The lazy hazy days of our kids’ summer vacations are nearly upon us. While summer is meant to be brimming with fun, the words “lazy” and “hazy” plague many parents. They complain about “lazy” kids who just want to “chill”, and then they worry about the impact of personal sluggishness and absent academics. Parents feel “hazy” attempting to manage free-for-all schedules, as well as the chaos of getting in and out of suitcases, vacations, camps, and the “I’m bored” melodrama. Well I’m not promising a magic potion for “lazy and “hazy”, but these ideas might just help parents to feel a little more in control.
1. The busiest moms and dads can salvage sanity with the use of lists. Is creating one a hassle? Your problem is solved by visiting www.listbean.com. This free website has the most comprehensive list of checklists that can assist anyone to contain ideas, needs, and tasks in one organized place. Use them for anything including teaching your children to pack their own bag for vacation, summer camp, or a sleepover at grandmas. Not only are you teaching them about organization and personal responsibilities, you are lightening your parental workload at the same time. Uh-huh, you heard me! This summer is about your parenting sanity and this post is dedicated to YOU!
2. Did I just say “lighten your workload?” You betcha! Assign daily summer chores to your kids! A good friend of mine grew up as one of seven children. Every day during summer break, her parents left a list of chores that each child was responsible for. From yard work, laundry, vacuuming, or preparing for dinner, these kids all grew up having an appreciation for domesticity, personal responsibility, and family team work. Oh, and if the kids didn’t do what they were assigned, they learned about accountability and consequences from their parents who vowed to be consistent, yet loving disciplinarians! Each of these seven kids grew up with no understanding of what it meant to be “lazy” or “unproductive.” Today all seven are not just self made successes; they are highly productive and respected members in their communities. Kudos to their parents!
3. Many parents want their kids to use their noodles during summer break. No, not the kind you float on in the pool, but the one that grows in between their ears. The planet’s best research reports that parents who require children to read in the summer actually advance the children’s literacy and academic performance. Furthermore, instruction to “go read for an hour” is good ammunition for parents to squelch the drones of “I’m bored.” Age appropriate book lists are available from your child’s school, the public library, bookstores, or a quick internet search. Helpful tips include allowing your child to select both fiction and nonfiction books that interest them, set goals as to how many they would like to read each week, and add newspapers and magazines for variety. Most importantly, consider reading some books out loud as a family. Author Jim Trelease has an entire book devoted to this subject. It is called The Read Aloud Handbook and it happens to be a New York Times bestseller because of its valuable not to mention delightful content. (I gift a copy to every expecting mom that I know.)
4. Do the things that you don’t have the time or patience to do in the school year. Split this one up in to fun things, and not so fun but necessary tasks. Whether you teach your children how to make a banana split, have a friendly water balloon fight, clean out closets, feed the homeless, cook together, garden together, or just watch fireflies, do it together. Let the gift of time, and your united spirits create the finest family bonding that you’ve ever experienced.
5. Okay… so your kids are off for 3 months. This doesn’t mean you have to tend to their whims or entertain them 24/7/365. Parents have to take care of themselves in order to take care of their kids. If you don’t know the importance of this or how to do it, please read about The Parenting Oxygen Mask.
What would you add to this list? Scroll down to our comments section and share your ideas to grow happy yet productive kids, peaceful parents, family harmony, and the best summer ever!