Monday, June 7, 2010

My Summer Survival Plan

Summer vacation! Woo-hoo! My kids and I get to spend every waking minute together for three whole months. Sounds great, doesn't it? Actually, it is great! But... The long break quickly turns ugly if I slip into passive mode.

I have a plan. I came up with it about four years ago after a particularly annoying start to a much-anticipated summer break.

Summer
Photo by escariao

Here is my personal, proven plan for a successful summer vacay.

The first two weeks: TIRE THEM OUT.

Let them sleep in. Then get them out of the house! We take a lot of mini-trips the first days of summer vacation. It's difficult for my kids to adjust from a jam-packed schedule to a non-existent one. (Difficult translates into they get bored and pick at each other.) So we'll spend a day at the zoo and another at the art museum. We'll ride bikes, visit the library, lounge at the pool and swim at the beach. We'll break out the markers and drawing pads. In essence, we will not stay home much.

The middle weeks of summer: LAZY MORNINGS; ACTIVE AFTERNOONS

Their bodies have adjusted to the slower pace. They actually want to stay home more. Activities long forgotten are unearthed from the basement and enjoyed. We still take day trips, though not as often. Every afternoon we get active. We may take a long walk, ride our bikes through a metropark, swim, make sandcastles at the beach, play catch, or garden, but we will be outside and moving our bodies.

There are so many things to do in our area. The county fair is a highlight--hello, junk food!--as is spending a few hours ambling about in downtown Ann Arbor. I'll drag the kids to a few historical sights, which they'll complain about but secretly love, and I'll probably buy them an ice cream cone on the way home. Hey, I never claimed to be Super Mom!

The final two weeks of summer: BACK ON TRACK

Bedtimes slowly get pushed back to normal. We try to cram in our favorite activities--especially the zoo and swimming. Excitement over new school clothes, supplies, and seeing good friends permeates the air. I wish I could say I relish these final weeks, but I usually am more than ready for school to open. Again, never claimed to be Super Mom!

If you have children at home, how do you handle summer? Business as usual, or do you adjust to your kids' temperaments?

Join me on Wednesday for a peek at my summer writing schedule.

29 comments:

  1. A plan? I need a plan? Oh NOOOO!! :) I have a bit of a summer routine as well. I take my kids to their grandparents for the first three weeks of vacation & by the time we get home they're pretty content to do small local outings & lots of hanging out in backyards / parks with friends. This is our first official summer vacation though since kid #1 just started school so we'll see how it goes.

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  2. We usually do a weeklong road trip as soon as school lets out. When we get back everyone's ready for lazy mornings and weekend camping trips in the mountains or at the beach. We finish the summer off with another weeklong vacation to an amusement park.

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  3. I'm still coming up with a plan, but the kiddo will have a few morning camps and vacation Bible school, so those are the days I can't afford to waste! :)

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  4. I was never home with my daughter when she grew up summers--it was off to the sitter! I love that you are so organized and have a plan. It sounds fun! I'm coming over:)

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  5. I love your game plan for summer! We usually have a summer schedule...I write out a draft of things planned for each day, even if it's just craft time, music, etc.

    I'm also pumped to teach a writing workshop for 3rd-6th graders just weeks before school begins again. My children are excited too.
    ~ Wendy

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  6. Lol I was never so organized. A few outings here and there. Best thing we invested in was a 20 ft. diameter above ground pool. My two mermaids spent a lot of time in the water.

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  7. When my kids were younger, we pretty much winged it. A few summers of swim lessons, summer dance lessons. And always, always, time at the beach. The rest of the time, they got to enjoy the hazy, lazy days of summer.

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  8. oooh, we adjust! But we spend a LOT of time hanging out with friends and family with kids...they have a blast AND they tire each other out :) We take a few mini trips and they get a number of sleepovers with grandparents..which everyone enjoys! Lots of pool time, BBQ time and of course they love their golf...so then..I get some "me" time...sigh. I love summer.

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  9. oooh, we adjust! But we spend a LOT of time hanging out with friends and family with kids...they have a blast AND they tire each other out :) We take a few mini trips and they get a number of sleepovers with grandparents..which everyone enjoys! Lots of pool time, BBQ time and of course they love their golf...so then..I get some "me" time...sigh. I love summer.

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  10. Jill, this is great. I never thought about breaking the summer up into sections like that, but it makes so much sense! It seems we are usually so wiped out and tired of each other (homeschoolers, here) at the end of the year we languish for the first two weeks, and then it's hard to break the inertia. By the time we get moving again, I'm thinking about getting back on track for the next school year!
    I''m going to apply this, thanks!
    Niki

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  11. Now that's where I went wrong! I started the summer off slow when I should have been wearing the kids out :) They already searching for more things to do.

