It’s here! Those lazy summer days. Kids are out of school, and we plan picnics and family outings. Or if you’re like my family, our June and July weekends are already booked solid with activities. However, even in the midst of summer, for some it can be a pain. I remember the days as a young mom of elementary school aged children. The kids would whine and complain no matter what I had done to try to plan a fun day. By supper, I was ready to pull my hair out. These are some helpful tips to hopefully make the summer go easier.
Plan a bucket list
I saw this a couple of years ago. A mom of young boys, had a butcher paper poster on her dining room wall. Written in childish scrawl and adult handwriting, was their bucket list. Since I saw it in July, some things had been scratched off, but there were still a ton of things to look forward to.
A bucket list is a wish list. Explain to your littler ones that not everything will be crossed off by the end of the summer, but the goal is to see how many different things you can do.
Examples would include eating lunch outside, going to the pool, taking a bike ride, watching fireworks, etc. Remember to add your normal summer activities. If you go to grandma’s for the Fourth of July, write it on your list. Take in a summer library program. Read books to your kids. Need a list of suggestions? Check out suggested reading material from my posts for Spring Break, February, and Children’s Book Week. The Seed Saver series may give you another activity to add to your bucket list–gardening!
Make a Peace Chart
Once your bucket list is made, you may need a peace chart. The peace chart was introduced to me by my mother-in-law early on in my child rearing years. My kids were arguing and fighting and whining. It wasn’t pretty. My mother-in-law saw an advise article in the Democrat Herald of Albany, Oregon. It suggested what I then created as The Peace Chart. I took a regular piece of paper, placed the title Peace Chart on the top and the verse from Romans 14:19 in my own paraphrase, “Do everything in your power to keep the peace”, at the bottom. In between the title and the verse, I placed a table. Each row represented a day of the week. Each column represented a time when the kids ‘broke’ my peace and I had to intervene. At first they had three warning boxes that would be checked off as they broke the peace. After those first warnings though, came privileges they’d lose, such as no movies, no video games, no more water activities, and eventually no more playing outdoors and go to your room! Rarely did they make it to their rooms.
I did learn to make the privileges things I could handle them losing.
For instance, I left going to their room as the last resort because I knew it would be more a fight for me to follow through with it.
Enjoy the Small Things
One of the things I looked forward to the most about summer with the kids was huckleberry pancakes. We live in a rural area and fresh berries are available by walking out the door and picking them. We’d all traipse outside in the morning and pick the red huckleberries to use in our breakfast pancakes or muffins.
Another enjoyable activity was having the kids help pick center pieces for the table. They didn’t have to be elaborate, just something we found in our adventures that day. If we went to the creek, we’d bring back some river rock and place it around a candle on the table. If we were in the yard and found flowers, we’d pick some for the table. It was a simple thing that brought beauty to the day and gave a conversation starter for the kids to talk with Dad around the evening meal. That seed probably is why we have such great times around our dinner table now with the kids in their twenties and mid teens. Check out more about that in my post, A Lost Art.
So what will you do this summer? What’s on your bucket list? Anything special? Let me know in the comments.