Summer vacation. The kids are out of school and we all begin that shift in routine. I try to embrace it with positivity yet there’s no denying that balancing working at home with kids at home is a challenge.
I am always touched by Blair’s great perspective on summer with her kids on Wisecraft. Last year I was inspired by her Summer Rules that gently outlined some routine for the season without being too rigid. We’ve adopted a few of them, such as daily reading, playing outside, screen time limits, and trying to do things for themselves first.
I so want them to have the kind of summers we had as kids! I loved those days of exploration, running around the neighborhood until the streetlights came on. Although this neighborhood is full of kids, most spend their summers in camp or at the members-only pool. It’s become a real challenge to provide the opportunity for a spontaneous “find your own adventure” scenario. (We have a great park behind our house but apparently there’s “nothing to do” out there.)
Last year I adapted an idea came across on craftzine blog for a Family Summer Center. The boys helped me make it by stamping letters with paint onto fabric and pinning it to an old bulletin board. It has pockets for Places (go/went), People (see/saw), and Books (read/read). Everyone in the family writes things they’d like to do over the summer on a piece of paper and puts it in the appropriate pocket. After we do it/see it/read it, the paper moves over to the other pocket. It’s great to use on days when we want to do something but need ideas. There’s also a spot for goals and accomplishments. Last year’s big goal was the boys learning to ride their bikes. I think my personal goal of “organize the craft closet” will be an annual event.
Summer has so much promise for great moments together as a family without all of the demands of the school year. And far too soon the days of having my kids under foot will be over. I need to remind myself of that. (Like when water balloons end up in the house or when the groceries disappear twice as fast or when I’ve applied sunscreen for the 100th time…right?)
What do you do with your kids over the summer to keep them happily occupied? How do you balance work time and family time without feeling guilty that you are short changing one or the other?