Well, friends, it's that time once again. Here in Arizona, it's been sunny and warm for awhile now, but there's no doubt about it: Summer is here in full force with scorching temps, blazing sun, and hours of daylight to fill with fun activities. While mom works.
This will be the first summer of my kids' lives where I wasn't working from home. For the first time in twelve years, I am faced with needing to find things for my kids to do while I'm out of the house for work that doesn't involve them totally melting their brains with endless days of electronics, TV and movies. Don't get me wrong, they will enjoy those things - just not all day everyday.
So, as I was brainstorming how to survive this summer with our family and mental capacities in tact, I thought perhaps some of you might benefit from these ideas as well.
1. Have a routine. My kids thrive on knowing roughly what is happening when—and this is rarely more true than in the lazy days of summer. Have a plan of what needs to happen and when, while trying to keep flexible for those last minute invitations and playdates that inevitably pop up. Make sure the kids know what food is available for which meals, and post the family schedule on the fridge or other public area so everyone knows who has what going on when (swim team practice, summer school schedules, etc).
2. Have a daily plan. This goes hand in hand with the routine. Do your kids need to complete a certain number of things before they can go on electronics? Consider a summer electronics plan such as this one. Or maybe a chore chart to ensure the house stays in order? Make sure your kids know what is expected of them each day.
3. Take advantage of VBSes, summer clubs, etc. Many churches offer free Vacation Bible School for school-aged kiddos. I know several friends whose kids attend several of these each summer. And with the wide array of curriculums out there, it's possible they won't even repeat a theme! Many libraries offer free summer activities for kids, as well as lots of schools offering summer camps that vary in theme and cost. Take advantage of these and maybe offer to split drop offs or pick ups with a friend or neighbor to help lighten the load.
4. Keep dinners simple. One of our favorite summertime dinners is the Snack Supper. We chop up a bunch of fresh veggies, get some deli meat or pre-cooked/roasted chicken (or roast your own and chop and refrigerate it), and a few cheeses and some summer fruits. We lounge in the living room and eat our feast and follow it up with a dessert of cold melon. Keep your dinners as simple as possible in the summer. Not only will it keep your house cooler, it will keep your mind calmer when you walk in the door after a long day of working.
5. Build in time for a little fun. Maybe you can't whisk your family off on a grand vacation - and can barely squeeze in a trip to the community pool. Try to build in some fun times even if it's just popsicles for dessert after you run through the sprinklers after dinner before tucking the kids in for bed.
This is my personal plan of attack for this summer. Will you implement any of these ideas? Are you a working mom? What tips do you have to offer your fellow mamas to survive the dog days of summer?