Posted by: Amy at | May 22, 2009

Summer Vacation…Fun or Stressful?

Yesterday was the last day of school for my kids.  Summer break has officially begun!  Some parents see this as great family fun time while others dread this time of the year.  How about you?  There are a few tricks that can help make this time of the year fun for all.

  • Now is a great time to make a family summer “to-do” list.  Our family makes one that is posted on the fridge and we mark things off as we do them. This list can include anything the kids want to do this summer like camping, visit Grandma, go to the library, go on a trip, have a play date with friends, swim at the pool, etc. Now along with these items, my kids always like to come up with some over the top ideas.  I think “go to Hawaii” has been on our list for the last 2 years, although I am not sure if they put it there or if I did. So we approach this list with the knowledge that not all the “to-do” items are feasible.  You can make some substitutions, for example instead of making the trip to Hawaii, you could have a little luau in your back yard.  Sounds like a close second to me!
  • Turn off the electronics!!  I have tried many methods of limiting TV and computer time during summer break.  I have found the easiest for my family has been to just have a set schedule for electronic time.  My kids get to have TV before 10 AM and after 7 PM (which is when the Disney channel movie begins).  This just keeps it simple for me.  I will occasionally make exceptions like on the night of a family WII tournament or a rainy day when they can’t play outside.
  • Make a list of things that the kids need to do before you do anything fun for the day.  I have to admit that the neighborhood pool has been a great thing for my family.  It is the carrot I dangle in front of my children everyday.  I have a list of things that the kids need to do before we go to the pool.  The list changes day to day but it usually includes these basic chores:
    • fold and put away all laundry
    • empty and load the dishwasher
    • pick up the living areas
    • pick up  bedrooms
  • Last but not least, have a plan for what you are going to do when the kids start fighting…which you know they will.  My first strategy is to remove the argument from my hearing range.  My kids don’t usually like this because they would much prefer I jump in and solve the argument, but oh well, they’ll work it out.  If this doesn’t work then I like to send the arguers to a place where they can practice working together and getting along…that place is one of the bathrooms which they will clean for me.  This always makes me smile.  It is also most effective if you do not give a warning!!

So, have a little fun this summer.  Summer is my favorite time of the year because we always have a list of fun things we want to do and…my house is always clean!! Let us know what your tricks are to make summer fun for your family? 



  1. Thanks for the tips! I especially love the strategy for “getting along practice”! Summer starts in 3 days here, and I want to be ready!!

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