School’s out for summer! This is the season of swimming pools and watermelon; ice cream trucks and camping trips. It’s supposed to be all fun and games, right? Well, maybe for younger kids, but summertime often means lots of stress for parents. Without school to map out (and take up!) big chunks of the day, stay-at-home moms and dads suddenly have a lot more work to do. So how can parents stay sane this summer?
Balancing Fun and Work
Although school stops for many kids, housework and errands certainly don’t. Some parents might opt to bring the kiddos along for all of the errands and maybe take advantage of having some extra hands to clean the house during the day. These are all great family-time activities, even if they don’t feel like it at the time. Kids need to learn about shopping and cleaning, too! But if your days just feel full of chores, be sure to set aside some time to just have FUN. Plan an afternoon picnic at a park or go to the local pool for an hour or two. Weaving in some good old fashioned summer fun (running through the sprinkler outside is always a great option) will help relieve stress on you and get the kids tired for nap time.
Teach Kids About Scheduling
As we just mentioned, kids need to learn about juggling chores and work along with making food and having playtime. Let your kids be part of the planning process so they can learn about scheduling, balancing work and play, and developing some good time/math skills. You can go so far as to make a day-to-day schedule for the whole house or you can let your children plan when they want to work and play. Setting a schedule and having them stick to it is a great summer lesson. And it will keep stress levels low for parents.
Schedule Quiet Time
No matter how your family decides to approach a less stressful summer this year, be sure to plan quiet time. Library visits, reading time, and naps are all great ways to make sure you get some time for yourself. Don’t be concerned about them being bored either. Maintaining quiet hours is required in school, too, so this won’t be a big adjustment even if there is a little kicking and crying at first.
If the budget allows, encourage your kids to take up a new activity or hobby. Painting, music classes, soccer teams, and swimming are just a few ideas. Look for options offered by area universities, neighborhood centers, and high schools. Many will have daytime camps that run either an entire work day or a partial day. This gives your kids something fun to do and allows you to rest/run errands or fit in some work from home, if needed. Half-day camps usually come at a lower cost, too.
We will post some more great summer ideas based around local areas soon.