As the days get longer I begin to get as antsy as the kids for the freedom of summer. I long for the relaxed summer days I loved as a kid. The problem is, sometimes all that freedom turns into frustration and crankiness when nobody knows what's next and everyone gets bored.
Luckily, in the past few years I've come up with a few ways to let us enjoy freedom, but to keep us from turning into a frustrated grumpy crowd. Here are my top 5 ways to enjoy a relaxed summer with your kids.
1. Have a basic Daily Plan.
This is key for making your summer run smoother! Having a basic outline for your days gives you space to live the intention you have for this summer, and helps everyone know what to expect.
- Look for “way points.” These are the events in the day that get you back on track if your day is feeling wonky: after THIS, then THAT happens. More ideas on making a flexible routine here.
- What routines do you have from the school year that already work – wake up routine? afternoon snack? other normal way points? Having a loose framework during your day will help everyone feel more relaxed.
2. Make a low pressure bucket list
I don't want to get to the end of summer and feel crushed that we never made it camping, didn't visit the creek and missed out on farmers market, but without some sort of list it's easy to forget.
No need to do everything on the list, and no need to pack these items into the first week of summer – but we'll be able to look at it and aim for doing something each week. I'll know we're making memories we'll treasure when we choose to do something on the list. I like using my Camp Mom Activity and Planning Pack as a starting place for planning summer fun.
3. Outside time every day.
Rain or shine, outside play is the key to my kids getting along and me getting along with them. Summer memories are made of the texture of mud, the smell of leaves and the exhilaration of climbing the tree you couldn't reach the year before.
4. Alone time, down-time each day.
We all need a little time to ourselves, and we all need time to breath when a day's been busy. You can try a quiet reading time, or a down-time at a regular time each day. Maybe have specific toys put aside for downtime. If you're more go-with-the-flow, you can anticipate that in the normal rhythm of the day any burst of energy and togetherness will do well to be followed by a breath of calm.
Here are a few ideas that may help if you have a toddler or preschooler:
5. Make a Screen Time and Media Plan
Making an plan will help keep screen time from taking over your summer. Put some thought into when you're ok with the kids doing media and then stick to the plan. They might not like it at first, but they'll be happier when they know what it is. Some of the things to consider are:
- Do you want them going outside to play first?
- When is media most disruptive in your family?
- When do you as a parent or caregiver want that break that media might give?
- How will you enforce your rules, and is everyone clear on what the rules are?
Want a little help planning for a fun summer? Need to find ways to balance your own needs with being present with the kids? Camp Mom gives you summer planning and play. If you'd like easy summer planning pages plus loads of at-home-fun for kids ages 3-9 make sure you check out Camp Mom!