Wednesday, June 13, 2012

the last day of school


it has either already happened or is quickly looming. the end of the school year comes each may or june and brings with it a deluge of emotions to mothers everywhere. facebook posts show kids traipsing off to school for their last class of the year and some moms mention how much they have cried that day as their baby has grown another year older. some mothers talk about how excited they are about having two and a half months with no schedule. some are sentimentally anticipating great bonding time with their children.

i have to admit. i made no such posts. i have been in denial that school is over for the last few weeks. i posted no sentimental pictures. the only tears that i cried was the single one that fell down my cheek as i realized that i would have five kids, all day, every day, for the next two and a half months. i have no delusions of bonding. i'm aware that my kids will get tired of having me with them all day, everyday within the first week. i'm pretty realistic about what the summer will involve...and it's generally not pretty.

i've found that my life with kids functions better with a schedule. too much "free" time means more fighting, more "i'm bored", more "he's looking at me" comments than i care to deal with. so, in order to keep my sanity and to preserve some semblance of working family dynamics, here's what has worked for me.
  • create summer buckets. i posted this last summer and am going to update it for tomorrow. check it out. if the kids say they have nothing to do, by golly, i will find something for them.
  • update a summer chore chart. summer is a great time to teach kids how to do household work. never dusted the living room before? well, it just so happens i have some spare time to teach you. i figure every moment that i spend instructing my kids how to clean can be translated into years of never having to dust that living room again. i'm trying to work myself out of a job. 
  • create a daily check off list for each of your older children. for my kids, this involves reading 30 minutes a day, doing chores, exercising, doing some school work, etc. "free" time is earned when things are checked off. kids are much happier with what "free" time they can have if it is limited or earned.
  • plan little treats for you and your kids. you'll need a break too. love a certain type of tea? teach one of your kids how to make it and bring it to you. think your kids deserve a treat? make homemade ice cream or cookies. little rewards can go a long way to encourage jobs well done. 
what about you? how do you survive summer?