I'm always equally terrified and excited for Summer Break to begin. How will I manage all the kids home all day and find that balance between fun and responsibilities? It is possible though, with a little bit of planning. Here are 5 tips to summer family bonding:
- Re-establish Relationships
Those of us with school-aged kids have an opportunity to skip the craziness of a school morning and spend more time with our children. Even during this first week of summer, I've noticed an increased bond with my twin boys who just finished first grade. I forgot how much I missed morning cuddles on the couch.
Maybe you have young children still not in school all day. I remember how much I loved the break preschool gave me as an overwhelmed mom. I was terrified for summer! I found relief by taking advantage of summer events and programs specific for summer.
- Take Advantage of Planned Summer Programs
UpliftFamilies.org has a community calendar on their website. Libraries have summer reading programs. And nearly every city has a list of weekend events or Founder's day celebrations.
Yesterday we kicked off our Summer activities with a trip to the library to make musical instruments and participate in the 'Libraries Rock!' summer reading program. It was also helpful to bring back a bag of summer reading books.
- Make Summer Fun List
It's not always easy to please everyone, but I usually try. It's helpful to have each child make a list of things they'd like to do. Many people call this a Summer Bucket List, I like to call it a Summer Fun List.
And as my kids get older, they get to participate in the planning or packing of the activity they picked. This can give them extra, one-on-one time with me.
- Manage Expectations
Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew! One thing I've learned is a Summer Fun List can really backfire when you don't consistently check things off the list. "Make it Monday" and "Try it Tuesday" are fun ideas and seem doable on June 1st, but can you keep up with that for 12 more weeks? Some people can. Not me.
I prefer to have ideas in my head on a Pinterest board and only clue the kids in to 1 activity a week. Then if each day goes as planned, I can surprise them with things we can do. As a working mom, I've found they would rather know about only 1 really fun day each week and really do it, then know about 5 things that we never got around to doing.
My kids have not forgotten the summer we put "ride a rollercoaster" on our list and never made it to Disneyland or Lagoon.
- Show Love
The most important thing is that our children know we love them - no matter where we take them, or how much money we spend on having fun.
It's not about what we are doing, but who we are doing it with.
By Nicole Carpenter
About Nicole Carpenter:
Nicole is an author, speaker, and podcast host. Nicole is a contributing writer to Uplift Families and new host for season 3 of The Living Room Podcast. In 2012, Nicole founded MOMentity.com, a blog and online community for women, reaching out to moms in over 7 different countries. She was also a syndicated columnist for 5 years and author of the book “52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family:5-minute messages," published in 2015. Past clients include Chase Bank, Rio Tinto, and Pinners Conference. But all that aside, Nicole's most important role is that of 'mom' to her four kiddos and ‘wife’ to her husband of 14 years. And she may or may not rely on chocolate-covered toffee hidden in the fridge to make it all happen.