Children don't need more things. The best toys a child can have is a parent who gets down on the floor and plays with them.
- Bruce Perry
Yes, I know I talked about taking more time for you in our last post, but today we are talking about family time. Not time with just your kids... I know you have a ton of that. I mean time as a family, getting off the couch, getting active, and getting dirty.
I have decided to make a conscious effort to spend more time as a family this summer.
Normally, I work every other weekend... whine, groan. And on evening shift… whine, groan. We don't have much time together as the four of us. In fact we only have 4 full days a month. That's it!! It's criminal really. There are even times I go 5 days without seeing my husband awake. This year I decided to turn those 4 measly days into 8 by using vacation on my working weekends. YAY!! If you're a weekend/holiday worker you know how big this is. You get screwed, especially in the summer. You miss barbecues, weddings, and all the family time that makes you smile.
I needed to take full advantage of this time, so here's our plan.
For us, summer planning usually means having conversations here and there with the hubby about what we would like to do, but we don't usually do anything. This year I took some advice from the little voice in my head (don’t act like you don’t know which one I’m talking about) and put our plans on a schedule... it's set in stone, with wiggle room, of course. We have toddlers and they don't comply with schedules, rules, or anything else that would make life easier.
We have a saying in the nursing profession, "If it's not charted, it wasn't done." Scheduling activities, actually putting pen to paper, has much the same affect... well, at least for me, but you may not be a part of the Anal Annie Club. If you are, you know the pleasure of crossing off tasks on to do lists, labeling mason jars in your pantry, and having all of your pictures labeled by month and year. Not that I do any of these things... wink wink. If you're not a Type A person, join us... see if the shoe fits.
Schedule a family meeting with your kids, and plan your summer.
My Annie is at that age where she wants to be involved in everything, especially decision making. So when I told her we were going to sit down and plan our summer trips and activities, she pulled up a chair and even supplied her own pen to help fill out the calendar. Don't worry...
I've made a handy dandy Summer Calendar just for you! You're welcome! You can download it here.
This is what we wrote on our Summer Calendar...
- The days I work.
- Doctor’s and dentist appointments.
- Birthdays, holidays, and any other special event.
- Trips to our family cabin. This is our favorite summer activity, so it gets high priority.
- When Joseph and I would be out of town. The girls will have a sleepover at Grandma's... to which Annie screamed, "Yeah!!! I'm so excited! Best day EVER!"
- Annie's last and first day of preschool.
- When we start sowing seeds indoors. We are pretty passionate about our veggie garden, so we like to plan for success. We’ll get more into gardening with your kids on another post.
Need some help filling up your calendar?
- Talk to friends and family about what they like to do with their kids... free and paid activities. I get a lot of ideas from friends at work who also struggle with an awkward work schedule.
- Check out your local Park and Rec program. They have great programs and events for kids of all ages!
- Have a picnic in your backyard, or at a local park. This is a big one in my family! My kids are easily entertained, so a simple blanket on the grass is equal to a grand outing to an exotic place. Big win for Momma!
- Get away with your kids. We visit our family cabin in Oroville at least a couple times a summer. No TV, no cell phone reception, and lots of board games. The kids (and dog) play outside all day! By 7 they are exhausted, and Hubby and I can relax listening to the sounds of the mountains.
- Go to your local lake/river, and have some fun in the sun... bathed in sunscreen, of course.
- Visit your local Farmer's market. Fun and you get some grocery shopping done at the same time. Multitasking is a Mom's best friend.
- Go see a movie. When it gets above 110 degrees out here, we hide indoors. Pack some yummy treats, and the kids will hopefully be entertained for an hour and a half. A drive in movie would be a great idea too!
- Go to a splash park. They are usually safer than a water park, which is way too overwhelming for me. You could achieve the same effect by turning on the sprinklers at your house, but who wants to run up your own water bill? Although it's a good option in a pinch.
- Bubbles and sidewalk chalk. Quick and easy in a pinch, and pretty much a daily occurrence around our house.
- Search Pinterest!! You know you've already done it...
- Drop them off at their Grandparent's house and escape to the Bahamas... that probably won't happen, but a girl can dream. I guess it really wouldn’t comply with the whole “family time” concept, though, would it?
By the way, this genius flotation device can be found at Costco... because everything awesome can usually be found at Costco.
Comment below with your summer plans and how you'll use your Summer Calendar... I'm always looking for new ideas to entertain my kids, and I have a feeling you are to.
Savor the sun, the rain is right around the corner.
Sending you lots of love, and a nap.