The end of the school year is close at hand, and you may be filled with dread, wondering “What will I do with the kids all summer? How will I get anything done?”
I hear you. As a mom of five, my summers have a way of feeling disorganized and haphazard sometimes, and the house does get awfully loud. But I’ve come up with survival tactics for avoiding summer break malaise. Here are some ideas to try!
Deal with school papers right away. It’s tempting to let those backpacks and art folders, stuffed with a year’s worth of work and projects, linger in the entryway for a while. But trust me, you are not going to want to be dealing with those crumpled papers any more in two weeks than you do now (plus, if your kids are like mine, there is a good chance there are perishables lurking in those bags, too.)
I’ve found it’s best to face it head-on: as the bags come trickling in, set up a bag for recycling and a bin for saving and do a quick sort. Remove broken crayons and pencil stubs, and hold the bag upside-down over the trash and shake to get rid of those shavings and tiny rolled-up balls of paper. If your child’s backpack is machine washable, toss it in the laundry now so you can put it away fresh and ready for fall. Here are more ideas on dealing with the end-of-school-year paper avalanche.
Establish a new routine. It’s tempting to throw your daily rhythm out the window at the beginning of summer break, but after a couple of weeks you’ll wish you hadn’t. Summer is all about relaxing, so feel free to loosen up…but don’t completely lose control of the reigns. It makes sense to set new bedtimes, waking times, and mealtimes, but do try to stick to a relaxed routine. And make sure to incorporate regular fun time into your daily rhythm, like making homemade popsicles with the kids, After all, it is summer!
Take care of yourself. Once my oldest kids turned 12 or 13, I started giving them the daily job of taking younger siblings to the park in the late afternoon. It would give me a half-hour or so of peace and quiet before the evening rush of cooking/dinner/dishes got rolling. Now I wish I’d thought to hire a neighborhood teen or tween to do this for me when my big kids were younger! Even a short break is wonderful when your little ones are home all day. I also like to get up early in the morning when the house is quiet and I can sip a cup of tea or glass of orange juice and watch the birds outside my window. Giving myself a peaceful beginning to the morning helps me face the long days of summer with more energy and less stress.