How To Survive Summer With Kids
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The summer holidays are a wonderful time for a mommy to connect with her kids as she is not in her usual stressful position of carpooling, keeping up with school to-do's, packing lunches and snacks, assisting with homework etc. Your kids too are not spending hours at school, doing homework, and attending extracurricular activities. Summer becomes a time to refocus on your family life and reconstruct your values and time together.
Unfortunately, summer can also be a very trying time for mommy dearest. Maybe your short getaway is over and you've tried all the summer activities you can afford. Then there you are. Stuck at home. With the kids! Summer is not yet over and the lack of routine and structure is making your kids bored and making you feel like each day is a mission! Your kids are on their break but it's not really your break because the house gets messier and you can't seem to get out of the kitchen!
You're a watchful mommy, so you don't want your kids on their devices or watching TV all day long, yet it's the only darn time you get a breather from the constant calls for "Mom...!" (sigh). Conflicted between the guilt of raising your kids well or losing your sanity, your usual restrictions on media become somewhat lax, and now on top of feeling overwhelmed, you also feel like a "sucky mom" for giving in.
Well, fellow mom, you're not alone. Most mothers are going through the same conflict as you during the summer break. Unless of course, you're one of the blessed mom's having a nice, long, well-deserved vacation (good for you)! Maybe you're one of the fortunate mom's who get to visit (non-toxic) family members, or have mild weather that's bearable for your kids to play outside. Maybe you’re the smart mom whose super organized and budgeted the rest of the year so you could afford to take your kids places the whole summer. As for the other moms (like me) who didn't get to do the above, you're pretty much at home with your kids indoor most summer days. I feel you and I relate.
Don't feel glum, get up, dust yourself off, and pat yourself on the back - you've got this! Yes, you're not in your usual element so firstly, lower your expectations and breathe. Make the best of a tough situation and let's survive this summer together. Here's a few of my ideas that kept my head above water this summer.
How I Survived Summer With My Kids
1. I reminded myself that I'm in a temporary situation and there are only a few weeks left, so look to the future and not the present.
2. I remembered that the last week (or maybe last two weeks) of summer is usually busy with school supply shopping, and prepping so we would be occupied with that.
3. I took advantage of our subdivision community pool and let the kids swim their boredom away. If we didn't have a community pool, I'd find the nearest recreation center to take my kids swimming on the cheap. Besides having a good time, it tires kids out.
4. I allowed my kids to experiment in the kitchen with new recipes from Pinterest or a YouTube cooking show - I mean, which kid doesn't like to cook right? Yes, I know it's a messy kitchen to deal with, but the rule is "you cook it, you clean it". If your kids don't clean the way you want (usually 100% of the time), just tell yourself it's better than dealing with bored, nagging kids any day! Plus you get to eat some yummy stuff (hopefully).
5. I let my kids re-decorate their bedroom with DIY ideas from stuff lying in the garage or our storage room (you won't believe what you'll find). Also, with the Dollar Tree as a backup, we make cute decor with cheap supplies. Pinterest saved the day again!
6. I pushed my kids to start workout routines. My boys did push-ups, lifted (my tiny exercise) dumbbells, played "laundry basket-ball", and ran up and down the stairs. My girls added in some jump-rope, jumped on my mini exercise trampoline, and bounced on my big yoga ball ( I just realized how many cool exercise stuff I have)! If you set a goal for a prize of the most laps or something, you'll see how motivated kids can get!
7. We had a quiz and a riddle tournament. We found riddles online and my kids got points for the correct or closest answer. This one brought a lot of laughter and fun times. After the riddles were exhausted, we did a quiz on the human body (from online again). Surprisingly this turned out to be super enlightening and sparked an interesting conversation.
8. We played a lot of board games, but not the same ol' ones. We researched new ones and played more intricate games that took longer to finish and old games we still like. Some of the games we already have and tweaked it to make it more challenging, but if the need arose, I bought new board games for the summer.
With older kids, this is not expensive because you can also let your kids club together from their spending money to buy games (and they look after it so much better too).
9. During the early evenings, we would set up a sleepover. All my kids would sleep in one bedroom or on the living room floor in their sleeping bags and tell scary stories. Other nights, they had glow sticks, flashlights, and used a projection light of the stars to shine on the ceiling.
10. We go to the library and take advantage of all the free kids' activities they offer. Some are really awesome and differ at various locations.
11. We go and sit in the library at the kids' section and read (somehow the library makes kids want to read). We check out decent comics from the library to take home and keeps my kids busy for hours. I usually research in advance kid-friendly comics and books so it's one less thing to worry about.
12. We go window shopping in the cool evenings or get $1 ice cream sundaes in the afternoons from McDonald's. If it's not too hot outside, we have a picnic at the park.
13. In the later afternoon when it’s cooler, my kids will ride their bike or scooter, roller skate, and play basketball outside. Sometimes we go to the park to do this and we always take our safety gear with so no bad incidents!
14. On rainy days especially, we watch short educational YouTube or Netflix videos, or crafty DIY videos on Amazon Prime or YouTube. Next, we try to make the crafts we learned. For example, my son was making a homemade chess set from screws and wood in our garage.
When I ran out of ideas or couldn't do some of the above for one reason or another, I did allow my kids to play on their devices. However, I implemented a "how to get your device" list which required my kids to accomplish some things in order to get their device. I also told my kids to balance the time they played on their device with time they read a good book.
15. Last but not least, don't forget to make dua and ask Al Waliy - the best of Helpers, our truest Friend Allah, to make our difficulties easy.
These are the ideas that helped me keep my sanity as a mom with bored kids this summer. I'd love to hear your ideas of coping with kids during summer, so share your thoughts below!