SUMMER IS HERE!
How do you feel about summer vacation? Some of you may be looking forward to lazy days, fun trips to the beach, and more family time. But others of you may be dreading the impending battles over screen time, sibling rivalry and late bedtimes. In this episode of Redeeming the Chaos, I will share with you 9 practical tips to help you survive the summer with a household of boys.
Welcome to Episode 25 of Redeeming the Chaos with Laurie Christine.
You can listen to the episode here:
HOW TO SURVIVE THE SUMMER WITH A HOUSE FULL OF BOYS
So, are you looking forward to summer with your boys or are you dreading it? (It’s okay to admit it!) For me, I think it’s a combination of both dread and anticipation. I’m definitely looking forward to some lazy mornings, pancake breakfasts, neighborhood picnics and family vacations to the beach and mountains. But also, the thought of having all four boys home every day overwhelms me a bit.
So, I have come up with 9 practical things that you can do this summer that will help you to stay sane and minimize the chaos in your home.
HOW TO MINIMIZE CHAOS IN YOUR HOME THIS SUMMER
- Have a plan
My husband and I sat down to discuss a schedule for our boys this summer. Granted, we’ll be out of town quite a bit, but on the days we’re at home, we want to have some semblance of normalcy in our household.
What types of things should you include in your daily / weekly schedule? This will look different for every household, but here’s what we did:
- 8:00-8:30 – Morning chores
- 8:30 – 10:00 – TV time. No TV no until all brothers are awake.
- 10:00-10:15 – Family Devotions. I’m going to try having our family Bible time in the morning over the summer months, rather than before bed. During the school year we’ve always had family Bible time in the evening, but in the summer with longer, lighter days, bedtime is already going to be more difficult.
- Video games will only take place 2 days a week.
- Reading is an essential part of our summer vacation schedule – both reading independently, if your kids are old enough, as well as family reading time. (More on that in a minute!)
Other things to consider adding to your daily schedule might be: outside time, quiet time, reading time, practice musical instrument, etc. Obviously each family’s schedule will look different, but there is comfort for your kids in knowing what to expect and what is expected of them.
- Put them to work
When kids are given responsibilities in your household, they will feel like they play a valuable role in your family. Plus, chores teach kids the value of hard work, the value of getting a reward for their work (money or tickets or whatever), and YOU get some help around the house! It’s a win for everyone.
We have a chore chart system where the boys can earn tickets and money for completing certain chores. Depending on the age of your children, you can decide which chores are appropriate for them. Some of our chores include unloading the dishwasher, feeding the dog, doing a load of laundry, putting laundry away, practicing the piano, and reading.
Speaking of reading…
- READ with your kids!
Make reading a priority in your house this summer. In our family, we incorporate reading into our daily “chore” chart – so they are actually earning “tickets” for reading. For my younger two (5 and 6 year olds) I still have to do most of the reading for them. But my older two are able to read independently.
In addition to independent reading time, we always read together as a family in the evenings. We usually have several family books we’re reading at any given time.
Right now I’m reading the 4th Harry Potter book with my 9 and 10 year olds. With my younger two, I alternate between Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Magic Tree House, and picture books.
I’ve found the summer reading programs at your local library are very motivating for kids as well. My local library has a whole pile of rewards (tickets for an amusement park and coupons for local businesses) that my kids look forward to every summer. If your local library doesn’t have a reading incentive program, try making one up for your family! Maybe if everyone reads for a certain number of minutes throughout the summer, you all go on a family trip to a local amusement park, or a day trip to the beach, or whatever you decide would be a good fit for your kids.
If you’re looking for a list of fun summer books to read with your preschoolers and early elementary kids, check out my FAVORITE SUMMER BOOKS FOR KIDS.
- Go on Dates
Make it a goal to go on a date with each of your kids individually this summer. (Maybe even multiple times). It doesn’t have to be a whole day event or even an expensive event. Take your son out for a smoothie or a slushie, then go play at a local playground for 30 minutes, or go for a walk on a hiking trail.
