Hello from beautiful Montana:

Summer is here and with it an overwhelming number of activities, play dates, summer camps and fun things to do. Also here are the plaintive cries of kids who say; "I'm bored, there is nothing to do."

The best ideas, as suggested by parents in my classes, are to organize the days and weeks of summer so that the activities are spread out and manageable by parents and children.

Here are 5 tips that will help make Summer smooth sailing and fun for everyone.

  1. Require the kids to do chores and responsibilities before television is turned on, friends come over or they go to activities. Ten minutes of work before soccer practice takes ten minutes. After the soccer game and a friend comes home to play, hunger strikes and tiredness sets in, well you can guess how many minutes or hours it will take to get the chores done.
  2. Have regular family meetings or planning sessions where the calender is filled out with activities and commitments, goals are set and agreements are made. You will be surprised how much will get done, when your thoughts aren't scattered and summer schedules are posted where everyone can see and remember.
  3. Whenever possible, always give the kids a choice, even if the choice is small. For instance; do you want swimming or soccer classes this Summer? Do you want to pack your lunch before or after breakfast?  Would you rather have Tom or Evan over for lunch today?Do you want to go to the library story time or the museum make it day?
  4. Make your child responsible for any equipment or paper that is involved in his activities. If he has gone swimming, it is his responsibility to  hang up his towel and swimsuit where he will find it tomorrow. If there are papers or forms to be signed or filled out, have one spot in the house where they belong and everyone knows about it and uses it.  Saves time, stress and sanity to count on what you need being where it is supposed to be.
  5. Limit sleepovers.  I know, my kids loved them too. What I found, however, is that the kids stayed up too late, ate too much junk food, watched way too much television or movies and were really cranky the next day. A junior high school counselor told me one time that she would never allow her children to do sleep overs after her students told her all the dumb things they did when they were tired, under peer pressure and wanted to fit in.  Enough said.

Summer activities can be fun filled and memory laden, but they can also be stressful for both parents and children. The more organized your family is, the more relaxed you can be and the more fun you can have.

When you plan ahead, you will limit the stress and enlarge the fun.  Isn't that what Summer is all about?

In gratitude,

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke

PS: Be sure to check out http://www.kidschoresandmore.com  for ideas on getting the kids to help at home.

5 Ways to Organize Your Child’s Summer Activities