Ahh…the days are getting warmer here in Vermont.
We have once again made it through the winter, and mud season, which, at times, can be rugged and unenviable. We see leaves on the trees and want to stay up later and enjoy the daylight. Our kids feel it, too. It becomes harder to enforce the bedtime, when it is still light out at 8 p.m. When the weather is so inviting, it makes it tricky trying to keep the routine of the school year. At least that is the case in my house. My kids are all in school for another week but I can tell that they are already envisioning their summer freedom. We had our first fire outside the other night, with s’mores, and you can bet that they would like that to be a frequent occurrence. It is sometimes hard for them to understand why they can’t stay up late every night or why they need to be in bed before dark. For the sake of everyone involved, the routine is still important.
And then, in the famous words of Alice Cooper: SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER
I find that the transition from school days to summer days at home can be a tough one. My girls have been accustomed to being with friends and engaged in classwork for over 9 months and when they are suddenly thrust together to spend every day, all day with one another, they have a tendency to argue more than usual and cannot seem to get in sync. These are some of the things that I find helpful in the first few days and weeks after school is out.
- Make a Plan to Do Something Fun. Don’t we all want to have things to look forward to? I usually try to bring my kids to a State Park or a pool during the first week of them being home. It’s an adventure we haven’t been on since last summer & there is always something for everyone to do. Of course, being in the sun and swimming always makes them super hungry so I pack up my picnic basket with whatever I have in the pantry and away we go! Some of our favorite picnic items are cheese sticks, grapes or cherries, pretzels, carrots & hummus, and peanut butter & honey sandwiches. I have gotten into the habit of just bringing the whole loaf of bread with me, along with a knife and a cutting board. I make the sandwiches up as the kids play. It makes for a speedier escape to start the day.
- Set Expectations Early. I find it helpful to have a list of chores that need to be done everyday. I have older children so while their jobs range from feeding the dogs and mucking the horse stalls to vacuuming the family room or cleaning a toilet, even younger ones can help put their toys away and carry their laundry to the washing machine. It all adds up and not only is it helpful for us, it gives them a good feeling, too!
- Outside Equals Peace. I try to spend as much time outdoors with the girls as I can when the weather cooperates. I’m not sure why it is, but they tend to get along better when they are making creative messes outside, as opposed to in. I’ll take it.
- CAMPS to the Rescue! My kids participate in day camps for at least one week each summer. There are so many wonderful places for them to try new things and make new friends in Vermont. Be it pony camp, pottery, theater, field hockey, nature, etc, the possibilities are endless and there is tired, happy camper just waiting to go back the next day.