As we come to the end of July, you’re probably thinking one thing:
“Only one more month until school starts again.”
Some of you may be thinking of that as a negative; of course, it’s wonderful to have more time to spend with your children, and can be difficult to establish new school routines once the years begins again, but I have a feeling the majority of us parents are counting down the last days of summer with a thrill. Finding time to work (write), finding ways to keep your children entertained, and keeping them content and cool in the hot, humid months is quite possibly a parent’s most difficult time of year. But it doesn’t have to be that way! I’ve been a working, single parent for quite some time now, and have these tips to share with you that will not only make this last month of summer survivable, but one of the best months in your year!
Make a plan, and make it with your child. Planning is the ultimate key to maintaining balance and order to your fun times with children; it helps you avoid pits of boredom, spontaneously doing something your kid will hate or be too young/old for, and it allows everyone to be on the same timeline. Making the plan with your son/daughter helps them feel involved and important in the process, and it allows you to better understand what they find enjoyable. Whether the plan is for an ordinary day or a weekend getaway, making plans ensures that everyone’s thoughts as to how something will go are on the same page.
Find a balance in setting. It’s easy as a working parent to decide to send your kids off to summer camps during the weekdays, but sometimes all they will want to do is hang out at home. Try finding a few days to work from home, see if a friend or family member you trust can come spend the day with them, or see if they can stay at a friend’s house. Constant activity is what your kids should be getting a break from during the summer; make sure that as many days you fill their time with fun, you also allow them to have relaxing days at home. It’ll save you from burned out, grumpy kid syndrome!
Give a variety options. Make two lists, one of activities, books, and movies you and your child can enjoy together, and one of activities, books, and movies they can enjoy alone. Make sure you cross of one thing on each list every day, so you know you are spending the quality time with your kid both of you desire, and you also know that they aren’t getting into trouble or being bored out of their mind when they are on their own. It’s also good to divide the list into inside and outside activities, so whether a day is sweltering hot or a great day to be outside, there is an activity to choose from!
Sometimes, just give in. The reality is, your son or daughter is going back to school soon, where they’ll be busy with school, homework, and extracurriculars every day of the week. If they really want to watch television for a few hours or play video games when you think they should be reading or playing outside, sometimes it’s better to let them indulge themselves. You’ll have to make sure not to let them spend their entire summers lazing around looking at screens, but that doesn’t mean they should never get a lazy day. Just like you, your kids should be allowed to spend part of their vacations re-charging.
These are the tips that helped me to look forward to summer vacations while my son John was growing up, and I hope they help you too! What is your favorite summer vacation activity? Let me know in the comments!