Summer break is officially here for our family! I’ll be working from home with the support of two amazing nannies, who will help us all have a fantastic summer. As I think about what lies ahead, from vacations and camps to family time on our back deck, one thing is certain: I want it to be a sweet summer!
Take an intentional approach.
I’m of the belief that if you want your summer to be a great one, now is the time to intentionally set yourself up for success. Make it a self fulfilling prophecy!
Over the past week I spent time prepping to have two active kids home, while I work from home. Of course the nannies will be primary while I slip into a secondary role during the workday. However, I’m still a thinking partner in how everyone can have fun and meaningful experiences.
While I know not all my readers have young kids and simultaneously work from home, I hope that these ideas and my approach can be applicable across a variety of seasons and life experiences! So here you have it – my game plan for an intentionally sweet summertime!
One thing that I’ve done this year is come up with a list of “Big Ideas” that my kids can choose from and run wild with. They are activities that are fun and should captivate their imagination, encourage them to think deeply, and occupy their time for a while. This is going to be my first line of defense against the “I’m bored” problem my kids seem to experience from time to time.
The idea I’m most excited about is to cover the floor in white paper (the kind that comes on rolls) and create a matchbox car world. Roads, trees, houses – a whole community! Once their world is created, they can get busy playing with all their cars. I have a sneaky suspicion little figurines will find their way into the fun, too.
I’ve also suggested they make puppets from paper bags and put on a show. This was the first idea they latched onto! I already had a front row seat to 1 production from my puppeteers.
The bottom line goal of this list is to be a thinking partner in the fun without over structuring it. Essentially, provide them with a creative prompt that allows their minds to wonder and wander and take it from there.
What are some big ideas you can brainstorm for your summer? How can you proactively ward off the “I’m bored” problem and create an opportunity for wonder?
I spent hours – literally hours – cleaning, organizing and purging the playroom and craft closet. It is amazing how quickly all the little things accumulate and how cluttered things become! Once I got rid of trash and donated items, I took inventory on the craft supplies we’d need to have the basics on hand. I then made a quick run to the store to fill in the gaps.
For example, I like to keep different types of paper on hand for the different mediums they may want to use. From thick paper for watercolors, to traditional colorful construction paper, and also large white poster board – we are all set!
I also buy picnic style tablecloths (vinyl) that I use as a drop cloth for anything messy. I cut up the table cloth so it fits the kids’ table and as a result, I don’t sweat it when they want to paint or get the PlayDoh out. They know the expectation is to grab the tablecloth if they are in a messy mood.
Another one of my tricks is keeping a well stocked “Tinker Kit.” It is a big oversized tub of recyclables like paper towel rolls, boxes, plastic containers, rope, and so much more! I’ll give the kids rolls of tape (and hot glue if I’m nearby) and allow them to tinker and create inventions. I love watching what they come up with! Little by little I fill and refresh this tub, which means there is always something new to explore. When they are done tinkering everything gets dumped back into the tub, making it a mess free activity.
What are some of your summertime basics you can keep on hand so fun is just an arms length away? If you aren’t in “little kid” season maybe you need fuel for your fire pit or marshmallows so a s’more can be a spontaneous possibility.
Lastly, all the activities and supplies should come together with clear expectations for everyone! Having our kids at home, while I’m working from home, is going to be an adjustment.
We’ve talked about a general schedule, their responsibility for cleaning up and keeping the house tidy, and also rules around screen time. I know that we all have to be aligned from the beginning or things will quickly spiral. I also know that in order to keep us all in a “sweet” place this summer, we need boundaries. I’m a firm believer that establishing boundaries is a sign of love!
How can you also put boundaries in place so that you have the expectations in place to make your summertime sweet? How will summertime chores be distributed? What rules need to be established so everyone in your home feels honored, valued, and cared for?
No matter what type of dynamic you have at home – little kids, an empty nest, or something in between – set yourself up for a sweet summertime! Brainstorm your own Big Ideas. Get some Summertime basics on hand. And, don’t forget the value of establishing boundaries and expectations that will set everyone up for success! Now, go light up that fire pit, roast a marshmallow and enjoy your sweetest summertime yet!