Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Guide for Summer Sanity

It's summer. The kids are out of school and are perpetually bored, whiny, and fighting with each other. Bedtime somehow comes later and later. It's a recipe for parental insanity.

Here's a few ideas to hopefully mellow out the negative aspects of summer and possibly create some great memories while you're at it.

  • Get out of the house. I can't say this one enough. When everyone is cooped up under one roof, it just begs for getting on each other's nerves. Whatever it is you want to do, go do it! Make sure it's fun and feasible. 
  • Find a schedule to keep consistency at home. My schedules are pretty lax, but I make sure everyone gets dressed every day--at the very least. Do whatever works for you and your kids. Keep chores regular. 
  • Encourage play dates!! Nothing changes the dynamics of the house quite like having an extra kid over to play (or one of your own gone playing elsewhere works great too). 
  • Schedule your own "me" time. This is really important. You can't take care of others if you don't have anything to give. You have to refill yourself. I go to the gym and read while I exercise. Also, talk to your spouse about taking a day to shop, eat with a friend, get a massage or pedicure. Having a break doesn't make you a bad mom; In fact, getting time to recharge probably makes you a great mom!
Some free or cheap ideas to do with your kids to keep them happy are:

  • Visit your local library. You can check out books, attend story time, and most libraries have children's sections where they can do puzzles or other activities.
  • Going along with the library, read to your kids. I have been amazed that my 2 and almost 4 year old will sit and listen to me read for 20, 30 or 40 minutes--or longer!
  • Get the wiggles out at the park. Get some sun, get out of the house, and have fun!
  • Have a picnic.
  • Invite some friends over for water fun in your backyard.
  • Make homemade popsicles or snow cones.
  • Play games or sports in the backyard.
  • Go to a local splash pad.
  • If available, visit zoos or museums in your area.
  • Take a day trip to the mountains, or lakes, or another city.
  • Make home videos.
  • Produce a puppet show.
  • Build forts.
  • Do small service projects for your neighbors (age appropriate). You may try washing windows, or lawn care or making treats to deliver.
  • Write letters (or draw pictures) to members of the military or missionaries from your area.
  • Have a lemonade stand or bake sale and plan something fun to do with their earnings.
  • Put on a play for the neighborhood.
Remember to enjoy this time with your kids. I know it's hard when they run you ragged and your sanity is on the brink of collapse, but, as everyone always says, you're going to miss this time when they're all grown up.

If you think you're about to lose it, call a friend. Get the kids together and take the opportunity to recharge each other.

One more piece of advice: Date Night. For real. Super important. Talk to your spouse and schedule date night, often. We try to go once a week--whether it's out to eat, a movie, a trip to the temple, or shopping (not our favorite). We also double date with some friends. It's important to find time to reconnect with your spouse, emotionally and physically. And, face it--the kids need a break from you, too!

© Wendy 2013


  1. I know date nights are important, but how do you afford a babysitter and a date? It seems like a babysitter alone (if we did a free date, which isn't that exciting around here) is hard to fit into our budget. And we only have one kid!

    1. We pay $1 per kid per hour, and then we try to round up. But, I also have older kids that help and are lower maintenance. I would talk to some of the girls at church and just ask what they charge per hour and work it out that way. I used to babysit for 4 hours and get paid like $6 for 1-3 kids, back in the day. I also think it depends on the age of the girl. I have also found that 12-13 year old girls make the best babysitters. I hope that helps!