It is now summertime, and for many families, that means the children are home from school. Having this much free time can always create a bit of a busy environment around the home, so here are five tips on how to enjoy your summer, teach your kids new skills and minimize conflict!
Scheduling: Make sure you have everything scheduled out in advance. One thing many families like to do is have a large whiteboard calendar with all the parents and kids activities on them. Make a plan for who is taking what child where, and when. Of course, maybe a giant whiteboard calendar does not fit in your space or is not practical for your family. You can always have a daily planner that sits in a communally available space for everyone to see, or sync your families phone calendars together. Synching phone calendars is great because it is easily accessible wherever you are, as long as you have a phone.
Family Time: Take time together to sit down and talk about the highs and lows of each day, as well as what you all have on-schedule for the enxt day. Sitting down and talking about each day can bring a sense of resolution for both parents AND children, Talking about the next day ahead of time can minimize any conflict or miscommunication before it has a chance to arise. Doing this every day at dinner or bedtime can be a good cycle for your family to have year-round.
Kids Cook: Depending on the age of your kids, you could have them cook dinner one night a week. This gives them a chance to feel like they are providing something for the entire family, and they will get to have some input. At first, you may want or need to be in the kitchen to supervise, but that is way less work than actually preparing the meal yourself AND you are teaching your kids valuable life skills. Eventually, you can even teach them how to find ingredients for recipes when at the store.
Family Activities: Schedule a few family activities where you are all together doing something. This could be a trip to the movies, a board-game, a hike, a bike-ride or a mini-vacation. Of course some of this stuff will come up spontaneously, but if you have it planned, it gives the kids something to look forward to.
Pre-Approved Activities: Make sure your kids know what they can do when they have nothing else to do – what books, toys or screens they can play with, and when. Perhaps having some LEGOS or an outdoor play area for those moments when you want them to go do something else while you finish up chores. Of course, you can always ask your kids for help and teach them how to do what you are doing!
Enjoy the rest of your summer!