (junior high/high school), have a designated quiet time where they are required to reside quietly in their rooms. This just gives everyone a rest period, which generally results in better moods for everyone.
5. Plan Meals Ahead. Finally, this one was a life saver for me. Take the time to plan out your meals for the entire week before the week begins. Go to the grocery store, get what you need and then stick to the schedule and cook the designated meal on its corresponding day. For some reason, when the meals are already determined, food preparation and mealtimes go by much smoother!
The tips above are the things that I have found helpful during the summer with my kids home. I’m sure you have some tips of your own. Please feel free to share them in the comment section as I would love to hear from you! Plus, I’m always looking for additional make-my-life-easier tips!