Let’s be honest… Spring fever hits and you are ready for summer. You can’t wait for the morning school routine to end. Dreaming of the morning struggles to become a distant memory and replaced with the sound of birds chirping and little giggles mixed with water splashes in the backyard. Ah, the euphoria of summer… until you hear the inevitable “I’m bored”. Then, realizing that having everyone home leads to more laundry, more dishes, more struggles. Frankly, some of us hit this wall the second week of June. Am I right? So, here are some tips to keeping your sanity while keeping the littles occupied so everyone can enjoy a well-deserved summer break!
Organize for The Time You Have
Dishes, laundry and clutter are a relentless, never ending cycle. So, think about how you can minimize the time and energy spent here. How about the “no fold” method for doing laundry. If you are like me, you are probably already picking outfits out of the dryer or basket anyway. Just make it a little more organized. Give everyone their own basket and if it’s age appropriate, make them responsible for their own clothes and getting dressed. You separate laundry into the baskets (no folding). They have to take their basket to their room, so you don’t have to look at the unfolded mess! Buy a bottle of Downy Wrinkle Remover and all good.
And speaking of rooms… Let it go… let it go (cue Frozen). Is the fight worth it? To keep messes to a minimum in the bedrooms, think about rotating toys in and out. Try boxing up half the toys in the room and hiding them. In two or three weeks, do a room clean and rotate the toys in the room out for the toys that are boxed up. It will be like Christmas in July!
And for dishes… Consider allowing your child to pick a “favorite” cup and reuse it throughout the day. Hop on the KennisKorner accessories page for some SUPER cute cups (https://kenniskorner.com/collections/accessories). As for plates and utensils, consider biodegradable. Did you know you can purchase wooden cutlery sets?! I am a big “save the trees” kinda gal but you do what you gotta do to keep the sanity. And I found some on Amazon that are made from bamboo so yay for the environment!
Finally, you may also consider one pot meals or meal prepping. I like to buy bulk hamburger and chicken and cook it all in one day with simple seasonings. I meal prep with half then bag and freeze the other half. Then when you come home late from the pool, you don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner! This saves on the number of pots and pans you have to wash and cooking time every day.
Entertaining the Kids While Keeping Your Sanity
When you run out of things to occupy the munchkins and you start to hear the groans and bickering of boredom, have a few tricks up your sleeve. Depending on age and appropriateness, a scavenger or treasure hunt for just about anything can keep the little humans busy. Attach a treat or reward to the “find”. This can work anywhere… at home, the park, the beach, the zoo. And it NEVER gets old. For example, at home do you ever hear “I can’t find…” … well, whoever finds “x” gets a reward. At the park do a search for a specific color rock, bug or maybe flower, feather or some other items. You can easily find scavenger hunt ideas online. Keeps them busy and it is minimal effort on your part.
With older children, I use chores and hide money or other rewards. My son, “I’m bored”. My response, “go mow the lawn”. If he chooses to mow the lawn, he may find a $20 bill hidden on the lawn mower. I tell him to put dishes away. He may find a reward in one of the dishes. I don’t do it all the time, but it keeps him guessing and motivated.
Boundaries and Expectations
Finally, to keep the peace (and your sanity), remember that you need to set boundaries and expectations in the beginning. Start the summer off right by setting the ground rules. Every family and schedule is different and what you do during the school year doesn’t necessarily transition to the summer schedule. How late will you allow them to stay up at night? How late will you let them sleep in during the day? What activities do you think you can reasonably expect them to do during the summer?
And don’t forget about yourself. What do you want for yourself? Do you want to incorporate your own down time into the family expectations? I trained my children very young on how to tell time so that they knew when they could have my full attention. Use a clock or set a timer for them. You explain that you can’t be interrupted for anything (except emergencies) until a certain time or the buzzer goes off. I started with 15-minute breaks and built up to a full hour… It took practice but worked like a charm!
As always, we wish your summer full of happiness and giggles!