The school year is winding down, and while I’ll enjoy a reprieve from my daily pre-dawn alarms, I do have some anxiety about what to do with my kids until August rolls back around. If Christmas break was any indicator, I will have my hands full for the next two and half months with breaking up fights over the television and/or toys and the disappearance of their ability to entertain themselves.
So rather than be reactive, I’m going to be proactive and have a plan in place to maintain harmony in my household this summer.
1. Keep a Routine to Keep the Peace
During the school year, my daughter is home with me and her nana (my mom), and has full run of the playroom while my son is at school. At school, my son appreciates a reliable routine so much that he sometimes reminds the teacher/teacher assistants when they get off track. After school, they’re so busy playing with each other that don’t have time to fuss. However, on weekends and school breaks, breaking up squabbles feels like a part-time job.
Admittedly, I get a claustrophobic feeling when I hear the word routine, but I do have habits and ways of doing things that are easy to follow. Knowing what comes next after breakfast, coming in from playing outside, and so on will help provide the stability a scheduled routine provides. Timers are also a handing tool in keeping peace and structure. They serve as an easy-to-follow transition between activities especially when the kids are taking turns with the television or a toy.
2. Stay Cool At Home
As far as things to do at home, I stay prepared with big refill bottles of bubble solution, boxes of sidewalk chalk, flashcards, and stacks of scratch paper for scribbling. Now that I can trust both of my little ones not to put everything in their mouths, I think I’m going to reintroduce clay dough and finger paints into their summer activities. Because they’ve both inherited my husband’s love of video games, namely his Switch, I’m also looking into checking out the Playaway Launchpads at Richland Library so that they can incorporate some learning into their play.
While summer vacation is, well, a vacation, it is also a chance for kids to grow into new responsibilities around the house. It amazes me the amount of mess that occurs during the summer with both kids hanging around the house. To make it easier on myself and teach my kids necessary household skills, I’m going to incorporate age-appropriate household chores to help stave off summer boredom. Bonus: my kids tend to find ways to occupy themselves more easily when their playroom is clutter-free.
3. Go Out and About
My first go-to for summer activities outside of the home is the library. Summer brings reading challenges and events for children of all ages ranging from story times to STEAM workshops to special interest events; all at no cost.
If my budget permits, I’m also adding the following to my summer vacation plan:
- Camp registration– My daughter is finally old enough to start enrolling in camps. She’s creative and growing into a bit of a social butterfly so she could benefit from a few hours of the day away from home.
- Going to the movies – Regal Cinemas’ Summer Movie Express offers $2 family movies. My kids and I aren’t big on loud sounds so we may end up checking out one of their sensory-friendly matinee showings instead.
- Cool off at a Splash Pad – My kids can spend hours playing outside, but the summer heat sends them back in the house sooner than they would like. Going to a splash pad will give them the chance to enjoy the outdoors without overheating.
I think my summer vacation survival plan is off to a good start. There is so much to do in and around Columbia to not only keep your kids busy but to enjoy the summer season together.
Stars and Stripes has kids bowl free for the summer. Just pay for the shoe rentals and bowl 2 free games. Hi wire has early morning jumping for kids under 6. Orangeburg has a YMCA water park. Greenville has a very nice children’s museum. Roller skating would also be a nice outing.
Those are all great ideas. My son went on a field trip to the bowling alley this year and loved it. That’s another thing we can do this summer. Thanks!