Summer is upon us. For some moms it feels like sweet relief after months of homework, school projects, and a plethora of activities.
For other moms it can seem like storm clouds are on the horizon as they wonder, What am I going to do with everyone home all summer?
Years ago, I found myself two weeks into summer, realizing that I was losing my cool day after day and it had nothing to do with the temperature outside. My children were bothering one another and bombarding me with questions all day long. My ineffective method of discipline consisted of harsh tones and frustrated sighs.
At one point, it finally hit me. I realized that I never actually communicated with my children my expectations of them for the summer. I sat down that evening and came up with a list of “Summer Rules.” Our plan included expectations, rewards, and consequences. It was specific to our family (and to the particular frustrations that were driving me crazy), but I think some of these ideas would translate to most homes. We discussed these at a calm time in the day, reviewing them many times over the course of the summer. It helped to have the list printed and hanging on the wall so that I could easily point to it and say, “Refer back to rule #2.”
I attempted to make both the extra chores and rewards fun. When it was our “organizing hour”, one child got to pick a chore from the jar. When it was time to do a “Fun thing with Mom or Dad,” they also got to pick from a different jar. They loved the surprise of not knowing what was coming.
Having expectations, rewards, and consequences did not turn our home into summer drudgery. It was the opposite! We all looked forward to Fabulous Fridays and the fun things we got to do together. Having a “Summer Plan” helped us all enjoy time together and set clear expectations (they knew not to ask for a treat at the pool on Monday, because that was coming on Friday).
If you are looking for ideas for some summer structure, here’s our plan from years ago. We began these when our children were ages 3, 6, and 9. I’ve included our:
Verses for Summer (these are printable, more options available in the appendix of Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood)
Responsibilities Chart (3-6 years)
Responsibility Chart (7-12 years)
Clean up Jar
Fun things to do with Mom or Dad
If any of these ideas work for you, feel free to print them up and use them. I’d love to hear ideas from you as well.
Happy Summer Days!