Let’s do more than just survive the summer months, let’s THRIVE THIS SUMMER!
On Easter Sunday, while I was making dinner, my 12-year-old presented me with her summer bucket list. Oh, Madonna! I hadn’t even finished carving the lamb butter, and she had 20 things she wanted to do. I applaud her creativity and her planning – she gets that from me, but honestly if the list is this long in April what will it be like by June?
It’s summertime! I love summer! I love the pool, the sun, the more relaxed approach to our days, and more quality time with my kids. I look forward to the change of season and the change of pace.
However, it really hit me; summer IS coming! AHHHH! I am dreading summer! It’s the end of my quiet days alone with the dogs; it’s interruptions, power struggles, screen time management – it’s a three-day weekend for ten weeks.
This summer, I’m going to plan our way into calm engagement. To calm my nervous excitement over the upcoming changes, I need a plan of attack, standard operating procedures and rules of engagement. I have three concepts that every parent should abide by this summer to help them thrive, not merely survive, this summer.
Step 1: Plan of Attack!
Start with a plan! We need to make it fun! For years, I have begun each summer with a family Summer Enrichment Program (SEP).The SEP gives us a little structure to help guide our activities as we go about our days. The goal of our SEP is to balance our time, have fun, engage our brains, and develop our talents.
Find a topic (water, kindness, math, food, the alphabet) every week and attack from every direction – entertainment, education, leisure, health, faith and responsibilities.
Mantra Monday: Start off each week with a character mantra focused on one trait your family can develop all week.
Tech Tuesday: Set boundaries for kids, teach safety tips, research the impact of technology on learning, learn from other families how they manage modern technology.
Wonder Wednesday: Ignite your child’s curiosity and keep your kids learning all summer through engaging enrichment activities to keep them off the summer learning slide (e.g. brain brain).
Miss Managed Thursday: Bring a sense of calm to summer chaos. Pull kids into family management activities and show them how managing time, sharing responsibilities and organizing space creates more free time for everyone.
Freaky Friday: It’s time to turn your wild side loose with experiments and new adventures. Let the kids get dirty and plan a fun day of discovery.
Step 2: Manage the coveted screen time!
A conversation about screen time with my family is like opening Pandora’s box in the house. We all agree screen time is a great pastime and modern technology enhances parts of our lives. We disagree however on how much screen time is too much as a well as what age-appropriate content looks like on said screen. This summer our family will develop Screen Time Rules of Engagement. Together we will voice our individual needs and wants, set boundaries, agree on rules, and tie it all together in a clever little contract. I am confident this will move us in some direction.
Step 3: Delegate!
My husband, he’s a funny one. He said the other day, “There shouldn’t be any reason I will need to do yard work once the kids are out of school.” After I had picked myself up off the ground from laughing, I realized he might be right.
I am heading into the summer with two jobs, two kids at home, two dogs, two guinea pigs, and the house. The awful list of responsibilities goes on and on. With the kids’ change in schedule, surely some of what I do can be delegated to them.
As I embrace this change of schedule, I will be using techniques I use as a Family Manager Coach – a skill I’m trained in. I will establish new routines, divide and conquer household jobs, and develop specific expectations for tasks. This will be a great opportunity to nurture character traits like responsibility and independence in the kids – I could use a little nurturing in these areas as well.
Connect with us!
At Families on the Home Front, we’re in this together and want to spend the summer with you! Every Monday and Thursday, we’ll have articles that focus on character development and family management. We’ll also have additional articles on technology, reading, science, experiments, you name it (!) throughout the summer.
I’ll be wearing my Family Manager Hat to help parents maximize their parenting potential by answering questions, providing parenting tips and planning summer enrichment activities for all ages.
Let’s do more than survive this summer, let’s THRIVE! We look forward to hearing from you!