How to stay sane while your kids are home with you all summer {Part 3}

Do you remember the most important part of summer?  It’s having fun!

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Routine does NOT mean the end of having fun.  Routines give your day a rhythm that makes everything more predictable and less stressful than you will ever experience by just winging it.  I like to pick a theme for each day.

Themed activities

Monday: arts & crafts

Tuesday: volunteer (pick up litter on your street, help your elderly neighbors or church members, call grandparents, pull weeds in the flowerbeds at the neighborhood food bank, church, or non-profit day care)

Wednesday: outdoors  (swimming, hiking, canoeing, fishing, geocaching, tennis, golf, putt-putt)

Thursday: library (remember to look over all books and even google them for reviews)

Friday: science projects (these don't have to be elaborate)

You don’t have to do these exact things; they’re just ideas to get you thinking. Other things to keep in mind are summer reading lists for older children and daily math, writing, and reading for younger children.  It doesn’t need to take up tons of time. PLEASE don’t go buy a bunch of workbooks for your kids, unless they like those. If you have no idea how to gauge how much or what you should have your kids work on for their age level, I’m happy to write a post about that.  Just let me know in the comments.

Giving your meals a routine can also help!

Themed meals

  • Mexican
  • Asian
  • Grill
  • Italian
  • Breakfast for dinner

The fewer decisions you have to make throughout the day, the more relaxed you will feel and the more fun your day will be.  That’s the beauty of a routine. Your make most of the day’s big decisions before it even starts. Write or type up the daily and weekly routine you and your family feel would work best for you, and then post it where it’s easy to see.  

Decide what time to get up, eat your meals, go on outings, and go to bed each day.  Having this structure will help with deciding whether or not to attend an activity you and/or your kids have been invited to.  Again, make decisions easier! Once you have the big pieces in place, you can print out a blank weekly calendar to fill in with items from your fun and meal bucket lists.

Remember the goal is not to have a manic amount of activity.  The goal is to make memories...happy ones! :)

I suggest you have back-up plans for outdoor activities in case it rains.  For example

  • An indoor picnic

  • A stack of books from the library

  • Blanket forts

  • A chapter book to read aloud to them throughout the summer

  • An audio book for everyone to listen to while you eat at your indoor picnic under the blanket fort

  • A favorite movie dvd that is reserved just for rainy days (one you’d rather not see over and over all summer)

  • Movie gift cards to use on rainy days (just go ahead and buy them at the beginning of the summer to have on hand)

  • Crafts that aren’t your favorite (Making slime or play dough or using glitter is loved by all children but not by me, so I would save those for rainy days only!)

Establishing a daily and weekly routine will not only lower your stress level, it will also bring comfort to your children.  We all enjoy knowing what to expect with just a few surprises sprinkled in.  None of us like having no idea what's going to happen.  That kind of not knowing brings up anxiety and fear in children, especially when they are used to being at school where every minute is dictated by the teacher.