Sunlight begins to peek it’s way between the blinds, birds start happily chirping near my window, I glare in their direction while feeling around for my phone. After fighting it all summer, it’s finally hit-the summer bummer, having sat down sometime in May to plan out our summer, I seem to have forgotten this one day would eventually come-the day when I’m just done being the responsible, interested and helpful adult in the house.
The thing is—I love my kids, the opportunity to teach and be with them more, and a more relaxed schedule, but there are other activities I also love that seem to get pushed aside every summer, which leaves me feeling overworked, underappreciated and grumpy when I’d rather be relaxed, engaged and happy. This year, I’m hoping to avoid the summer bummer by answering a few questions before it gets started. Maybe these questions can be helpful to you as well.
Question #1: What do I already have planned?
If you are in a typical school schedule, you have around 10 weeks of summer vacation. You probably don’t have to make plans for all 10 weeks. Maybe you have vacation time in there, maybe your kids have a camp, maybe you know you’re going to do nothing, but watch TV and play tablets for at least 3 weeks. Start with what you already have before making any other plans so you know what you need to plan for. If you’re looking for printables, you can print out some free calendars here.
Question #2: What do I need to keep in my schedule that’s part of my current schedule?
This may be obvious for some people, but too many times, in past summers, I’ve forgotten to plan on normal human activities like exercising and grocery shopping. It’s probably better to know and plan on what you need to do then be surprised and grumpy about it later. Wednesday will be my grocery shopping day and exercise will be done before the kids get up. Done.
Question #3: What are your priorities and goals?
It’s always important to know what really matters to you in life, but summer is one of the many times when we can get sidetracked by what other moms are doing and lose our sense of what we want to do. That’s why before you ask around, search on Pinterest or sign up for camps, it’s important that you think about what you really want summer to look like. It might be a good idea to ask your kids as well. Our priorities are: avoid losing what we’ve learned in school, learn some new skills we don’t typically have time for during school, relax and enjoy time with friends and family.
In those priorities you can also help your kids and yourself set some goals. Typically, it seems like 5 is about the right number for us, we include in the mix of goals some they pick and some I pick. In past summers, I’ve had them pick all goals that relied heavily on me, which I’m trying to avoid this summer by finding ways they can work on their goals that don’t include me.
Question #4: What will be your rules?
Here’s where you get real about what is going to drive you crazy and make a plan for how you will react. Does arguing bug you? The constant noise? Maybe it’s the water cups that seem to multiply. Mess and arguments are my biggest ones, so we will go over the rules we already have which include talking it out when we have a disagreement and cleaning up after we’re done with something.
Question #5: What will be your typical daily schedule?
I’m a planner, that may be obvious, but something I’ve discovered is whether you stick to the plan or not, it is helpful to write it down. Just knowing that every day one kid needs to get a nap, one needs to practice their piano and another needs to get some exercise can help you figure out your day a bit easier.
With over 8 years under my belt of planning summers, I feel like I’ve run the gauntlet of methods of planning, mistakes in planning and planning too much or too little for our summers. This year, I am hoping to avoid the summer bummer by asking myself these important questions beforehand.
What about you? What methods do you use to teach, have fun with and enjoy your kids this summer?
Write it down, talk it over with a friend or leave a comment below or on Facebook.
Coming up, I’ll be sharing my plan for a “Mom and Me bookclub” as well as some plans for making summer easier.