Summer is coming! Which means summer boredom is also coming and you will probably hear these three words:
“Mom! I’m bored!”
Every. Single. Day.
Those words are every mother’s chronic pain for June, July & August. They’re a nagging toothache. A pain in the you-know-what… unless you take the bull by the horns and fight back.
And you can fight summer boredom by adding these 6 ingredients to your calendar.
Be intentional; make a summer plan
Start planning a great summer today by sitting down with a calendar and adding these activities to your schedule. Schedule the smaller activities for a certain time each day if you can. Schedule the bigger events as weekly or monthly. Block out the camps and vacations first, then scatter other activities throughout the week or month. At the beginning of the summer, post the calendar for the family to see, so they know what they have to look forward to.
And I’m not just talking to stay-at-home moms. Working moms can add these ingredients to their kids’ schedule too, whether someone else is watching them or if they are older and are alone.
As you are penciling in summer activities, be sure to leave in plenty of time for kids to be kids with unstructured fun, lazy times, yes, even a smidge of TV and video times (perhaps as rewards for other behaviors or accomplishments). And be sure to leave time for them to figure out their own answer to the question, “What should I do now, Mom?”
The 6 ingredients
If you include these activities in your child’s summer schedule, not only will they be bored less, they will also learn, grow, and have fun.
- Reading. An essential part of each kid’s summer. Whether it’s a library-sponsored summer book club, or a parent-sponsored book program, be sure your kids are still cracking a book. Make regular trips to the library and let them choose their own books. If your child needs help with motivation, give small rewards for chapters or books completed. I used to set aside a scheduled reading time each day and have the kids sit quietly in a favorite spot to read.
- Serving. This is a fun way to remind your kids that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Take them to serve meals at a homeless shelter, read to the elderly in a nursing home, volunteer at a humane society, help an elderly neighbor, work with kids at a local sports camp. Any way you can teach your kids to give to others is a good thing.
- Field Trips. As schools slow down on field trips–do they even do them at all anymore?–look for free, interesting places to take your kids. Bring a picnic lunch and stop at a park afterwards. If you get a group of your friends, you can probably go as a group to factories, places of business, or historical landmarks. I gave my daughter a personalized visit once to a newspaper office where my niece worked. Doesn’t sound too exciting, but she got to see some cool behind-the-scenes stuff.
- Fun! This can take on any form you wish. As long as it allows your kids to enjoy themselves and laugh a lot, and gives your family a chance to be silly. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think kids should enjoy summertime. One of my favorite ways for the kids to have fun was the old-fashioned lemonade stand. Not only was it fun for them, but the neighbors always got a kick out of it too.
- A summer-long project. Pick a task that your child can start at the beginning of the summer and keep working on till the end. Work on a small garden plot or window box, start a collection, write a book, keep a journal, prepare and put on a play
at the end of the summer. Have them present their project at summer’s end and make a big deal about it. Maybe even do something special to celebrate its completion.
- Learn a new hobby. It dawned on my 18-year-old the other day that she doesn’t really have a hobby. We discussed what she liked to do and couldn’t come up with anything other than volleyball, working out, reading, being on the computer, watching tv, etc. I’m thinking maybe that’s partly my fault!
Help your child pick a hobby while they are little. Let them take the lead on it, but you may need to offer some suggestions. Baking, cooking, learning a new craft, building something out of wood, fishing, putting together jigsaw puzzles, building model cars (rockets, ships), learning photography. Anything that holds their interest and gives them goals and something to work toward. And let them explore a new hobby each summer. Who knows, they may find a hobby for life.
Summer shouldn’t be a waste of time
It almost seems like society looks at summer as a waste of time. If the kids aren’t being educated, then it must be a season to be endured and don’t worry, it will be over quick; the kids will be back in school and life will resume its regular rhythm.
But summer should not be just a fill-in season until school starts. It should be a time for adventure, rest, fun, and learning about life in irregular ways.
Be purposeful in helping your child have a grand and growing time this summer!