I was musing with a friend about the coming of summer vacation. It brings so much excitement and anticipation, yet when it arrives, within one day, moms invariably hear, “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!” It happens. I know that very phrase left my own lips at that age– even with the many opportunities I had on our rural property. I missed the structure of the school year. I missed the contact with friends.
I decided this year I would do something a little different for my family. In previous summers, I left my kids (now old enough to spend time home alone) a to-do list of sorts. I would scribble out chores to complete and activities to enjoy that were “non-screen.” It is extremely challenging in our world to avoid screen time. It permeates so many facets of their lives– including being necessary for school work. It is an easy fallback.
First, I suggested we all dedicate one day a week as screenless. This was met with astonishment and horror. Then, I cranked out some planning worksheets. Intentional planning is key and letting them participate in the planning increased their buy-in factor. Instead of a completely blank slate, we planned out a variety of activities–some they can do on their own, some together, and some that will be family activities. Time with friends, trips to the beach and library. Specific chores for each child and projects were scheduled.
Suddenly, summer went from a boring blank slate of potentially wasted time to an array of exciting adventures. We left plenty of down time, too, but there is now enough structure and planning that when September arrives and they are asked, “What did you do over summer?” there won’t be a blank stare and a shrug.
Get your own copy of my summer vacation planning checklists and worksheets below! Five different sheets to help you organize summer!