Last week was our Spring Break, and we didn’t go out of town. After a week of all the kids being home, let’s just say I got a little peak into what my summer is going to be like.
A summer test run if you will.
There was warm weather, lazy days, cousin sleepovers, tree houses, blanket forts, bike rides, and icecream. But there was also sunburns, fights, messes, late nights, complaining, chore resistance, iPads and “I’m bored.” This is what the front of my house looked like most of the week.
Spring Break gave me the chance to see that I have 6 weeks to figure out my beliefs, rules, policies, and consequences on a few topics.
You’d think I would have motherhood down by now, but it seems each summer presents a new set of dilemmas with new kids, new ages, new stages, new problems, new interests, and news schedules. I have to reassess every summer to best meet the current needs in our home.
So thanks to our Spring Break test run I now want to start thinking about…
Contention– Much to my dismay, there is a lot of fighting, yelling, complaining and rudeness in our home. More than I ever remember. What can I do about it? How can I help my children love one another? Do I ignore it or intervene? Should I make them do a chore when they fight because they obviously have time and energy, or do I have them sit on the couch together sharing a giant T-shirt? Do they get warnings or is there a no tolerance policy before they lose privileges? I need a contention plan; otherwise I feel powerless and just want to cry that my kids are mean to each other.
Schedule– The beauty of being old is I know myself and I know I do better with a schedule. And if I do better, my kids do better too. But I am not quite sure what I want our summer days to look like. Do I want to sign the kids up for camps and activities and classes or do I want our schedule flexible and wide open? Do we keep scripture study in the morning? Do we work in the morning and play in the afternoon? Or do we get out the door quickly and play first while the weather is still cooler? What activities should I assign to what days? Do I want to involve other families in our plan or keep it just us? If I don’t schedule some things we might never get out of our pajamas.
Chores– Summer just wouldn’t be summer without chores. Chores are a rite of passage and a great teaching tool. But how hard do I push them? What chores should they do? How many? How do I track them or motivate them? Do I give rewards or just set the expectation? Do they have to do all their chores before we leave the house? And if so, what do I do with the ones that don’t get their chores done? What about reading and practicing the piano? How can I avoid nagging them? I know chores aren’t the best part of summer, but they are necessary.
Food/Snacks– Between 3 meals and snacks, it felt like I was in the kitchen all day long over Spring Break. (Didn’t we just eat?) And I know summer won’t be any better. So what healthy snack options can I have on hand? How many otter pops in one day is acceptable? How do I contain the mess and not be in the kitchen all day long? What do I do with friends and neighbors? Do they stick to our snack schedule or is it a free for all? What time should we eat breakfast? How do we maintain family dinner? I’d like to set some parameters so I don’t end up sweeping all day.
Messes– I love a mess that shows that my kids were busy doing something other than TV, but I also love a clean house. Where is the balance? How much do I nag? How much do I let go? What about the lawn and outdoor mess? How do I hold them responsible for the messes they make? Are we cleaning up all day or only at designated times? We will figure out something because a clean house helps me keep my sanity.
Technology– I plan to limit our screen time, but just when? where? and how much? is yet to be determined. Do I set blocks of time that technology is an option? Do I have them earn technology time? Or do I just take it day by day and monitor as I go? How much should I limit my own technology use? How can I encourage the kids and me to disconnect to reconnect? I will not rule technology out completely, because it gives me a break sometime which I need, but I do want to keep it in check.
I’ve got a lot to think about over the next 6 weeks so that we can have a great summer where mom and kids are happy. I truly believe thought, preparation, and planning can go a long way to making a happy home. And summer will be here before we know it.
Have you started thinking about summer at your house yet? What works for you and your family? Can you help me out with any of my questions?