Sunday, May 27, 2012

Guest Post: Strategies for Your Best Summer Ever with Children by Susan Heid

For some of you summer is already in full swing – for others (like me) we are still waiting for that last school bell to ring.  Summer can either bring a smile to your face as a busy mom, or can send you into a panic!  I know, I’ve been there, wondering what I will do with the kiddos the entire summer and still keep my sanity.

There are some time tested tips that can help keep your summer full of fun and relaxation instead of filled with stress and frustration. 

Take Care of Yourself

This is a must – not an option!  Seriously!  When you are “on” all day, it is exhausting.  What activities refresh you?  Do you need downtime alone or time with friends?  Intentionally plan those into your daily and /or weekly schedule.  Do not wait until you are so stressed out that you blow your top – no one wants to remember the summer where mom was always a crab – take initiative to give yourself what you need.

Make sure you are taking care of yourself so you are best able to care for your family.

Create Routines

Most everyone knows things run much smoother when you have routines set in place.  Everyone knows the expectation and things just flow a little easier.  When you can create a flow to your day it helps your children stay focused, know what their role is and it certainly deflates stressful situations.  Creating a Summer  Morning Routine is one way to get the day off to a great start!  So often you can find the day slip by if you do not have a routine set in place to get everyone organized for the day.  You can take this further by creating a simple evening routine as well.

Down Time

Having time everyday to allow not just you, but everyone to take a break is critical.  With the heat and busy activities everyone can use a little time to shut their engines down and re-group – most especially mom!  Whether that is a traditional Nap Time or just a time for everyone to do their own quiet activity, schedule this into your day.   I have found everyone seems to get through the evening with a much better attitude – especially me.

Resist Over Scheduling

It can be very easy to go overboard in the summer with activities, classes and camps.  Resist over scheduling your days and making it nearly impossible for plain old imaginative play to develop in your children.  When I grew up, there was a lot more just “playing” outside and running through the sprinkler than planned activities.  You can have a great combination of both scheduled fun AND free play time.  In my Summer Survival Calendar I’ve purposefully kept activities to shorter blocks of time in order to still accommodate kids just bring kids during the summer.  Your kids can look forward to an interesting activity but also know they will have time to play on their own.  Remembering that summer vacation is just that…..vacation.  I know that when I am on vacation, I enjoy just hanging out and going with the flow – allow time in your day to encourage that.

Lower Your Expectations

Seems the opposite of what a mom should be doing, but seriously – this will help save a lot of grief and stress.  Frustration comes when expectations are not met with reality.  So adjusting your expectations to meet the reality of the situation will get you ten steps ahead.

Realize that there will be more messes – the kids are home all day!  Expect that your kids will get on each other’s nerves – have a plan in place to deal with it instead of allowing it to catch you off guard.  Know that boredom and whining will eventually emerge – kids are kids, unfortunately this reality will probably never change.  Again, have a plan in place to counteract these situations.

Make Memories

Most importantly, enjoy your summer!  Remember to take pictures of the boring, at home times as well as the exciting times.  Try keeping a memory book where you and your kids can share their favorite activities and funny stories.  You think you will remember these – but more often than not, they are forgotten.  Take a lot of pictures and make a fun collage at the end of summer and place it somewhere in your home where everyone will see it.  This will keep the fun of summer around all during the year!

About Susan Heid:

Susan Heid is the mom behind The Confident Mom where she loves inspiring Christian moms to make small changes managing their home and family life giving them more time, less stress and stronger family relationships! She enthusiastically wears the hat of mom, step-mom and foster mom to 4 awesome kids – ages 19, 15, 11 and 2; is married to her very own prince charming, loves coffee, cloudy days, and does think the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle.

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