As I sit here listening/watching Trolls for the millionth time with my entranced toddler, repeatedly interrupted by my 6 year old who updates me on her art projects every two minutes, I can’t help but think about how lucky I am. I’m not going to lie, I was somewhat dreading this summer. School break for all of us did not seriously equal relaxing downtime. But I do realize that, as a teacher, I get to spend these days with my kids and appreciate the time together, when others do not have that ability.I get the best of both worlds, having a full time job, but also time with my family.
The downside is, they are kids, and they will most likely tell you they are bored as soon as they are of speaking age. I mean, how on earth do you entertain these two on a daily basis and maintain an energy level and sanity? The answer, of course is, you don’t. Over conversations with my mom, my husband, and my friends, there isn’t a reason to have to constantly entertain them. You are not the hired help (even though I typically feel that way), and the less you plan for them, the more time is allowed for them to get creative with their play. So, after a few first hesitant days of summer break, we have managed to settle into a fairly comfortable routine that I might even say is enjoyable…? Ha! But really, for me, and my kids, a routine, whatever it may be, is definitely key to maintaining EVERYONE’S sanity.
A typical day in our life:
5:00 a.m.- I grumpily roll out of bed to workout (every other day)
7:00 a.m.- McKenna wakes up. What is her deal?!? And we snuggle while I get a daily dose of GMA and caffeine.
7:45 a.m.- Eme wakes up and the girls eat a random sampling for breakfast. Eme has not stopped trying to request cookies and gummies for breakfast, I think she is trying to break me.
9:30 a.m.- out the door, or as Em says, “Go bye bye!”- For us, this could be anything from just heading outside to play for a bit, going on a walk or bike ride, or running errands or grocery shopping. I get out of the house for at least an hour or so at this point.
11:30-12 ish- I try to always be home by noon or 1 at the latest, to give the girls lunch and wind down for Emerson’s nap. She is a BEAST if we miss it and I do not ever wish to part with those delightfully relaxing 2-3 hours of my afternoon. McKenna will oftentimes head to a friend’s house or invite someone over to play during this time, though I have been known to put her in her own room for an hour of quiet play while I watch a TV show or nap as well.
3:00- Everyone is typically awake and alert by this point. Depending on what, if anything, we have planned for the evening, we usually eat a snack (why do kids eat a million snacks a day on break?!?) we might go for a walk, to a neighbor’s house to visit and play, destroy our own toy room, etc. I am lucky, the girls play fairly well together, so if they are immersed in their own games, I will sneak away and clean a room or empty and reload the dishwasher (story of my life).
4:00- TV or iPad. I usually start dinner around 4 or 4:30, depending on the prep time needed, so I don’t mind if the kids get some screen time while I am cooking.
5:30-6- Dinner! We eat when my husband gets home from work and then end the evening with a walk around the neighborhood or some time playing on our swingset.
So this is the basic routine I try to stick to, though it does fluctuate when we do a pool day or meet Justin for lunch downtime occasionally. To keep the kids happy, and to add variety, I always to make sure we do at least one fun, kid-friendly item a day. Today, for example, we are going to the pool. Tomorrow morning our city has kids’ time at a large green space downtown, so I am taking the girls there to ride the carousel and enjoy arts and crafts, as well as the bounce houses, before we have lunch with Justin. Doing something a little different each day keeps them entertained and happy, and makes me feel less guilty for the time we spend at home where I am cleaning or just want to read.
If you are looking for fun kid friendly options around your city, here are some options to look into!
- Check your city’s website, is there a parks’ and rec dept. that might schedule outings at the parks or organize events around your city?
- One of our local radio stations has a kid friendly event every Friday morning at a local shopping center where kids can play, participate in crafts, and enjoy face painting. It’s a lifesaver for stay at home parents!
- Many of my friends, especially those that work during the summer, sign their kids up for different camps based on interests. We will probably do at least one next summer since McKenna is getting to that age. I am told you need to sign up early, though, as they fill up quickly!
- Join a nearby pool. The kids and you get some fresh air, but can also stay cool. Bonus: Everyone (you included) will most likely need a nap afterward.
- Check out your local library.There are usually events going on throughout the summer for all ages and ours have great kids’ spaces to play in on rainy days.
- Look for kids’ mornings at a local movie theater. My extremely vocal toddler will be seen as questionable otherwise!
Create a must do list with your older children. What would they like to do this summer? Some of McKenna’s musts are:
- Any splash pad
- Ice cream for dinner (my fave!)
- Visit our local farmer’s market
- Fashion show (where she tries on all of her clothes and puts together outfits, but I get to see what fits and what I need to buy for next year!)