With the summer holidays in full swing your daily routine is in constant flux. Every day is so different that it can be challenging to keep up with your kids’ needs to be stimulated and balance them with their needs for rest, relaxation and recuperation. You can’t let them get to bored or they’ll make you crazy, but to much running around and over stimulation is a recipe for disaster.
Now throw into the mix your individual need to maintain a semblance of freedom in spite of being tied full time to your kids.
I had the pleasure of joining Molly Livingstone on The Big Falafel @ The Voice of Israel where I had the opportunity to share my thoughts and suggestions to help parents enjoy their kids over the long summer holidays. You can catch that show here.
From my visit to the show, I’ve put togther 5 tips to help you make the most of the summer holidays with your kids.
1. Make A Plan
Nothing beats the boredom blues better than having a plan. If you’re the organized type, you’ve got this one covered but if not consider drawing up a list of outings and stay-at-home activities that your kids would enjoy.
Not sure what they’re in to? Ask them. Not everyone of their suggestions will be possible (my daughter suggested we fly to Canada), but at least you’ll have an idea about what they’d like to do. You can also make some suggestions and hear their thoughts.
Try to have at least a rough idea of what you’ll be doing the next day so you can prepare yourself mentally and practically for the coming day.
2. Have Realistic Expectations
Not everyday of your vacation can be jam packed with fun-filled activities. Some days will be more fun than others, while some days will be a straight up bore!
You might discover that you’re not as crafty as you thought, your kids may be less motivated than you expected or you might just rely on screen-time more than you might like. Nevertheless, if you can be realistic in your expectations of yourself and your kids, you will find that you feel more comfortable with yourself when things don’t go as expected. Plus, you will be better equipped to help your kids set realistic expectations of you, and their summer vacation.
3. Be Flexible
It would be great if every morning I woke up bursting with energy and excitement and was greeted by cooperative and energized kids ready to seize the day. The reality is that some days I get up and I couldn’t be stuffed, or I’m pumped to venture out but everyone else are dragging their cranky feet. Or may favourite, half the crew is begging to venture out while the other half need naps. Whatever your situtation, be open to the possibility that you might have a plan that needs to get scrapped and rescheduled for any number of reasons. Let go and flow with it.
4. Stay In-Tune
Being with your kids full time is nothing less than full-on; it’s all to easy to get overwhelmed and swept away by irritation and impatience. To help you stay present and prevent a mommy-meltdown, check in with yourself every morning, and through out the day. Stop and take pause to assess your mood and your motivation. Ask yourself “What am I feeling right now?” “What do I feel like doing?” By staying in touch with your state of mind you can be sure that your needs won’t get swept by the way-side in all of your efforts to keep your kids entertained.
5. Take Time For Yourself
In addition to scheduling endless hours of summer entertainment for your kids, remember to schedule time for yourself to recuperate. That might mean a morning off, an evening outing or maybe just short increments of solitude throughout the day. The only way I can sit and write this is because I got my kids settled in an activity (read: video) and declared a mommy-break. Don’t ignore your need to be alone or share your time with other adults. Attend to your own needs and you’ll feel less drained and enjoy your time with your kids more.