With summer vacation on the horizon, I know a lot of us are wondering how we’re going to survive it. Here are a few tried and true tricks to help you and your littles survive summer vacation.
Nip Boredom in the Bud.
We don’t do bored here. In our 7 years of homeschooling, I have never once had any of my children complain of boredom or walk around kicking up dust because they can’t find anything better to do. They are all experts at entertaining themselves. They didn’t get that way because I’ve always made sure to keep them busy. It’s quite the opposite actually.
I have, in the past, loaded us up with far too many activities and made ourselves crazy making sure the kids didn’t miss anything. But, after a particularly intense year, I took a step back and asked myself what we were gaining from all of that. N-O-T-H-I-N-G! Sure, we had some fun and we learned a lot but I also nearly lost my marbles getting everyone everywhere they needed to be. Tons of crazy late nights and super early mornings….it just wasn’t worth it. And so now, we do less.
We school year round here with weeks-long breaks scattered throughout the year, so we don’t have to contend with 11 straight weeks of potential boredom but we did during our public schooling years and I remember them well. The kids would fight like crazy people from the minute they stepped off the bus at night until they went to bed….like they had some sort of quota for fighting with their siblings that had to be met every day and being separated during the school day meant that they had to make up for lost time at night. Imagine that ALL SUMMER LONG. Although, I bet you don’t have to imagine, do you? Because your kiddos do it too.
The last day of school is super short and so many parents are itching to have their kids home for the summer. I see it echoed all over social media every year. All morning parents are showing off last day of school pictures (which I do love, by the way, so keep them coming!) and sharing plans for summer and speaking of how they can’t wait to have the kids home. Before the suns sets that day, those same parents are back on social media, venting and wondering if summer is over yet.
I get it! I was there! We only did the public school thing for two years and it was enough to leave a permanent impression. So, what’s going on here?
If you have kids that are in an institution 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, almost 10 months a year (and much longer for those who have before and after school and summer care) where they are always told what to do, how to do it and where to be and when. They are given almost zero control of their surroundings for such a large chunk of their childhood that it’s no wonder that when they do have free time, they are stumped and either spend their time torturing the sibling closest to them or go running to an adult for help with those dreaded words, ” I’m BOOORED!”
So, now that summer is upon us, how can you help them (and yourself) cope? If you have a child who struggles to entertain themselves, like so many do, what do you do?
Give them nothing to do.
Let them be bored. Let them be bored for extended periods of time. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s actually very good for them. You see things in such a different light when you take the time to really look at it instead of whizzing so frantically by. The first time they come to you with their cries of boredom, offer them their least favorite chore as the only thing to do besides entertaining themselves and demand that they do it. Only ever offer that chore as a response to their boredom cries. That should stop that train right in its tracks.
Give unschooling a try.
But unschooling is so RADICAL! Ok, it’s really not. It only sounds crazy. Trust me. Unschooling is simply child-led learning. It’s the opposite of what typically schooled kids are used to and if you’ve got the whole summer at your disposal, why not? If the kids want to dig a hole in the yard, and bring you a bowl full of grubs and worms, help them identify them. Tell them to give google a workout. Enlist Siri to help. Pop in and encourage them when you can but be sure to give them the tools to go exploring on their own.
Go on an Adventure.
Tired of the boredom? Unschooling not doing it for you? GO ON AN ADVENTURE! There are so many amazing things you can get into with almost zero out of pocket cost, right in your own backyard. Go for a swim at a nearby state park. Wander one of the amazing museums or take on a hiking trail at a national park near you. Hunt down a nice playground and let the kids rip. Go for a bike ride. Pop into your local library and see what amazing goodness they’re offering this summer. Many places even offer FREE summer camps that you can get your kids involved with. There are so many more great things out there to get into than you’ll have time to accomplish, so just pick one and go enjoy yourselves.
If all of that fails, turn on the boob tube for the kiddos, kick back with your favorite tasty drink and relax. It is summertime after all.
What tricks are you using to survive your summer?
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