As We Begin Summer…

Our summer has just begun, and so far we are having a great time! I should qualify this statement by disclosing a couple of things:

  1. I just got my hair cut at a salon that is part of a fancy fitness club (not ours), so my kids were in a very cool Kids’ Club for over an hour while I got my hair washed, cut, and blown dry by somebody else. The kids were excited to play, and I got my head and neck massaged – I see this as a win-win situation. Right now I’m feeling very refreshed and relaxed, so read all of the rest of these points with a grain of salt 🙂
  2. My husband is taking the day off on Wednesday so that we can celebrate Annie’s birthday, so I know that we will have dad home for a day in the middle of the week – this is such a treat for all of us.
  3. We are doing swim team, which means that we have a built-in structure to our days. We wake up every morning, eat breakfast, put on our sunscreen and swimsuits, and head to the pool. Our family does MUCH better when we have a routine, and swim team helps us to transition from school to summer quite nicely. I’m always sad when swim season ends, in part because we have to work harder to create a structure for our mornings.
  4. All of my kids are pretty good swimmers, so I can comfortably spend an afternoon at the pool with them without feeling completely frazzled by the end. We are blessed to have a great pool in our neighborhood, and we spend a lot of time up there between May and September!
  5. Our community has some great libraries and a local bookshop that offer free summer activities for my children. For example, today one library is offering a “Paper Crafting” activity for the older kids, and tomorrow another library is hosting a magician. The bonus of having these activities at the library is that while my older kids are in the activity, I can be reading books with my 3 year-old. The book shop offers “camp” for an hour each Wednesday afternoon for kids ages 5 and up, and a “board game club” for an hour on Thursday afternoons. Awesome!
  6. We have some fun family visits to look forward to in July and August, so we are all excited about those.
  7. My kids like to read and draw, which are great activities for quiet time.

And, just to balance out this post, some of our biggest challenges this summer are going to be:

  1. Limiting TV-time: When the kids are bored, they ask to watch a video. Some days we watch more videos than others, depending in large part on: a) How much time we are spending in the house that day; b) How much I need to get done that day; and c) How willing I am to deal with whining that day. My goal is to limit video time to one hour each day, which sounds like a lot but goes by very quickly!
  2. Finding indoor activities to keep us all occupied. The summers here in Texas are long, hot, and sticky, and the only bearable outdoor activities are those that involve submersion in the water. By August, even this isn’t that much fun since all of the pools are lukewarm at this point. We will be seeking out air conditioning with the rest of our fellow Texans!
  3. Consistently practicing our instruments: guitar for our 9 year-old and piano for our 5 year-old. The trick seems to be making music practice a family event, so I ask my 9 year-old to practice his guitar in the middle of the kitchen and I stay close by while my 5 year-old plays the piano. I’m realizing more and more that music lessons are no good if I don’t facilitate practices in-between!
  4. Coming up with a good chore schedule: We have struggled with this over the years, but our kids are getting older and there are definitely chores that they can be doing on a consistent basis. I need to buckle down and find a system that works for our family, which I think will also need to involve some sort of an incentive.
  5. Getting the kids on-board with “quiet time.” I would like to have quiet time for an hour after lunch every day, but the kids are protesting. Let me know how you structure quiet time at your house, and what activities have worked for different age groups, please!

Blessings to all of you on this Monday afternoon. Mary, Queen of Families, pray for us!

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  • Bethany

    Kat, this is all really great. I have many of the same tricks up my sleeve for summer. We have also added swim team to our list and are enjoying it all ready. Pool rats, we will be! I have some great summer boredom busters I have been gathering on Pinterest, so I’ll be sure to include them in a post later this week. Great job with the hair cut too! I need to find a place like that–worth the investment if I don’t also have to find childcare too! xoxo

  • Erin

    1. That one hour of screen time goes by fast. I say this as my kids are watching SuperWhy this morning. Which leaves me without the go-to video as I make dinner later. What are everyone’s activities for the kids while you are making dinner?
    2. We do quiet time after lunch too. THe little ones nap and I start by reading to the big one for 30 minutes or so then I quietly disappear to get my work/chores done and my expectation is he stays on the couch to read. He gets one star for every book read in quiet time, which usually creates a good incentive. He does much better with it if I take myself elsewhere (which might include my bed, with my eyes closed).
    3. I don’t know you, but I have thought of you often over this last year and prayed for you and your sweet one Annie. Your journey had touched me and I just wanted to let you know. I can’t imagine the year that you have had and it brings me to tears when I think about it. I will keep you in my prayers this week especially.

  • Kat0427

    Thanks so much, Erin, for your thoughts and prayers for our family.
    As far as the pre-dinner time, my kids are usually begging me for food and running around like crazy people for the 15 minutes that it takes me to get everything on the table. My weeknight meals are usually either very simple, or I’ve made them ahead of time and they just need to be warmed up. If I turn on a video, they make a big fuss when I turn it off because they’re overtired and hungry, so this isn’t the best option for us. They are supposed to help set the table and get drinks, which sometimes happens and sometimes doesn’t!

  • Kat0427

    Can’t wait to hear your ideas, Bethany!

  • Elaine

    I’m testing out a new chore system this summer that I hope I can use next school year. I’ve found that with just the right amount of chores/activities, they tend to not get bored. And if they do, that’s when I break out the tv! I’ll try to do a blog post about the system (if it keeps working!), but essentially, they earn saint coins (that I made using wooden disks and stickers I made from ebooks) for doing chores joyfully. Each week I open the “family store” where they can spend the coins on things like board games with mommy, coffee shop with daddy, candy, extra Wii time, etc. We’re starting in earnest next week, so I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂 And quiet time…have you considered throwing them all in the backyard and locking the door? 😉 -Elaine