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Help! My Kids are Home for the Summer!

Summer time... what is it like for you? Do you get a bit of downtime, or is your schedule even fuller with your kids home and all the extra meals you need to make for those hungry birds? I always get a laugh when I see facebook posts by teachers celebrating the last day of school...knowing that parents are facing 2 and 1/2 months of a routine that includes "I'm bored! What can we do for fun? and what's for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and ...a million snacks?"

Routines are disrupted, there is more housework and laundry than ever, and here in South Texas, it is just plain HOT all the time. Being out of routine can throw the whole family off track. My suggestions to keep your kid's schedule from going haywire over the summer:

1. Stick to the same basic bedtime routine you have during school. If your kids are leaving the house with you for summer camp or daycare at the same time they had to be up during the school year, keep the same bedtime. Letting them "stay up late" because school is out will backfire on you if morning "GO" time is just as early.

2. Set some boundaries about laundry. Besides teaching kids where dirty clothes need to go and by when, get them involved in sorting, washing, folding and putting away clothes. Wet bathing suits are a nightmare, so set your expectations, and don't assign yourself as the one responsible for having everything ready before swim lessons. Start by stocking the bathroom with some clip hangers so everyone can hang up their swim suit when they change. You might have to be the "towel Nazi" for a while, but once everyone catches on to the wet towel routine, you will thank yourself.

3. Don't let yourself get sucked in to overspending for summer activities. Shamu jumps the same way he did last year... maybe this year you let him practice so he jumps higher next time you go back. Look for free and low cost activities. The sprinkler in the back yard is not as fancy as Splashtown, yet it can still be a lot of fun. Your wallet will thank you when that GIANT school supply list comes out in August!

4. Boost your quality time, now that homework is on hiatus and draw, color, play and read more with your kids. Find out when your neighborhood library has evening hours so you can squeeze in a visit after work.

When everyone comes home with something interesting to read, there is less screen time and less scream time.

5. Make time for your hobbies and interests, too. Your kids are watching you all the time. They need to see mom and dad enjoying life, not just working 24/7. The summer schedule will be hectic. You will need some time for you in the middle of it all. Grab time when you can. If you NEVER have time for yourself, now is the time to set a boundary and charge your battery. If you keep operating on 1%, the whole family will shut down.

Take care & happy summer! If I see your kids for sale on Ebay by the end of this month, refer back to the list above and see what you could adjust to make it through the summer without losing your mind!

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