Every summer, I think THIS is the year where we can just relax and hang out. I’m a notorious Do Nothing Summer lover, so it stands to reason that I hope beyond hope that we can just kick back and enjoy long lazy days.
Alas, it happened again: we got about three days in and I’m ready to pull out every single one of the hairs on my head after I throttle at least one of my three children. Long and lazy doesn’t work around here (or I suspect any other house with young kids) for long. The kids fight. The kids sass. The kids are bored and cranky and sometimes downright mean. No structure has taken down far greater moms than me.
This morning we held a family meeting. We collectively came up with our rules, like “speak nicely to eachother” and (my favorite, supplied by The Middle One after a loooong weekend with dad) “What Mom and Dad say is LAW”. We finished the rules and the kids asked about the marble jars. I thought maybe they were too old for that but it appears not so they are back out along with our list of rewards. Read about what we do with marbles here. It’s a pretty awesome system.
We added in some elements this year, a schedule and chore charts.
The schedule was a little bit for me as well as the kids. I figured by listing for them the times I was working, both in and out of the house, I’d have to be honest about it too. Now they know that a few hours a day, even if I’m in the house, they have to occupy themselves. We talked about what they could do (board games, books, on demand movies). I don’t want them out on bikes or scooters while I work because I’m paranoid. They handled that pretty well. I’ll get most of my stuff done early enough in the day that they’ll be fine with indoor activities.
We also added Mommy School back into the schedule per the kids’ request. I’ll use some lessons from CCD that I need to incorporate and I’ll head on over to Amy’s site to find the We Teach Summer eBook for some outstanding activities like this one that we loved so much last summer. Never fear though, the schedule includes plenty of beach time.
The chore charts are pretty standard but they are another tool to try to reign in the crazy that’s going on around here. This house is much bigger than we’re used to and I’ve found over the last few months I’ve been nagging more than I like. So, most of the chores involve cleaning up after themselves and if they’re successful, there will finally be monetary rewards. We’ll see how this goes. Frankly, I’m nervous!
What are you doing this summer to keep the wheels turning? Share with us-we could all use the help!
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.