Summer Survival - it is all in the planning
By Anisa Lewis - Parenting Success
I am a planner, always have been always will be, I love nothing more than a big wonderful plan or even a smaller one. I am not known for my ‘go with the flow-ness’ although I am working on it!
I tell you this only to put the Summer holidays into context. I plan the Summer, I have been known to cram too much in, to spend too much money on experiences that have only ended in tears and to make too many ‘executive’ decisions (Well, I am the CEO of my Family, surely that makes me important enough to make an executive type decision!).
Anyway, after many Summers where things have not gone to plan where the holiday ended and I needed another break to recover. I did a great deal of soul searching and headed to one of my favourite places Pinterest to see what other Mamas out there are doing. At this point I would like to add that I did not beat myself up over failed experiences, I used what had gone in the past as a life experience to learn from, move on from and not to compare myself to others.
If you have not experienced Pinterest, it is an online pin board, where you can collect your ideas, articles, interesting pictures or projects to save for a later date. I can certainly recommend it for busy parents wanting some ideas but do not have the time to put the thought in, go to Pinterest, someone will have done the thinking for you, collected it and pinned it to a board for you to peruse and benefit from. If I could give Pinterest a high five I would, it has inspired me and saved my bacon on numerous occasions.
What I took from my ‘research’, is that planning is important, but so is the voice of your children and your partner, step-parent, aunts, uncles, friends or grandparents the adult to which you parent with (pick the one that fits). If you solo parent, I salute you, you are a hero in every sense of the word. Important here is that you are giving everyone a voice to be heard but you do not have to agree with them but listening to understand is key.
Summer Bucket Lists transformed our Summers! I can hear you saying, do you not create a ‘bucket list’ of the things you want to do before you die? Well, yes, there is this aspect but essential it is the creation of something you want to achieve in a certain time frame and in this case it is a Summer. You can call them under a different name, an Adventure List, or Summer Experiences. Essentially they are a collective brainstorm of all the things you would like to do during the Summer. It is not asking you to put them in the diary but rather call a Family meeting, discuss it over dinner and make a list. ANYTHING can go onto the list, you can then cull it or just not do an activity if the situation or time do not allow for it. You can add to the list, things you already have planned in: friends visiting, camping, or an overseas holiday. It is good to think of things that are low cost to no cost, outside, inside, wet weather etc. so you can work out week on week (or even change plans on the day due to the weather) what is do-able for you and your family.
To help you out and to get your creative juices following, here are a few I have thought of:
• Teach your child to cook a meal
• Bake together
• Blow bubbles
• Photograph your Summer
• Conduct science experiments
• Plant something
• Learn to use a ‘real’ camera
• Listen to audio books
• Make video messages and send to family and friends
• Pick fruit
• Write letters and postcards
• Climb a hill
• Paddle in a stream
• Make and gift cookies to a friend or neighbour
• Family walks
• Paddle in a stream
• Run bare foot on grass
• Pyjama day
• Board games
• Catch bugs and mini-beasts
• Make potions
• Visit a museum
• Fly a kite
• Learn a magic trick
• Sewing project
• Reading book challenge – how many can you read (or chapters competed over the Summer?
• Be bored
You can display these creatively or just on a piece of paper on the fridge, cross the activities off as you have achieved them so at the end of the holidays you can look back and realise you have done so much.
What I also want to add is that it is not your job to always need to entertain your child(ren), boredom is a wonderful gift. If your child comes to you and says ‘I am bored’ then you make some suggestions, you are not allowing your son or daughter to problem solve, to think creatively or to simply not do anything. Permit and give space to your children to be bored this Summer, permit them to problem solve and to possibly get it wrong, learning from our mistakes is an important life lesson.
Here is to a summer of memory making, laughter and learning.
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