The kids just got out of school, and all of the craziness begins. Schedule changes, kids going off to camp necessitating a myriad of new items, old summer clothing is too small, little ones don’t have any agenda, and the panic seems overwhelming. I have put together a list of 10 survival tips to get through the summer with some sanity.
1. Less is More. In those weeks between school and camp when everyone is home, we often go crazy trying to be Super Mom. Suddenly we must travel far and wide providing our children with the most amazing day trips to show them and our friends we are beyond regular humanoid mothering species.
I am guilty of this. I spent a few years creating a camp experience for my children at home, Camp Kutliroff, providing a schedule of trips, projects, and activities that left me exhausted but proud of my accomplishments. It was by far my kid’s best memory. I don’t regret a moment. But, as they get older I have noticed that often my children are just as happy with the small trips. Walks to 7-11 followed by a nice stroll through the library. A sprinkler on a hot summer day. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles. A drop off for the older ones at the mall never gets old. Planting flowers in our garden out back. We often overwhelm ourselves with guilt that we don’t ‘do enough’ and it’s just not necessary to make them happy.
2. When in doubt, Scavenger. One of my kid’s favorite go-to busy project was and still is, the scavenger hunt. Provided for children at any age passing one of these well-planned babies will provide at least an hour of ‘Me Time’ as they go off in search of items. You can incorporate cameras for the older kids with a drop off at the mall, list in tow. For younger ones a coloring page of items that need to be colored in or stickered off as they locate them in the yard or at a park is all they need.
3. Online shopping has never looked better. If you are one of the crazed moms trying to gather the hundreds of sleepaway items on the camp list, this is for you. STOP, DROP and TYPE. No more is it necessary to run with your child to the myriad of stores and try on hundreds of items, gather it all together and still run around again. I still see moms at Target or the mall trying to get it all done. There are so many online retailers that carry even more items than they do in the store, it’s just not necessary anymore. The shipping costs, if there are any, pay for the time saved in gas and frustration. If you have teens, this is seriously the only way to shop. I put the list of the items my 16-year-old needs in an email and tell him to gather the links together. I give him a budget, and he has to stick to it. It cuts shopping time down to nothing, and I know he’ll like all of the selections. Bonus, he’s learning to budget his spending!
4. Child Swap. No, I am not suggesting you swap out your kid for ten weeks of summer. But, for exhausted moms, it could be an excellent arrangement to watch a friend’s child one set day a week for a few hours while she watches yours on another day. No money needs to be spent, and play dates allow both kids and moms the desired break. I have done this in the past, and my youngest has counted down the days until she went to her friend’s. It became a great expected routine for everyone.