Summer break is right around the corner, if it hasn’t already started. For many moms, this can be a large source of anxiety.
What are you going to do with the kids during those six hours of the day? How will you get the things done you need to, now that you have the kids to tote around? There will be more messes to clean. You’ll likely spend more money on entertainment and food because they’re going to be bored and the kids might just decide to satisfy that boredom with constant trips to the pantry and fridge.
And with more sunshine, the days are soooo much longer!
As a mom of eight children, five of whom are school-aged, I have not only survived many summers, but thrived. In fact, our countdown to summer starts on the first day of school, because we LOVE our summers!
With a little creativity, a lot of love, patience and a whole lot of “letting the good times roll,” you can love it, too. Here are eight of my tips on how to do just that:
1. Plan some trips: Summer vacation should be just that: A chance to vacation! Each summer, we have 2-3 trips planned as a family that can last anywhere from four days to a week long. We plan these trips ahead of time so that we make sure we all have the time off, and that we have the money set aside for them. We usually have one right at the start of summer, in the middle, and one toward the end.
Doing this gives us all something to look forward to, and we make great memories during our family time away.
2. Be spontaneous: As great as it is to plan trips, it’s just as awesome to be spontaneous. Being a stay-at-home mom, I have the ability to wake up and decide on the fly if we want to go somewhere that day. Some days we go for a hike, bike ride, down to the local pond or to the park. I might drive down to my parents’ house to have a night away at no cost.
Speaking of cost, the budget is always a concern. We can’t have days at the movie theater, theme park, or anywhere where extra dollars are spent. Even so, these little trips are great, and the kids love them!
3. Skip the routine: Some parents and parenting experts may disagree with me on this, but to me, summer is a time when the routine is thrown completely out the window. The kids roll out of bed when they’re ready on most days. And to be honest, they get up pretty darn early because they’re not dreading the day like they often do during the school year.
In fact, I often find them springing out of bed and playing before I even have breakfast ready. This, my friends, is the beauty of summer. We fly by the seats of our pants most days, and what a great way to live!
4. Water is a must: Summer days can get hot, and the most effective way to combat that without cranking the A/C, is to play in the water.
We’ll go to local reservoirs or wade in the stream up the canyon. If that’s not possible, turn the sprinklers on and let them run around for a while. We love water so much, that our big trip we plan each year, is to our all-time favorite place– Lake Powell on the Utah/Arizona border. We spend a week at the end of the summer on the lake, and we just can’t get enough.
5. Make messes: Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like a messy house. But there’s a difference between gross messy and fun messy, and I love the fun messy. Play dough, paper and markers are a few of my staples. We cook a lot, and that is also fun messy.
The downstairs family room is basically one big blanket fort the entire summer long, and it’s kind of my favorite. These are the messes I love because they’re the kind that make you smile.
6. Laugh a lot: The days can most definitely be stressful. People who spend a lot of time in a small space together, often end up fighting and causing other unnecessary contention. And one of the best ways to combat fighting and tension is smiling and laughing.
Play around with funny Snapchat filters. Watch funny videos. Have a water fight outside or a pillow fight. It only takes a few minutes or even seconds to cut through the tension before you’re able to sail through at least the next few hours.
7. Give yourself time: So much of a mom’s life is spent making sure others are happy — as it should be. But, it’s so important to keep things in check by giving yourself time, too. Whether you enjoy reading, going for a run, sewing, drawing — or simply going to the store alone — make sure that you make time for yourself.
8. Let the good times roll: Summer break is a time to do nothing and everything! It’s a time to be and to play without thinking. It’s these times when kids, tweens, teens and adults can be free from the rigor of homework, and answering to a schedule full of deadlines. It’s a time to refresh, regroup and remind yourself of the nucleus that is your family!