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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #49: Staying Sane in Summer!

Thirteen Things about Staying Sane in Summer

Like so many mothers everywhere, with kiddos out of school for the summer, I tend to go a little crazy. I'm pretty sure their goal is to "Mom, I'm bored," me to death. This summer, however, I have a plan. And here are just a few ideas as to how to beat the boredom and stay sane this summer. Share some of your favorites!

1. Have a schedule! Kids are used to a school schedule and knowing what happens when. While I don't think it's a good idea to have it as tight as school, giving the kids a basic framework, like, on Monday, we have library; on Tuesday, we have Mom's writing group; on Wednesday, we do whatever; on Thursday, we have Mom's writing group; on Friday, we go on a field trip; etc. It's not rigid, but they know something is coming, and they can look forward to it.

2. Take advantage of the local library summer programs. They've got great summer reading incentives. At our house, Monday is library day, and the kids know it. We go to the library, pick out new books, and then have a picnic in the park adjacent to the library.

3. Take advantage of the "freebies." With the library program, we got all sorts of coupons for free or reduced cost entry to local attractions. Who can say no to a free trip to the amusement park or bowling?

4. Go park hopping. Explore the local parks and try something new. It's amazing how a dinky park your kids have never been to ends up being the coolest place on earth simply because it's something new.

5. Set goals with your kiddos. Summertime is exciting if they're working toward something. One of the girls wants some new Webkinz. The other wants more Disney Princesses and accessories. I gave each of them goals that when they achieve their goals, we'll go buy them. Of course, to reach their goals, it means putting forth consistent effort all summer. (And staying out of my hair!)

6. Make them work. We went to a local living history museum recently and the parents were stunned at all the chores young children had to do. Certainly, there's no coal to shovel at our house, but there's plenty of work to be done. It's amazing how much they'll do to get to go to the amusement park (and the tickets were FREE, courtesy of the library. Love it!).

7. Start a garden. Yes, they're a lot of work, but hey, you've got helpers. The kids love going out in the summer and eating the fresh tomatoes off the vine (and with the salmonella scare, homegrown is a great option). If you involve them in the process, it becomes a great (and FUN!) learning tool.

8. Arrange playdates. At least once a week, I get together with friends and their kiddos. That way, I get grownup time, and the kiddos get to beat up someone other than each other.

9. Take advantage of memberships. Years ago, I figured out that if we go to the zoo more than twice a year, it's better to have a membership. So we got one. Why let it go to waste? So we have regular zoo days.

10. Walk places. I know, most of my ideas involve GOING somewhere. Which is important to keep from going stir crazy. But with gas prices, I can understand being hesitant to do all that going. So... walk! Take the kiddos on "explores." See what things you can discover in your neighborhood. Is it a new park? Is it a shortcut to the nearest Dairy Queen? Find out! Not only does it get kids out of the house, but it helps mom's bathing suit fit a little better.

11. Check out the local tourist office or chamber of commerce. Or Google... "free kids activities in my area." See how many activities and sites on the tourist brochures you can check off. Many of the activities are free OR have great discount coupons in the brochure.

12. Summer sports activities, lessons, vacation Bible school. This year, we're doing riding lessons. However, the soccer club my daughter is in also has summer skill camps. And then of course, there's VBS... many churches use this as an outreach to the community, so even if your church isn't having one, chances are a nearby church will.

13. Don't get too rigid. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you have to do a lot of stuff with the kiddos and keep them entertained. You don't have to be too elaborate or get too expensive. But with a little creativity, you also don't have to spend all summer listening to kiddos whining, "Mom, I'm bored," all day.

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Irishcoda said...

You've come up with some great ideas! I don't have young ones anymore--the baby is 16 now--but I remember library days and park days and pool days. It makes those 6 weeks go by just a little quicker! Happy T13!

Dane Bramage said...

These are great ideas. My plan is much simpler, I go to work everyday. But I will pass some of these tips on to my niece, especially the schedule and library ideas.

My Thursday Thirteen #82 is up! 13 Fun Facts about Walking It's more fun than fact :-) Stop by if you get a chance!

Melanie said...

Great advice and ideas! Thanks! Sounds like a fun summer!

Tina@ SendChocolateNow said...

those are some great ideas. Some we do, some I will have to look into.

I LOVE your avatar, too funny.

Thanks for visiting my T13!

Tammy said...

You have a great plan here. Your kid's are going to have a lot of fun. You are so right about the schedule, I think that is most important. Happy TT

Anonymous said...

Mine are "Mom, I'm bored"ing me even as they run off with their friends. Argh.

Mia Celeste said...

I like number 1, but all your suggestions will be helpful. I'm printing your 13 tips out so I can glance at them when I feel sanity cracking. Happy TT!

Danica Favorite said...

Glad you enjoyed them... we'll see if I can keep it up all summer. ;)