6 weeks down, 5 to go. But who’s counting?
I am. That’s who. Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. I love spending time with them, love seeing them play together, love the freedom during the day and the summer evenings spent outside.
But I’ll be the first to admit that I am already looking forward to the refreshing change that comes with fall. I may seem like a fun-loving, spontaneous person on the outside. But at my core, I love a good schedule, I love predictability, and I love having my own time. My own time….ha! What a joke. But really, during the school year I can breathe a little easier with all my kids in school for at least part of the week.
So, here we are, mid-summer. I thought it might be good to do a little post about what we’ve been doing, what challenges we’ve had, and what works for us to keep us all sane during the summer months.
The first thing that works for us is keeping up some kind of a schedule, especially at bedtime. I’ve always been big on bedtime. I learned very quickly (like within weeks of his birth) that Connor is a kid who needs sleep and a good schedule to function, and while he handles lack of sleep a little better than he did as a baby or a toddler, it’s just better for everyone if he is well-rested. And he simply does not sleep in. That means we stick to an 8:00-8:30 bedtime during the summer. Yes, my kids go to bed while it is still light outside! It works for us. I am more of a morning person than a night person anyway, so this way I still get a few hours to myself (or with Derek if he is in town). I need those hours, especially in the summer!
So the first step to Megan’s Guide to Summer Survival: sleep!
Step two: Wear them out. Boys are just like puppies. They need to move, run, jump, and have a place where they can be crazy. For the most part, that place is not my living room. Sure, they get to jump on the furniture/bed sometimes, but we really try to keep the wild play outside. That is a little bit of a problem in the summer since it is, as Logan says, “steamin’ hot outside.” That is the number one reason we love to go swimming! It keeps us cool and wears them out. We love going to the YMCA Family Fun Pool that has slides, the neighborhood pool, and just setting up the little pools in the backyard. We managed to swim every day this week! I also just discovered a water park that is perfect for my kids. I see us going back there a few more times this summer, and definitely getting season passes next summer.
Step three: Activities. I know some people like to just chill, lay low, and not plan things for the summer. That flat-out does not work for us. Connor especially requires a lot of attention and stimulation which is why he thrives at school. I’m not even going to try and hide the fact that Connor is my most high maintenance kiddo. Love him to bits, love his crazy smarts and excess energy, but he wears me out! We can really only handle one stay-at-home day a week. The rest of the week we are busy with trips to the library, pool, water park, YMCA, gymnastics, day camps, soccer camp, NASA camp, playdates, etc. We are much busier in the summer than during the school year. During the school year, I don’t like to have more than one activity per child. But summer is a totally different story! I love being busy and having activities planned for most days. It works for us.
Step four: Room time. Since Camryn still naps every day, it’s pretty easy to have the boys have quiet room time every day. Occasionally I will let them stay in the living room and play Wii or play computer games, but most days, from 1:00-2:00 (or longer) you will find the boys in the own rooms, doing their own things. It’s a much needed break for us all!
Step five: Summer rewards. This was something new I attempted this summer, and I’m sad to say that I pretty much failed miserably. I decided I wanted to play Summer Bingo with the boys this year. I read about it on Stacy Julian’s blog last summer, and it really is a great idea. The idea: each week, the kids get a bingo card that I create with different activities/chores. Each bingo earns a ticket, tickets earn prizes, and a blackout earns $5. I think Logan was just too young to really get into it. And with Connor, I found that I was constantly nagging him to do the things on his chart and when it came down to it, he didn’t care about the tickets or the money. Connor pretty much only wants to do what he wants to do at any given moment and doesn’t really like anyone (especially me) giving him ideas or telling him what he should do. He is very stubborn like that.
To wrap this up, so far we are having a good summer. We’ve had some really horrible days and some really great days. But I guess that is to be expected. In the next 5 weeks, I suspect that the kids will really start to drive me crazy and I will be so ready for the first day of school. But, until then, we are all going to do our best to embrace the summer fun.