Sunday, April 10, 2011

Summer is coming....

It doesn't seem like it today, that's for sure.  It's cold and it's windy, there was a dusting of snow on the ground this morning.  Soon enough, though, it will be summertime.

Ahhh, summertime.

Three solid months of kids whining about being bored. 

I know I don't look forward to summer as a mom like I did when I was a kid.

The solution to whining = keeping them busy.

We are fortunate to live in a city with a fairly comprehensive recreation program.  The classes, for the most part, are affordable.  Except, of course, for the things that my kids are the most interested in.

Other places you should check for summer activities are your YMCA, boy and girl scout councils, museums and school districts.  There are also several private businesses in town that offer special packages for the summer for martial arts, arts and crafts, dance and gymnastics. 

Start looking early and keep an eye on the registration deadlines.

I've learned to register for the most popular activities far in advance as they fill up early.  The girl scout camps are almost all full as of this morning, and it's not even the middle of April.

Having four kids makes scheduling activities tricky, and I spend at least a few mornings a week shuttling kids to and from different places.   I keep a few things in the car at all times as a result.  I have a blanket with a waterproof layer that folds and zips into a pouch, hats, sunscreen and clean towels in the car at all times.  Every morning before we leave, I fill up all the water bottles and pack a bag of snacks.  Long days, I make sandwiches and throw them in a cooler. 

One thing that seems to get overlooked easily when summertime planning starts is this: schedule downtime.  More of it than you think you will need, because your weeks will continue to fill up with activities as the summer progresses. 

Just as important as keeping the kids busy is giving them free time.  Unscheduled trips to the pool, spontaneous afternoons at the park, spur of the moment play dates, water fights in the backyard, days to sit around in your pajamas and watch cartoons.  Allow time for those too.

Summer is supposed to be fun, after all.

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