While summer may be a great break from the school year pressures, it also brings different challenges to the family, one of which is the stress of managing the family’s free time.Almost every child looks forward to the flexibility of summer; however, kids tend to feel more secure and are more successful when they know what the schedule is and what is expected of them. Developing a schedule which balances structured time with free time can help everyone have a relaxing – and productive — summer.
Here are five ideas to help get you started:
1. Create simple morning and evening routines for the family.
Even in the summer it is crucial to schedule a regular bedtime, though it likely will be later than during the school year. The bedtime routine would include picking up clutter, brushing teeth and perhaps reading a story together.
2. Don’t sign up the kids for too many activities.
It’s tempting to keep them busy with soccer, swim lessons, art classes and so forth. Although we don’t want the kids becoming “couch tater tots,” we do need to allow for some “down time.” Consider “theme” days, including a PJ day (as mentioned previously), library day, picnic day, animal day, art day and “chef” day – whatever kinds of interests fit your family.
3. Incorporate learning into your activities.
If one of your summer outings is to the Olympic Game Farm, have the kids learn about the different animals there through the Internet and/or books from the library. Have them create artwork of the animals or write a letter to the game farm staff about what they learned.
4. Limit TV, Internet and video game time.
You might want to think about having the kids “earn” time for these things by completing specific household or decluttering tasks. Keep these simple. For example, have them clean out one dresser drawer; or have each child pick up all of their particular things that are on the living room floor to earn 30 minutes of TV watching.
5. Create your own summer camp.
Not everyone can afford to send the kids to camp, but there are a number of resources available with ideas and strategies for creating your own summer camp at home. Marla Cilley, known as The Flylady, developed Camp GonnaWannaFLY to help families incorporate tackling household tasks along with having fun through the summer months. Check out her ideas at www.flylady.net and putting “Camp GonnaWannaFLY” in the search box.
Summer does not have to be filled with bored kids who end up as couch potatoes! Look forward to the change in routine that summer brings, but incorporate some structure as well and make this summer the perfect time to schedule activities to enrich your children’s lives and bring the family closer together.
Brenda Spandrio, aka The Declutter Lady, is an organizing and productivity consultant. If you need help starting your declutter project, she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 360-504-2520.