The kids are home. The school year has ended, it is WAY too early to think about the next school year, and summer spreads before us like a buffet of delectable treats. But did I mention that the kids are home?
I always enjoyed summertime with my kids, but the togetherness, the ability to see all that your kids are doing – or not doing – all day, can certainly dim the bright promise of summer. So below you will find 5 Tips for keeping your sanity and enjoying your kids all summer long.
1. Have a plan. Talk to your kids upfront about how they plan to spend their days so that you can coordinate schedules and approve their agenda. If you don’t do this, you’ll be shocked when they sleep in until 1:00 pm and then settle down in front of the TV for a Kardashian marathon.
2. Make sure they do something productive. Teenagers should have summer jobs of some sort, even if they are young teens. They can always babysit, do yard work, or bag groceries. Summer is an excellent time to teach kids about the real world, educate them about handling finances, and expose them to all different kinds of people they won’t meet at school. A job gets them out of the house and gives them a sense of responsibility.
3. But allow them to have a vacation. This is important. Kids really do work hard at school and oftentimes have a number of commitments that add stress. Just like us, they need a break. Giving them one helps them to rejuvenate and recharge so they’ll be ready to go when the new school year starts.
4. Don’t nag. Everyone hates nagging and it is quite counterproductive. A more effective way to talk to kids is to give them a heads up about your expectations. You might say, “Now that you’re home for the summer, I’ll need you to do some additional chores around the house. You have a choice of (insert where you need help here). What would you like to do?” Providing choice makes the expectation less of a chore and more of a contribution.
5. Enjoy your kids. They will be much more relaxed during these months and likely more open to family time. When they’re not with their friends, catching up on their sleep, or working, be sure to seize the opportunity to spend time with them. Going out for ice cream, having a cookout, seeing a movie, or hanging at the pool are all low-key activities that will add to wonderful memories.