Who’s ready for summer?! Tips to help a mom prepare for this season of life!
Summer is quickly approaching and before you know it, you’ll be by the pool or at the beach sipping on your beverage of choice with not a care in the world or any responsibilities! Wait, we aren’t in college anymore are we?! Insert lots of sarcasm and a wide spectrum of fitting emojis. I personally LOVE summer. It’s my favorite season and while some people cringe at Texas summers, I will gladly accept the humidity and hot sunshine! Whether you are a working mom like myself or a SAHM, summer can be taxing with kiddos so let’s find the good in the midst of that chaos, too.
Here are some ideas that may help make the transition from school to summer easier or let’s be honest, allow us to S-U-R-V-I-V-E!
- Keep those sponge-like brains active! I know, I know, what child wants to do “school work” during their two months of freedom?! It’s important they keep their minds moving though, so their brains don’t turn into slush over the summer 🙂 There are several ways to make learning fun! My mother in law is exceptionally talented in transforming fun activities into learning. I’ve observed her with my daughter countless times and it’s so simple; there’s literally some sort of educational, teaching element in anything toy related! Some specific ideas are cooking/baking (to utilize math skills), science experiments, or reading hour.
- Get those wiggles out (inside or outside)! This is especially imperative for younger children, but still a necessity for tweens and teens. Little kids’ bodies are made to MOVE. Sometimes too much, right?! 😉 The physical stimulation of exercise, dancing, jumping/bouncing, swimming, sports, etc can help in so many ways besides physical health—-say hello to positive mental health and regulated sleep cycles! Be creative mamas-recently my husband decided to make a game out of how fast our daughter could run up the hill and back in our backyard. She LOVES it and thinks it’s so fun! She giggles and is unbelievably proud of herself as she hits the timer button on our phone. I’d encourage to designate time for them to be silly and to have “wiggle time”, that way they can anticipate being over-the-top active during those particular times. It’s difficult to be consistent, I hear ya, but not only will you be happy with their mood, they will see how FUN mom is to let loose!
- Rainy Day fun! I occasionally enjoy rainy summer days, but also dread knowing (surely) this is the one day my child will be bouncing off the walls! It’s nice to have a lazy, relaxing day when God opens up Heaven yet your child doesn’t have the capacity to understand that it limits the ability to do STUFF! Of course there’s the exception of a teen who could sleep more than all of us moms combined-Ha! Be creative here again mamas-forts with movie days, sensory play (be sure to check out @busytoddler on Instagram!), art activities, scavenger/treasure hunts, dance competition between siblings, nerf gun wars, make a “movie” with your fancy smartphone or old school camcorder, etc. I also recognize there are days where you need to get.out.of.the.stinking.house! Sometimes I’ll take my daughter to Target, Walmart, or the mall to simply walk around, even if it’s aimlessly. It’s stimulation and change of scenery that do a little persons’ body good (and yours too). Other places to suggest are Jump N Place, The Little Gym, Little Land Gym, Mayborn Museum, Lunar Golf, Dr. Pepper Museum, public library, AMF Bowling, Skate World, Urban Air, or an arcade for older kids. Newsflash! Putters in downtown just opened on May 3rd and it’s family friendly during the day with an arcade and indoor putt-putt!
- Mommy and Me dates! Oh my goodness, I just down right looooove these special times with my daughter. The one on one time and seeing her face light up is simply THE best. This doesn’t have to happen often because LIFE happens but I encourage you to pencil it in your calendar to happen from time to time, especially with multiple kids under one roof. It’s imperative kids understand they are still very much loved and special in the midst of undivided attention. I also encourage you do something that your child wants to do! Let them pick. That provides control and sense of involvement in the process which elicits so much beauty within who they are as a little person.
- Savor time with your child(ren) as a working mom! Not everyone has the luxury or desire to stay home with their kids full-time and that’s completely okay! I work 34 hours a week and love it. I am able to use my brain in a professional way, but also get a couple afternoons to be with my daughter. It’s a great fit for me. I’ve heard about “mom guilt” often over the years and while I don’t carry that myself, I will encourage to truly cherish the time (even if it’s on weekends) you have with your kids. Put your phone or computer away and devote space to just BE with them. All the laundry and dishes can wait!! They may not verbalize their appreciation, but they know. It will shine through in their mood and behavior. Often times, I catch myself in awe of what my daughter is learning, simply by play and it literally can take my breath away watching her grow into this amazing human being. When we slow down as moms, I think there’s a lot we learn and are more attentive to which creates such a special bond between us and our kids.
- TAKE THE TRIP- I’m huge on creating adventures and making memories as opposed to gifts. I feel even more deeply about this now having a child of my own. Creating time and shuffling finances to make a vacation happen can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Sometimes day trips, overnights, or a weekend getaway can often end up being just as wonderful and you don’t have to spend a fortune. You just have to DO IT 🙂
- Self-care! Whether you are working or stay at home, this is me holding a huge sign that says, “TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF”. I’m an advocate for self-care or as I call it, “me time”. This is a time that you get to be S-E-L-F-I-S-H. Yep! That’s right, I used the word that has a negative connotation with it, but if used properly it’s completely beneficial to your mental health! Do something fun, JUST YOU. Not with your girlfriends, significant other, family, coworkers, etc. In this time alone, you get to take off “all your hats” and you are able to just be YOU, as a whole person. Ideas? Mani/Pedi, lunch or movie by yourself, sit in the parking lot eating ice cream, retail therapy, facial, massage, hair makeover, or sleep. Sleep is good. So so good, especially if you truly don’t get enough. In order for us as moms to function and take care of others, we must take care of ourselves FIRST. There’s no need to drown yourself in your own life-take control; go right on ahead and pencil that time into your hectic schedule. There’s time, I promise! You may just have to create it…
- REST- summer flies by insanely fast. In fact, I honestly feel as though summer is already here and gone-Ha! With many weekends full already, it’s difficult to find down time. Let your kids be bored at times. You’re probably thinking, what??? Seriously, rest or times of not doing much are fantastic for kids. They get to re-energize their bodies and brain. It’s okay to not have them going 24/7. This “bored” time allows them to be challenged in creative way. I struggle with this often—wanting to do “all the things” with my daughter, but I have to remind myself that slowing down can be refreshing in more ways than I can think. You may even build in “quiet time”, especially if your child has outgrown naps, where they get to experience individual play or reading time. With rest in mind, I also encourage to attempt to keep your kids on a schedule and get as much sleep as possible. Sleep is still very essential for children, even during the fun times of summer! Every once in awhile it’s okay for your kid to stay up an hour later, but they still need that shut eye as best as possible! 🙂
- Technology (tablets, ipads, computers, cell phones, kindles, ipods, etc)- Let’s be real, while we know it’s not the best to have our kids glued to a device of some sort, it’s sometimes the only way we can get things done!! Here are some ideas to keep it educational when you’re tired of Disney, You Tube, Nick Jr, etc: Planet Earth on Netflix, How it’s Made on the Science Channel, National Geographic for Kids, funbrain.com, or pbskids.org. There are countless educational games, websites, or tv shows out there!
No matter your plans for summer, keep a balance as best as possible and don’t let it overrun you! Just remember, you won’t have summers with your kids forever so SOAK up all that goodness as best as you can! Even if that means jamming out to N’SYNC or Backstreet Boys (you know, to drown out the crazy) or grabbing wine, Dr. pepper, and all the junk food you need to survive 🙂