As a child, I never quite understood one line in “it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas.” You know, the one that goes “mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again?” But as a mom of a school-aged child (and 2 younger ones as well), oh BOY do I get it! Imagine my horror when I looked at my calendar and realized: Summer vacation is here!
If you didn’t already realize that, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But maybe if we’re super prepared this time around, it won’t be so bad! (Ha!)
When my daughter started Pre-K I didn’t fully understand what I was in for as summer vacation approached. We went from her being at school for half of the day every day and me having a little time to get things done around the house to her suddenly back home ALL DAY. This also meant that she wanted my attention… ALL DAY.
“Feed me, Mom!”
“Play with me, Mom!”
“I’m hungry, Mom!”
“I’m bored…. thirsty…. tired…. hungry again… she’s playing with my toys….Mom, MOM, MOM”
You get the idea. And now that she’s in school all day, summer vacation feels even more daunting. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my kids. But shaking up the routine can be very challenging for everyone involved.
Here’s how I’m keeping my sanity this summer vacation:
Keeping it simple
My number 1 rule for summer vacation is: don’t try to do too much! You’ll end up with tired, cranky kiddos and probably a tired, cranky mom, too. This doesn’t mean I lock my kids in the closet for the summer (or do I?). Ahem… we definitely go out and do stuff! But we try to avoid days where we are rushing from one place to another with no time for the little ones to nap and no time for the older ones (and me) to decompress.
I realized pretty quickly that allowing the kids to run completely wild and destroy the house all summer was not going to work for me. At the beginning of summer vacation, I set expectations about what I need to happen in the house each day. Most days, we go to the pool, but we don’t leave the house until it’s (at least mostly) picked up.
Lots of snacks!!!
It goes without saying that you need to have healthy stuff on hand. I pick up lots of easy to eat fruits and veggies at the beginning of the week and make sure to have things already cut up and prepped before the week starts so I can just grab and go. This helps a ton because I bring a snack whenever we go ANYWHERE. Especially the pool. I got one of those super dorky rolling coolers and haven’t looked back! Bonus, my kids fight over who gets to pull it.
Besides the obvious fact that if the kids are inside, they are probably making a mess, outdoor time is very important! It helps kids connect with their environment and helps them build strength and confidence. My 2 year old likes to “hunt for dragons” in the woods behind our house and the 5 year old likes making fairy houses and rollerskating. Find your kiddo’s interests and follow them. Bonus points if you can find an activity where they play by themselves and you lounge in an adirondack chair in the shade!
I like to plan at least one activity every day during summer vacation. Activities can be as small as going for a walk around the neighborhood or having a friend come over. I also like to try to do one or two bigger activities at some point during the week like going to a museum or the library. These depend a lot on the weather and the age and interests of your child.
Have a “go to” activity for those hot “bored” days
Ours is going to the pool. And let me tell you, the pool membership is worth it’s weight in gold. Now this might not be for your family, but I can’t recommend coming up with a “go to” activity enough! Your “go to” activity should be something that is fun for the kids, tolerable for adults, and easy to plan for. When we go to the pool, I have a routine of what I need to pack, how long we’ll stay and (for the most part) what we’ll do while we’re there. Parking is easy and bathrooms and changing rooms are close by. This was invaluable last year with two little ones while pregnant and will be even more important this year with three!
So now you know how I’m surviving (or maybe even enjoying) summer vacation! What are YOU going to do? Comment below with your best tips and tricks, I’d love to hear them!