Finding Freedom through Dumping the Summer Doldroms Part 2

Posted by admin on June 17, 2015

IMG_6224In my first Dumping the Summer Doldroms post, I gave more of an overview of the summer.  Today, I want to dive deeper into HOW this could look on a weekly/daily basis.

First, I have to say that the way this will look will vary for every family, and for the different stages too.  When my kids were little, they woke up early, so I didn't necessarily need a "wake up" time, instead I had a "you can get your cereal and watch a cartoon, and come wake mommy up at X assigned time" time.  Now that my kids are teenagers, I do have a wake up time, or they would both just sleep their entire summer away.

Let's get started :-)15175213826_1832db981c_z

Step 1:  I usually start my summer by asking myself this question:  What do I want to accomplish this summer?

You have to be careful with this question.  Sometimes we can have a tendency to want to do too much, and then when we are unable to accomplish everything, we feel like we're the worst parents in the world, give up, and put ourselves down.  Save yourself and your poor kids from this vicious cycle by maybe just picking a few things to focus on.  You can always add more later.

What this question will do is help you to pick themes.  This can either be an overlying theme for the entire summer, or you can pick a different theme each week.  For my family, this has varied throughout the years.  There have been summers:

  • that I just wanted the kids to get to swim as much as possible;
  • where I wanted to try a new park every week;
  • that we all had a goal to get into better shape, so we worked on a workout regimen, and planned "fun fitness activities";
  • where I wanted to teach my kids how to cook, and grocery shop;
  • where I picked a theme that I found from a summer camp catalog each week.

Here are a few more ideas for your themes:18840265132_67d9dd2dcd_z

  1. Learn something together: cooking; a new language; an instrument; I love AnswersInGenesis.org for learning science with my kids, or Khanacademy.org and we set goals for how many points we will earn individually; write, illustrate, and self publish a book together;
  2. Have a goal:  ride your bikes everywhere, or walk; read a certain amount of books; volunteer together;
  3. Get inspiration from a couple of summer camp catalogs.

I think it's good to decide this before going into scheduling your daily plan, because it will give you an idea for how much time you will need each day to accomplish these things, and then how much time you get to play.  Make sure you include your kids in this brainstorming, you will be surprised by the great things they might have in mind.  Or you might just have some hilarious conversations.  Either way, it's a WIN :-)14659703245_cde2d84a0d_z

Step 2:  Once you have figured this out, I want you to take a look at your week, and put in a few days where you will do the same things each day.  For example we may know that we will be at the $1 movies every Tuesday, we are going to swim in some fashion every Wednesday, we are going to the library every Thursday, and we're going to go bowling (thank you Kids Bowl Free) on Fridays.  Check out my last post here for more ideas.  This helps with a few things:

  1. My kids know what we are doing.  If they have to clean in the morning for example, then they at least know how long they will have to do this, and they know that they will get the prize at the end of that time, which will typically be going to do something fun!
  2. It keeps us from having days just sitting around asking, "What do you wanna do?" Well, we mostly know what we're going to do each day.  Crisis averted!!
  3. It gives us the ability to invite people along with us for even more fun.
  4. It gives us some resemblance of a routine.5871521535_346c45123c_z

Step 3:  Now you're going to plan out your daily schedule, and this may vary a bit, just due to what time certain activities may take place, like my kids'  wake up time is 10:00 AM, but that's the time $1 movies start, so obviously on that day my kids know that they have to set their alarms a little earlier.

When making this schedule, you will of course want to consider the ages of your kids.  When my kids were little, and waking up at the crack of dawn, we would get most of our activities done before naps, before the hottest part of the day.  Now as they are older, I wake up much earlier, get some work done, and the kids' alarms go off around 10, some years I make it 9, depending on what we want to accomplish.  We spend the mornings doing some reading, studying, hanging out, and then during the hottest part of the day my kids usually want to be swimming in some way, or doing something where there is air conditioning :-)

Now, let's put it together.  Here's ours from last year to get an idea of what it looks like:

9:00 AM Wake up
10:00 AM Reading time-together and separately
11:00 AM Start to pack a picnic for whatever activity we're going to do
12:00 PM-3:00 PM Get out of the house
4:00 PM Get dinner going, sometimes pack a dinner picnic
5:00-6:00 PM Dad gets home, dinner, relaxing
7:00 PM Go do something as a family
1 AM  Kids' bedtime since they are teenagers (NOT my bedtime though :-))

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I can't tell you how much having a summer routine helps my family.  It's not a straight jacket that keeps us under its control; I mean if we want to do something else, or we get an invite to go do something fun, we seize the day and do it.  But my kids have a peace and calmness to them knowing what is going on throughout the week, and yes, we still have some boredom.  For the most part though, this really keeps the doldrums at bay.

I hope this has been helpful to you.  On my last Dumping the Summer Doldrums post, I will just have a couple of short tips to share with you, and that will be it.  Please share with me about your summer traditions, and the things you enjoy doing as a family.  And of course, please don't hesitate to ask me any questions.  You can do this in the comments down below, at my Facebook page, or at my Twitter account.

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