    My hubby's work hours changed so we're still getting a summer plan now. So far we have lots of time outside in the morning and some swimming because it's been so warm.

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  12. Love your plan! What a mom you are:)
    I used to have read-a-thons with my kids in the summer to make sure they kept reading. As they got older, they usually did anyway, but it was a fun thing to do. We'd keep a chart of their progress, usually measured in pages depending on age. Then when we reached our goal we'd do something special or I'd have a little surprise for each of them.

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  13. Awesome plan! :) I homeschool year round, so we just go on with business as usual. The thing I love about the summer is that it's warm enough to get outside. *hates winter*

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  14. That's a good plan! Summer for me is wonderful, since I'm a teacher and I get a couple months off! My little man is too young for any big schedule changes. But being home with him is heavenly!

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  15. That's a good plan! Summer for me is wonderful, since I'm a teacher and I get a couple months off! My little man is too young for any big schedule changes. But being home with him is heavenly!

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  16. Wow, this is the most intense summer plan I've ever seen! The only person I'm responsible for is myself, so I generally try to keep as busy as possible, especially with living in a small Midwestern town - it's hard to find a bunch of things to explore on a daily basis. When I pack my schedule, I'm more apt to get things done then when I just have one or two activities. I guess I'm pretty Type A like that.

    It sounds like you have everything figured out!

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  17. Awesome. Good luck with the plan :)
    I wish it was summer here. We are going into winter. Yuck!
    Oh well. Sun will shine again hey :)

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  18. We totally adjust to the kids' temperaments. We were at the pool today for a LONG time (and I have the sunburn to prove it!) and so my younger son napped until almost 6pm! Of course, that means a much later bed time than usual. I LOVE SUMMER!!! Enjoy wearing out your kiddos :)

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  19. Great plan! Sooo much better than benadryl. LOL!

    My daughter is probably going to have a book deal before I am. She's 14 and spends her free time reading and writing. I've booked her summer for her...week 1 teaching Bible School, week 2, 3, 4 go to the cabin read write and swim, week 5, 6, 7, 8 acting internship, week 9, 10 back to the cabin and to CO, weeks 12 and 13 shopping trips to various cities and then back to school...I'm just hoping she enjoys her summer. I can't believe that she only has 4 more years of school...I'm hoping she'll go to college somewhere where my husband can teach so we an follow her...

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  20. That's a great plan, Jill! I love it, TIRE THEM OUT.

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  21. This is brilliant Jill! This is my first summer having kids get out of real school so I don't have much experience. I like the tire them out idea. We're starting swimming lessons this week and I'm hoping that will wear them out a little.

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  22. Hi Jill -

    I like the way you transition the kids from busy school days to slower summer days. I'm sure it helps them adjust to the changes.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  23. What a great plan. sounds like a winner. I don't remember much of what I did with my kids in summer except all of those sports. I just know I loved having them home.

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  24. This is a fabulous plan. Girl, it's so good to be back here and get a belly laugh...and remember the old days!!!

    Blessings,
    P

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  25. Danyelle: I LOVE summer! Warmth!

    Katie: I know how much you love being home with your sweetie--enjoy him this summer!

    Icy Roses: I hear you. We are blessed to live within a half hour of three really fun cities. I take advantage!

    Tabitha: Winter already? Get out your quilts!

    Beth: I hope that later bedtime translates into sleeping in! :)

    Sharon: Your daughter sounds amazing! And I really like your plan of following her to whichever college she chooses. Nice!

    Heather: It's the only way. :)

    Natalie: Kids + water = exhausted. In a good way! Have a great time!

    Susan: I certainly try to help them adjust. It seems as if each year it gets easier.

    Nancy: Me too. There's nothing better than waking up and getting to spend a meandering day with my kids.

    Patti: Glad you're back! I've got to stop by your blog and read more about your trip!

    Kristen: Works for me!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  26. Jill, this is brilliant. It makes me excited for our summer!

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  27. Good stuff, Jill!! I'm relishing the summer with my daughter as we'll be dropping her off at college in September. As she's working and spending time with friends, the transition to less mom/daughter time is happening - so glad we have a good relationship! Enjoy your time with your kids!!

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  28. Jill, it sounds like you have a great plan. I wish you many wonderful adventures with your kiddos.

    Our daughter got a summer job in her college town and will be staying in her new apartment. I'd heard most students come home after the first year, so this was a surprise. Once I got used the idea, I rejoiced in the fact that she's ready to embrace her freedom and has the confidence to do so.

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