Time flies when you are having fun. Summer means free time. We have time and the kids have time. It is “time” make the most of it. What do you want to teach your kids? Are there things you want to show them? How are you planning your summer?
Meal Planning/Cooking: Summer is a great time to involve your children in meal planning and cooking. They have the time. This is your opportunity to teach them how to plan, how to shop, and how to cook. Younger kids can be helpers in the process. Kids over the age of 10 can take the lead in the process and you can be the helper. This is an opportunity to guide your children but also step aside. Let your child learn from their choices and mistakes. It is time to show your kids that you have confidence in their ability.
Chores: Remember our job as parents is to teach our kids how to take care of themselves and their stuff. They need skills and we need to teach them. Do your kids know how to take care of a house? Can they clean and maintain the stuff? If not, then summer is a great time to teach them. They have time to do their own laundry – wash, fold, put away. They have time to clean the bathrooms (which will also encourage them to be neater). They have time to dust, vacuum, use windex, do the dishes, weed the garden. The time is there.
How do you organize the chores? You can do a chore jar where all the weekly chores are in it and the kids draw one each day. You can do a chore chart with the daily and weekly task to check off. Or you can be a bit more casual and just leave the kids a list each day. Whatever works best for you and your family. Our kids love to go to the pool in the afternoon, but before they hit the pool, the chores have to be done.
Phones and other Electronics: Let’s put these away. Kids are so much more creative and active when they don’t have an electronic device in their hand. Have a family meeting and negotiate times that the phones/TV are allowed. Our family includes teenagers and this even works with them. Give it a try.
Make a Summer Bucket list: What do you want to get done before the kids go back to school? What do the kids want to do? A summer bucket list can be a guide to your days. It can be include tasks that need to be done but also fun stuff. Right now, my kids are in the process of planning their summer bucket list. It currently includes over 100 items. What is on the list? You name it. They want to bake cookies, go to zoo, learn to make sushi, read, go to the pool all day, eat something they’ve never tried. But that’s the normal stuff. They also have some silly things on their list like learn all the lines from one character in a movie, go bowling for 4 hours, eat a whole watermelon(this is just one kid), go to Hawaii. The Hawaii one has been on their list for atleast the last ten years!
Have a family meeting and create your list. If you are headed out on vacation, what do the kids want to do and see on vacation? If you are home, how do you want to spend your days? Write it all down, do one or two items a week and enjoy your summer.
Written by Amy Tokos, Nebraska’s only Certified Professional Organizer and Owner of Freshly Organized. She serves on the Board of Directors for NAPO, National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.