By Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of Nannies4Hire.com and Care4Hire.com, and author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and mother of two.
You’re preparing for this coming summer when your kids will again be home all day. You flash back to last summer . . . partially cooked spaghetti noodles draped across your kitchen’s ceiling light fixture, chocolate pudding finger prints smeared down the hallway wall, clutter everywhere, kids wired from sleeping ‘til noon and wanting to be awake ‘til midnight. You would like to plan a summer that is happier and more productive for all involved. What can you do?
1. Have a scheduled wake and bedtime even during the summer. Yes, the kids can sleep late and stay up late as compared to their school year schedule, but setting a wake time of, say, 9 a.m. and a bedtime of perhaps 9:30 p.m. is advisable.
2. Limit energizing activities in the evening. Evenings should be all about peaceful, winding-down activities so that the kids will be ready for bed (not hyped) at bedtime.
3. Set boundaries on what food is available to your kids, in what rooms it can be consumed, and at what times it can be consumed. For example, limit ice cream intake, provide plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, and require that all food be eaten in the kitchen or dining room between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
4. Create a rule (if age-appropriate for your kids) that anyone who makes a mess must be responsible for cleaning up the mess.
5. Plan fun, active, creative, or educational activities for your kids. Hike a nearby nature trail, learning about local vegetation and wildlife. Plant and tend a flower or veggie garden together. Volunteer at a local non-profit organization . . . sorting donations, distributing flyers and literature, and serving people in need. Host little get-togethers for the neighborhood kids to share in these experiences, and ask other neighborhood parents if they are willing to do the same.
6. Alter your expectations. You will set yourself up for disappointment, and set yourself and your kids up for failure, if you expect your summers to be as highly structured as your school terms. Instead, shift your standards to summers of creative, active learning experiences punctuated by rest, snacks, chores, and bonding.
By following these steps, you can minimize the ARGH! of summer and increase the AAHH! of the summer with your kids.
Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of Nannies4Hire.com and Care4Hire.com, and author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and mother of two.