Surviving the Summer With Kids

by : Darlene Hull

You know what it’s like – kids are desperate to start the summer holidays, you’re anxious to reduce the clutter in your calendar, everyone’s looking forward to the warm weather, and then suddenly, after one week of summer bliss, the whine sets in:

“Mom, I’m SO BORED!"

This, from children with a room so bulging with activities, games, toys, crafts, and who knows what all else, that they can’t keep it cleaned or organized.

However, even with all of this, suddenly, you’re expected to be the entertainment committee. You need to have wonderfully stimulating activities for your kids, up your sleeve, ready at a moment’s notice – but you, too, are needing a break. What’s a mother to do?

Well, here are some tips:

1. Let them be bored. By jumping in with solutions all the time, you are not allowing your children to use their own creativity. Ignore the bored whine if you can, and simply suggest that they go look through their rooms for something to do. If that doesn’t work, give them chores whenever they say they’re bored.

2. Have a planned activity each day that stimulates their creativity. Do prepare one activity a day – supplies for a water fight, an art project or science experiment, a hike, etc. Do something that gets them out of the everyday, and triggers their mind to think of something different or unusual so that they can stimulate their own creativity.

3. Get them outside. Send them outside every morning, before the “dangerous sun times" and make them stay there until lunch. There are playgrounds, bicycles, sports and games etc. that can keep them going for hours if they are bored enough to find something to do. The sunshine will also stimulate “happy hormones" which will have them (and you!) feeling much better about life. If it’s raining, dress them appropriately, and send them out for at least an hour. They can do puddle jumping, rescue earth worms, make mud pies – the list is endless.

4. Give them a routine. Create a daily, loose-but-structured routine that gives each day some framework. Include chores, scheduled activities (meals, screen time, outdoor play, a planned activity, etc.) Don’t over schedule or you’ll be doing them (and yourself!) a disservice. Kids’ lives are so over-booked these days that they never have time for dreaming or self-discovery.

5. Restrict Screen Time. Try and keep “mindless entertainment via a screen" to an absolute minimum. Let kids schedule one TV show plus one hour for games each day, and then let them use the rest for other things.

Well, that should get you started. The Internet has a wealth of information on this topic, so do some searching, gather your “ammunition" and get ready for a great summer!

Darlene Hull