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:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- We have some fun family visits to look forward to in July and August, so we are all excited about those.
- 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:
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!