Summer survival with kids can be a stressful but a word of advice from this homeschool mom, it doesn’t have to be.
I hear it all the time “I don’t have the patience to homeschool because I would go crazy having my kids around all the time.” I am immune to this statement by now. So I politely nod my head and say “It isn’t for everyone.”
Then summer comes around and before long moms of school aged kids are yelling, “When do the kids go to back to school?!” I’m gonna let you in a little secret. Homeschool moms get a chuckle out of this. No judgement of course, more like a “spending-time-with-your-kids-during-the-most-awesome-part-of-the-year-isn’t-that-hard” kind of chuckle. Homeschool moms don’t know everything of course, but we do know how to survive with our kids day-in and day-out. Today I have provided you with 10 tips for summer survival with kids.
Make a schedule
School is heavily scheduled and going from that to no schedule at all throws kids off. Depending on your child, your home schedule can be loose or strict. Some kids need an hour by hour schedule, whereas others just need to know what is going on that day. The easiest thing to do is set up blocks of time for the day: morning chores, lunch/screen time, afternoon errands, evening routine. Setting up a schedule can seem overwhelming but it’s really about following the lead of your child and what type of routine best suits their needs. Here are some tips from Supernanny to help you get started.
Set house rules
The first day of summer is an exellent time to make a new set of house rules. Think about it. On the first day of school, teachers usually go over classroom rules and classroom management is not all that different from household management. Come together as a family and write out a list of household rules. A good rule of thumb is one rule for each year of age. Post the list of rules where everyone can see them. And make sure to follow through on the consequences if any rules are broken.
Have reasonable expectations
Don’t slack on expectations simply because they aren’t in school. It’s called summer vacation but that doesn’t mean they can be lazy, have an attitude, or do exactly what they want all day/summer long. On the flip side, don’t be so strict that even the kids can’t wait to go back to school.
Schedule fun activities
Summer is a perfect time to spent time together as a family. Take the time to research some fun activities going on in your hometown. It could be a drive-in movie, an outdoor concert, making a trip to every city park in your town, little league games, or just spending everyday at the pool. When kids have fun family activities to look forward to, they make the most of their independent time.
Make room for downtime
Make sure your kids are bored at some point this summer! Yes, I said it. Boredom is good for kids. It makes them think and come up with new and different ways to play. Family activities are great, but be careful not to over schedule your kids. As parents, it’s a delicate balance between over scheduling and under scheduling.
Have a way to cope with irritating behavior
Through no fault of their own, kids can get annoying. It could be an irritating fake laugh, they have to sing to themselves constantly, a nervous tic like pen clicking or toe tapping. When you are in one house for extended period of time you have to have a coping mechanism. Mine is, I go to my room and close the door. My office is in my room so the kids think I am “working.” But you can schedule alone time during the day, schedule outside time during the witching hour, or just double up on the wine 😉
If you aren’t used to kids in your home all day, they can be quite ravenous. Plan extra money in the grocery budget, but don’t let the kids take advantage i.e. lots of junk food that leaves them hungry in an hour. Develop a system for snacks and meal times. I write breakfast and dinner on our calendar each day and the kids are responsible for making their lunches.
Address the summer slide
With the testing nature of schools, it isn’t surprising they are worried about kids forgetting things over the summer. They may have assigned work which you need to help them schedule time to finish. Our surrounding school districts have “summer school” where parents select classes for kids to take for a few weeks in the summer. If your child is very studious and enjoys the routine of school, summer school or day camps may be a good option to look into. Libraries across the country have summer reading programs so find out if it’s a good fit for your family. Or create your own summer reading list for your child. If reading isn’t their thing, find an activity or workbook that addresses their interests.
Let them sleep!
One of our reasons for homeschooling was sleep. I think a lot of kids today suffer from a lack of sleep, and summer is a great time for them recharge their batteries. My kids need a solid 11 hours of sleep. We have a delicate balance of activities, downtime, and sleep to keep them firing on all cylinders. Nothing is more exhausting than fighting a overtired, stressed, and over stimulated child.
Enjoy the moment
You have limitied time with you children at home. You have 18 summers with your kids. Realistically, you have about 5 summers where you actually want to be around them 😉 Take the time to slow down and enjoy being with your kids. Learn about them. Talk to them. Tell them stories about your life. One thing we can’t create with our kids is more time. Embrace this stage of your life and what your children are like in this moment.
Kids look forward to summer vacation like parents look forward to bedtime. Help your kids, and yourself, by setting your family up for success this summer. Create a schedule and family rules. Plan for some family fun but also time for relaxation. Make sure your kids are able to recharge their batteries and that mom isn’t driven insane. Summer survival with kids IS POSSIBLE and I hope these 10 tips from a homeschool mama bring you lots of summer fun.