Although part of us as moms look forward to the end of each school year with its demands, deadlines and endless fundraisers, we also dread (even if just a little bit) knowing that each and every morning will no longer see our little darlings off to school so we can either get to our own jobs, work our “from-home” business, or just take care of the little preschooler(s) in a temporarily quieter home.
For me, the arrival of summer break does promise the lack of 5:30 wake-ups, and I can look forward to sleeping to the ripe old hour of 7 am when my 2-year-old twins begin to call me from their room. But the challenges of keeping each child content and busy for the next 2 and 1/2 months presents a bigger challenge then the other 9 and 1/2. I run a part-time, from-home business, and during the school year I work when the little guys are napping before it’s time to pick up the older kids, but summer days are totally different with 4 other kids to think about. Another challenge is the fact that my 3 sets of twins vary in ages from 2 to 10 to 15. The obvious problem: none of them want to do what the others are doing. The last challenge: cost. I cannot afford to take them to a Disney theme park once a week. No way!
My solutions? Many. First of all, on beautiful, hot summer mornings, the goal is to eat a quick breakfast, pile the towels and sunscreen into the beach bag and head either up to our neighborhood pool or to the beach. Having the beach only seven miles from our door is quite the advantage to living in Jacksonville, Florida! Either spending the morning at the pool or beach, the kids get LOTS of exercise, have LOTS of fun, and WEAR themselves out in time before lunch … and it’s quite enjoyable for me, too! Often, we’ll plan to meet up with another family and bring lunch along so the kids can have their “friend-fix” of those they miss seeing each day at school.
In the afternoons (which are typically rainy during the summer here in Florida) or on rainy mornings, we have the choice of:
1. Dollar or free matinee movies at a nearby cinema;
2. Regular trips to the library for new books to read in the afternoons and evenings;
3. “Play dates” at our or friends homes. Hey, teenagers love plays date if it means they can hang out with their friends;
4. Plan a day at the zoo. There are lots of specials and coupons during the summer for zoos to keep people coming on hot summer days, so it can be pretty reasonable. Pack lunch in stead of buying food there to save even more!
5. At least once, visit a local water park (much less expensive than large theme parks). Kids of all ages will enjoy an entire day water sliding … and picnic lunch outside!
6. For a more cost-effective solution, arrange it so that you and several neighbors pitch in to rent an inflatable water slide for an entire day. If enough families are involved, the cost will be low!
7. Get some new board and card games. It’s amazing how caught up in a board game we get when we’re enjoying it!
8. Sleepovers are so much fun to look forward to complete with movies and popcorn. I allow the older kids make cookies or brownies to go with ice cream.
… and other ideas that fill the days with activity. Doing so allows the afternoons to more low key for toddler naps if needed, and reading time for older kids so moms can get some work done! Of course, not everyday must there be a scheduled activity … just go with the flow and relax, too because, after all, it’s summer break!
Okay! Please share YOUR ideas!!