Summer Vacation is Coming – Are You Ready?
We recently met a new client here at All American Self Storage in Redwood City, CA. She brought in boxes of toys that she’d organized and purged, preparing for the end of the school year. With her permission, we’re sharing a few of her ideas to keep summer vacation manageable.
There are two types of families, those who love to explore and play through summer break and those who count the days until back to school. Most of us are somewhere in that gray area of enjoying the time, but some days when the, “I’m bored hits,” Mom or Dad does a quick mental math countdown until the first day of school.
Banish the boredom
The secret for many is to prepare for summer by rotating toys, movies, games, etc. Putting these things away for a month or so ahead of time gives them a fresh approach when you reintroduce them. One way to do so is to purchase a reusable gift bag or tote bag for each of your children. Each day pull an “old” toy, movie, video game, book, and leave it as a “gift” and retire another. When your children awaken, they will have the novelty of something new to do or play with. You can occasionally put bubbles, sidewalk chalk, etc. into the bag to mix it up.
Plan, prepare, and teach consequences
To maximize savings on summer activities, search for discount movies for kids, library activities, rec center classes, free or discounted days at the museum, etc. For those days, put a small card (an index card works well) into each child’s bag. List the chores expected for the day onto these cards with the expected activity and time that all must be completed in order to go to the event.
If David is to take the dog for a walk and take out the trash, these must be complete before you leave to go to the library’s fun class, etc. Hold to it and encourage, sometimes your kids will miss this mark. When this happens, don’t make it punitive; this is simply a consequence for not completing that which you asked them to do. If your child refuses to complete their chores, etc., simply state, “I’m really sorry that we’re not going to be able to go. Maybe next time we’ll make it.”
When you have siblings in this situation, you can take those who completed their task, let them help one another, or bargain. In our family, we have a rule about bargaining that only allows for a set number of trades, etc., and the “slacker” can only receive help twice. You can also arrange for a sitter for the child who did not complete the activity.
Consistency for the win!
How did that go again? Consistency for the win. Even though it’s nice to not be in a rush, you and your child will benefit from having a predictable routine, albeit a looser one. You can select a single day that is PJ day, another which is park day, etc. Kids thrive within a consistent schedule and going from school where each minute is accounted for to summer break when there is little/no schedule can create misbehavior, boredom, and acting out.
We’re going to take her advice to heart and try it a bit this summer. If you do as well, stop in and tell us how it went at All American Self Storage in Redwood City.