Summer Vacation is in full swing. It is a time of year I look forward to; time to spend with my kids; time to laugh and play. But with idle hands and minds comes “Mom, I’m bored”, “Mom, he hit me”, “MOMMMMMMM!” Then you will find Mom locked up in the bathroom, singing the “la la la la la, I can’t-HEAR-you” song, wondering when school starts again.
I love Summer Vacation, and to keep up this high-maintenance love-relationship we stay fairly busy, in a fun relaxed way. Military OneSource’s article, “Keeping Your Kids Active This Summer” has some great ground-rules that we have always applied, like involve the kids in planning their day, setting rules for screen time, staying organized and creating a loose schedule for the day.
A Summer’s Education
We have been doing them since my 17 year old was in early elementary school. Summer Workbooks. This year we are using books recommended by our school from Evan-Moor, titled ‘Daily Summer Activities‘. They are a hit! My six- and eight-year old boys look forward to ‘school in the kitchen’. One simple worksheet (front and back) every day. Twenty-minutes spent around the kitchen table as my inner-teacher comes out. A few moments in time reinforcing what they learned this past year and expanding on what is to come. It cuts down on ‘Summer Learning Loss’ and gives them a bit of one on one (or more like one on two) time with Mom. Last year I picked up books at our local Target or WalMart. The books don’t have to be fancy just something to keep the kids in the process of learning all summer.
Time spent with a good book
This summer we plan to hit the library every Monday. Each boy will pick out a couple of age-appropriate books for the week. Yesterday, we signed up for our library’s summer reading program and for each four hours of reading our boys do they get to pick a free book from the library’s free-book program. We do not happen to live near a military-installation but if you do, “Visitors to libraries on 270 military installations around the world are invited to join “A Midsummer Knight’s Read,” an activity-packed reading program with a medieval twist.” (DOD Libraries Launch Summer Reading Program) . Libraries in general do a great job of interweaving reading, summer and fun. If you make a trip to the library a regular part of the week it will be so much easier to accomplish goals, either goals set by yourself and children or goals set by reading programs, like free books or other fun incentives.
Helping around the house
So the Summer Jobs at the Kocsis household have begun. I had a spiral notebook in the closet that I pulled out and wrote out jobs that need to get done for the week. My boys are at child-care twice a week so those two days don’t count. But the other three days they have to pick something from the list. It is a bit of work for me because I have to supervise, teach, help. It’s part of being a mother after all. When they are done they get to cross the job off of the list with triumph! – Summer Jobs, June 2010
“Summer Jobs” They are a lot of work, I will admit. Not just for the boys doing the jobs but for the mom supervising, teaching, correcting. However, they are necessary. I don’t want my future daughter-in-laws berating me for never having taught my sons to clean a toilet, make a dinner, scrub a garbage can. This (yes, I’m serious) is an important life lesson. So we spend less then an hour each day doing something that needs to be done around the house. They get to pick from the list and I always list more jobs then will be done in the week so that they feel like they have a choice in the matter. I can feel the feet dragging as they get older but in the long run I know they will thank me. Really, really they will. I’ll keep telling myself that.
Summer Bucket Lists
Bucket Lists are fun, and quite possibly the most important part of my ‘summer schedule’. A simple list of things we want to do. In my Summer Spiral, used for Summer Jobs and other summer misc, we have started a list that we can add to as we think of things we want to do. The list is a great incentives for completing tasks or just a great excuse to take the ‘day off’ from regularly planned activities. So far we have written things like, ‘Go to the Zoo’, ‘Enjoy some afternoon ice cream at Dairy Treat’, ‘Have a picnic in the backyard’. Just simple fun things that make summer… Summer!
Summer is a wonderful time of year. Kids enjoy the ability to get outside, time with friends, time to just be a kid. With a little planning and a bit of routine our summer will be that much more enjoyable! What do you most enjoy about summer? What about the kids? I hope you can enjoy this time of year as much as we do!