Surviving Summer With Kids

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Successful summer break

 

It’s Heather, from FamilyVolley, here to share some tips to help your summer break run a little more smoothly. With the kids out of school, and under our feet, it can be tough to know how to keep everyone sane.

Here are 3 suggestions for Surviving Summer with Kids at your house.

Have Realistic Expectations- We Don’t Have to Keep Up With The Jones’.

Media and the internet tell us that summer vacation must be filled with a million field trips, snow cones every night, crafts, water parks, the aquarium, zoo trips every week, and the list goes on and on. Keep in mind that a successful summer doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, or run your family ragged. The most important thing about these summer months is that your children know they are loved (this is important every day of the year), and that they get a break from the stress they feel during the school year routines. There will be other goals that you family has for summer, and that is good. BUT… Don’t let all the Pinterest pins and blog posts make you feel that you are “less than” if you stay home, run through the sprinklers in your backyard, and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches together on the front lawn. Take a few minutes to talk to you children about what summer break expectations are. Understand how to best give them the stress relief they need for the next few months and then do what is best for your family. Period.

Keep a Schedule

One of my favorite parts about summer is that our everyday schedule is not so strict. I LOVE the fact that I don’t have to have kids to school every morning at 7:45 and 8:20. I love that most of the extra curricular activities that our children participate in are taking a summer break also. I love that no one ever needs clean socks because we live in flip flops and I revel in the flexibility in our days. BUT… Keeping a schedule is still a very important part of the summer months, just like it is during the school year. Although there will be more exceptions, stick to a morning and bedtime schedule (even if bedtime is just a little later). For little ones, stick to that nap schedule as best you can. Keep meal time routines and eat dinner together.  Schedules make things predictably. When things are predictably, they provide stability and security. Children are better behaved and happier when life is stable and routines and schedules are in place. It is a proven fact. So although summer invites a more relaxed lifestyle, we can’t let that turn into laziness, or we will have a bunch of crying and whining kids on our hands. Which translates into a stressed out momma.

Decide what your schedule looks like. There are many different approaches, but here are 3 that tend to be popular. Before you choose the best approach for your family, create a “basic schedule” of how each day will run. (Wake up, breakfast, housework, lunch, play time, reading time, snack, etc… you get the picture). Then you can….

1. Write out a list of all the things you and your family want to do this summer. A bucket list of sorts. Grab a calendar and fill in the days with your bucket list ideas. Creating a summer plan and calendar filled with your ideas. Put the calendar where everyone can see it so they can follow along and know what is going to happen, and when. This will also help with the “Mom, what are we doing today” question.

2. After creating your everyday schedule, assign each day a different theme and them follow along through the summer weeks. For example…

Make it Monday (crafts, creations, creativity)

Time To Read Tuesday (library day, reading time, fun activities or projects related to books and learning)

Wet and Wild Wednesday (anything water related. could be a water activity or game, or learning about how water works)

Thoughtful Thursday (do something nice for someone else)

Fun Friday (time to have some fun)

Your categories can be anything you want. For example, it could be “Take a Trip Tuesday” instead. You could give your kids each a week to plan. Filling each day with an activity that fits the theme assigned for that day.

3. Keep a general schedule and then don’t worry about filling the days with certain things. Keep a few hours open each day and enjoy the freedom of filling your time however you want. With something, or nothing.

Limit Technology

One of the quickest ways to watch the summer slip through your fingers and spend your days with ornery and grouchy kids, is to let technology take over. Technology is a part of life and there are so many benefits to its usage, but too much will hurt us. Make it clear how much technology is allowed each day so that things don’t get out of control. Some families like to allow their kids to earn their technology by doing extra work around the house and yard. Or by doing extra things to serve and help others. However you decide to monitor your technology, be mindful of the time your kids are spending in front of it.

Happy Happy Summer!

Have a question, or just want to say hello? You can find me at FamilyVolley.com. On PinterestFacebook, and Twitter. Or send me an email. I love making new friends.



Helping Children Prepare for End of School Year Testing

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parenting-tips

Hello Idea Room readers, it’s Heather from Family Volley. With the end of the school year right around the corner, it’s time for end of the year testing. Here are a few tips for helping our kids handle test week.

1. Explain to our children why we take tests. Help them understand that tests are used to show how much we have learned. Encourage your child to do their best, but don’t put so much emphasis on them that they feel stressed. Help your child understand that they are not meant to trick or trouble your child. Only an opportunity to share what they know.

2. Practice the test format ahead of time. For example, your child might have to read a paragraph and answer questions. Using one of his text books, have him look at the questions at the end of the section first and then read the passage. That will help him know what to read for and how to find the answers. Maybe the test is going to be multiple choice. Put together a few fun multiple choice questions for your child to answer. Help them understand how you mark the correct answer and how to work through the process of elimination. This will take much stress out of test taking.

3. Limit activities the night before the tests. Most of our children’s teachers are really good about letting parents know ahead of time, when tests are going to be taken at school. But, if your child’s teachers are not sending that information home, ASK. Know when tests are going to be taken and limit the activities that your child participates in the day/night before. Avoid having guests over for dinner the night before, or even consider having your child skip their siblings sporting event if it means they are going to get home late.

4. Get a good night sleep. Although this is obvious, it is a good reminder. Sleep is one of the most important ways we can help prepare our children to take tests. And not just the night before. Sleep builds on itself, so be sure that they few days before those big tests, children are getting enough sleep and rest.

5. On test day, give them a good breakfast, full of energy. Try to include both protein and carbohydrates. So eggs, yogurt, milk and fruit, oatmeal and toast.

6. Ensure a stress free morning. The morning of a test is not the day you want to point out how slow your child is at getting ready for school, or fill the morning with stress and contention. We never want to send our kids to school that way, but on test day in-particular, steer clear of arguments and disagreements before kids head out the door. It will be hard for them to concentrate on their tests, when they are replaying arguments and trying to make sense of the disagreement you just had. It is also not the morning to have to rush. Be sure there is adequate time to get ready and get to school so no one has to rush and push.

Take a few minutes to think about ways you can make end of school year testing less stressful for your children. The extra preparation will help them get ready for the any test questions thrown their way.

Have a question, or just want to say hello? You can find me at FamilyVolley.com. On PinterestFacebook, and Twitter. Or send me an email. I love making new friends.



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