Tomorrow marks the beginning of summer vacation for my six children. And they can’t wait.
Currently, my oldest three are cramming for final exams, while my younger three are cleaning out desks and making teacher gifts.
As for me, I am switching back and forth between excitement and trepidation about what the next three months (87 days to be exact) will bring. I am the type of mom who likes the predictability of the school year—the rhythm of the day, the routines, the time to get things done. I also feel pressure to keep my kids happy and busy in the summer, and I worry about running out of ideas and then allowing too much screen time too early in the season.
In an effort to find that happy place for me and my kids, every year I try to spend some time thinking about what kind of summer I want to have with my family. My hope is to set myself and my kids up for a successful, fun-filled summer. In the past, I have over-scheduled us, to the point of exhaustion. And I have also under-scheduled us to the point of boredom. I am trying to balance fun activities with enough structure so that my home and my sanity don’t unravel during these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
How are you feeling about beginning the summer season?
If you are like me, perhaps you are also spending some time brainstorming ideas for your family. Maybe you’re checking out Pinterest or your favorite blogs. Maybe you’re finding things that will work. Perhaps you’re also finding things that look too complicated. I need to keep things simple, if I want them to be successful. I have learned this the hard way.
Do you need to keep things simple, too?
As I think about the summer, I have gone back and reviewed some things I’ve done in the past (that have worked), and I have also found some smart, new ideas to try. Perhaps these suggestions will spark inspiration for you, as you plan and prep for summer.
Five Summer Suggestions
Making a plan. I have signed my kids up for sports camps, VBS, and a few other activities. But as a family, we also need to keep up with laundry, meals, and basic cleaning. I really hope to accomplish a few house projects, too. And of course, we also want to hit the pool, beach, and other summer hotspots. To fit everything in without losing my sanity (see below), we need a plan that we can keep. One blog post I found to be very helpful was The Simple Summer by Clean Mama. I especially like her idea of a daily checklist.
Saving my sanity. No matter what our plans, we have to make sure they are realistic. A few years ago, I wrote a four-step approach to summer with the hope of decreasing anxiety and increasing enjoyment of summer. After re-reading it, I find that these things are still really important to a happy summer.
Busting the boredom. As moms, we know that with all the careful planning, we will still have days with no plan at all. We actually want that during the summer, so the kids can just be kids—running in the sprinkler, riding bikes, and building forts. This is the carefree nature of summer! But whether kids will admit it or not, too little structure often leads to boredom. Sometimes kids can work through it and find something to do, but sometimes, they need a bit of help. To inspire me, I found several great “boredom buster” ideas from Clean Mama, including an activity basket, a S’mores kit, and a fun cookie-baking contest.
Keeping the faith. Even though the summer season may be more relaxed with fewer structured routines, it is important that we don’t lose all the structure. One area that we don’t want to get too lax is our faith. Here are seven ways my family has kept our faith alive and active during the summer months. Maybe these ideas will inspire your family, too.
Asking the kids. Over the years, when I have invited my kids to be part of the planning, I have discovered two things: 1) they have great ideas, and 2) they are more willing to do the not-so-fun activities, such as keeping their room clean and putting away the laundry, when they know one of their ideas is going to happen later that day or week. So, at the beginning of each summer, we sit down as a family and make a summer bucket list. Then, we schedule as many of those ideas on our family calendar. This is truly a win-win for kids and mom.
Two Summer Freebies
To help us kick off the season of summer, I am sharing TWO fun (and free) printables with all of my email subscribers. One is a little reminder to post that will help curb boredom, and the other one will help your family brainstorm a summer bucket list. If you do not get my very irregular emails, you can subscribe HERE or in the right sidebar. I always hope that what I share with you is encouraging, uplifting, and helpful. Your email is safe with me, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
So, here’s to summer! May it be intentional, sane, fun, and faith-filled. Please share your plans and ideas in the comments below. And let me know how you use your printables (tag me in your Instagram photos @sarahcdamm). As always, I love to hear from you.