My house is probably as messy as it has been all year, but the kids are happy. The mess is mostly from games, puzzles and art supplies – a good deal is also dirt tracked in from the backyard. I’m working on being happy too, even though the mess drives me nuts.
About the second week of summer break is when I start to feel overwhelmed. And maybe, just maybe, a little grouchy. (You too?!? Glad I’m not alone.) I decided to sit down with the kids and talk about our day-to-day plans. What did they want to do? When would they watch TV? How would they find time separate from each other? There are still other questions we’ll be hashing out in the days ahead, but we did agree on a few things:
• We will only turn the TV on for one hour each day (family movie nights on Friday are an option at parental discretion).
• We signed up for the summer reading program at the library. Our goal is to each read at least 30 minutes each day (I’m reading The Chronicles of Narnia aloud to them too).
• We pulled out all the games and puzzles and decided that everyone gets a chance to choose a game each day. They can play whatever they want and as much as they want so long as there is no fighting.
• Kids can trade TV time for computer time and Thursdays are designated computer days – learning games or art/design apps.
Watching TV would certainly make for less mess, but it’s worth the trade-off to have kids that are interacting, learning and growing together. We also have plans to visit special places, go camping, play with friends, make interesting food in the kitchen, and plant in the garden.
What kinds of summer sanity savers do you use? Are you a planner or do you like to wing it?
By Jenna Hallock
Wife to Mark, Mom of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Family Time Training
First published on jennahallock.com on May 27, 2010.