When you have kids in school, a lot of things change as the summer months begin. Some of these things are good: no more bus schedule or after-school practice, no more homework or permission slips, and no more running around like a chicken with your head cut off every Monday morning.
Did you notice though that a few things change, dare we say, for the worse when your kids are home all day every day?
Say, during the school year, you grocery shop once a week or so. You make sure that your kids have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and probably a snack or two. So, how come when summer break is in session, your kids seem to eat ten times as much as before.
It’s not just that they are home for lunch. There is some strange phenomenon that happens.
Maybe it’s the fresh air, maybe it’s the biking or swimming or catching fireflies?
Whatever it is, your kids are hungry. They want to eat all day long. You ask them how they managed to go hours at school without eating each school day and they either look at you like you were crazy or they declare that the 3 hours between meals was “torture.”
Thankfully, kids tend to eat what they can see, so if you have to buy extra food, buy healthy food. This is probably how a centerpiece of fruit on the kitchen table started in the first place.
Over a summer break, how many times have you heard that your kids are bored?
Probably, a lot. Many adults puzzle over this. How can there be nothing to do when there is SO MUCH to do?
Parents tend to answer two ways, though each has its variations.
1. “If you can’t find something to do, I will find you something to do” or
2. “When I was your age, I was never bored. I used my imagination.”
No matter why your kids are bored – or think they are bored – you must be aware of the thing that boredom can lead to. Bad decisions.
So make sure to try and introduce a new fun activity into the mix every now and again. Depending on the kid’s ages, you could get arts and crafts supplies, set up a badminton net in the backyard, pick up supplies for a science experiment, or ingredients for a fun snack.
Have more than one idea handy so they feel as if they have some freedom in deciding what to do and not like they’ve traded their “teacher teacher” for their “mom teacher.”
Encourage outdoor activities like creek-walking, bike-riding, and swimming. And remind them that sometimes not doing anything can be blissful, too. Counting fluffy white clouds in a bright blue sky is never a waste of time.
Remember when your kids are in school and you can clean the kitchen, leave, and return to a clean kitchen. That may not be something that happens in summer.
If you try to keep up with their messes, you will literally do nothing else all day.
This must be why kids are off in the summer months. Can you imagine if they had three months off in a row and you could never send them outside? Whole droves of parents would go mad overnight.
Tip one for dealing with messes is to let them make the mess outside.
Tip two, if you can, designate a spot by the back door or in the garage to be the mudroom. Depending on where you live in the country, a “sand room” may more accurately describe the room’s purpose.
If your kids are spending the day at the beach, or even just playing in the sandbox, you need a spot they can get undressed and/or take off their shoes that is not carpeted. Have you ever tried to get sand out of carpet? You can sweep an uncarpeted floor easily and you’ll be stain-free.
Tip three? Make a summer chore chart.
The school year chore chart just doesn’t cut it come summer time when there are a lot more messes to be cleaned, laundry to be washed, and dishes to be done.
Remind the kids that it is your summer break too and you are not planning on taking an unpaid summer internship as “their maid!”
Tip four: check out our line of cleaning products guaranteed to help keep the summer messes under control without dyes, caustics, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, chlorine, parabens, triclosan, formaldehyde, or phosphates.
Next time a kid says they are bored just hand them our Real Simple Glass and Surface Cleaner and tell them to get to work!