With school out, parents either feel two things:
- “Wow, I can’t wait to spend more time with my kids!” or
- “Oh, boy, here we go. How will we fill their time?”
Parents who work outside the home have no choice but to send their kids to camps or daycares during the day, but stay-at-home moms or work-at-home moms need to get creative. If you need some ideas on how best to occupy your kids this summer then what follows will be just what you need.
In order for children to be happy and content four things need to be present in their day:
- Free Play/Alone time
How do we structure their days so that all four requirements are met? The following is what a typical day could look like:
- 8 am Kids wake up (or 9 am)
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Have free time to play, watch a good quality children’s program (no fighting, violence, or quick flashing images) for a half hour or hour
- Learn how to make or bake something with mommy. This can be a craft or a baked good.
- Eat a healthy lunch
- Put them down for a nap or if older, take them outside to:
- a) a playground
- b) a friends house (this way you can have a tea or coffee with another adult while the kids play!)
- c) a play gym
- d) walk somewhere (grocery store, post office, ice cream store)
- e) take pictures of nature with a disposable or digital camera (Children love this! Give them a brief lesson on how to focus on an object etc. then let them be creative with whatever they want to capture) Make these pictures part of another day’s craft activity!
- f) kick around a ball together
- g) walk in the countryside
- h) go to a museum
- i) go to the zoo
- j) send the kids on a scavenger hunt and after they find everything they can enjoy a homemade popsicle or ice cream!
- k) go to grandma and grandpa’s house
- l) play catch
- m) meet the working parent for his or her coffee break (how nice to visit them during the day for a short coffee, tea, lemonade or chocolate milk!)
- n) weed the garden or grass (believe it or not, some kids really like doing this! Put on some good music and have an enjoyable time together)
- o) take care of the garden plants by watering them, picking off dead leaves etc.
- p) wash the car with buckets of soapy water, sponges and shammy cloths
- q) turn on the sprinkler(s) and let the kids run through the water (you can either join in or read a good book while they play)
- Come home and let the children have some “Alone Time” (for you as well!)
- Eat a healthy dinner
- Spend some quality family time together
- To bed no later than 8:30pm for younger children and 9:30pm for older children.
Voila! A perfect day that is routined and stimulating yet has plenty of time for free play and sleep.
If you are a work-at-home mom, then your work will be done while the kids have their TV time or Alone time. And, as most work-at-home moms do, you may have to work a bit during the evenings.
I suggest creating a new summer schedule. Perhaps you schedule Tuesday and Wednesday evenings as nights when you will do a bit of work, but on the other nights, you are free to relax – hey, it’s your summer too!
Ease up on your regular duties as well. Maybe you only send out an ezine every 2 weeks instead of weekly. Lighten your load so you can spend quality time with your kiddies as well as by yourself.
You deserve it, you’ve earned it, now go enjoy your summer!