This is a great opportunity to spend individual time with each of your boys. I know for my kids, they tend to start misbehaving much more frequently when I haven’t been able to spend individual time with them.
For boys especially, they may not be very willing to open up their hearts to you and tell you everything going on in their lives over a slushie, but you may find they will start chattering away if you’re hiking through the woods side by side, or working on a project together.
In addition to dates with your kids, it’s super important to go on dates with your husband as well! We often get so focused on our kids and their needs, that we neglect our relationship with our husbands. One of the best things you can do for your kids is to have a strong relationship with your husband.
So, get a babysitter! Ask Grandma to come over for an evening or a Saturday morning. Be creative and trade babysitting with another family with similar age kids as yours.
- Character Development
I am super excited to tell you about a new resource I have for you! I am creating a Summer Family Fruit Challenge for you and your kids this summer. There are 8 other Christian authors, bloggers and podcasters from around the country who are all contributing.
There will be 10 weeks of lessons that will each focus on one of the fruits of the Spirit. Each week will include a short devotional, printable memory verse cards, fun family activities, and links to songs. The goal is to focus on one character quality each week and encourage your kids whenever you see them demonstrating that character trait!
You can learn more about this fun character challenge at www.FamilyFruitChallenge.com.
The first blog post will post on June 14th and then there will be a new post every Monday morning through the middle of August.
When you sign up, you’ll receive a notification each week when a new lesson is ready to go. Later in the summer, there will also be an option to download an ebook with all the devotions in one place.
And the best part is, it’s all totally free! No payment or commitment required.
Go to www.FamilyFruitChallenge.com to learn more and to sign up for reminders.
- Bible Memory
Do you memorize scripture with your kids? Summer is a great time to re-introduce scripture memorization with your kids.
My kids are super incentivized to memorize bible passages if there is some sort of reward involved. Maybe plan a family ice cream party once everyone is able to recite the Bible passage.
If you’re not sure where to start, I have a blog post on how and why to memorize scripture with your kids.
- Say Yes
Do you find yourself constantly redirecting your kids and saying, “No, don’t do that, put that down, stop that, don’t, don’t don’t.” I want to make it one of my goals this summer to say yes more than I say no! Personally this is difficult for me, because saying “yes” often means more chaos, more noise and more messes to clean up.
Granted, I don’t mean saying yes to all the screen time and candy that your boys ask for. But when your son says, “Mommy, I want to play a game with you,” it’s okay to stop what you’re doing and say “Yes, I’d love to.”
When your son wants to get out all the craft supplies and build an elaborate rocket ship, tell him, “Sure, why not!”… despite the mess that will ensue.
When your boys want to bake cookies and sell them to the neighbors, encourage them for their entrepreneurial spirit and help them set up a table in the front yard.
When your boys want to sell painted rocks to the neighbors, compliment them on their creativity and determination.
When your kids want to stay up late to catch fireflies, even when you’ve had a hard day, join them in their pursuit.
When your boys want to run out into the pouring rain and splash in the puddles, put on your rain boots and go join them, momma!
Will you join me and make this the summer of “yes”?
- Be Flexible
It’s almost a guarantee that things will not go as you planned this summer. Believe me, I know. I tend to have ideal expectations of a relaxing, family vacation with no fights and everyone getting along. But it’s inevitable that I will be disappointed. If we expect ahead of time that there will be hiccups, we can prepare our hearts beforehand. Begin asking God now to fill your heart with peace and to help you not get agitated when things don’t work out exactly as planned.
- Celebrate milestones
This may not apply to every family, every year, but think about what milestones your kids have reached this summer and be intentional about celebrating! Has your son finished pre-school and is heading off to Kindergarten? Take him out for ice cream! Has your son finished elementary school and will be heading to an intermediate school or middle school next year? Do an adventure day with Dad to celebrate this transition in his life.
This summer my oldest son has finished 4th grade and will be going to the 5th-6th intermediate school in the fall. In order to celebrate this next step in becoming a man, my husband is going to take him to do a ropes course, just the two of them.
I hope that these 9 tips will help you survive the summer with your household of boys!
Don’t forget to sign up for the Summer Family Fruit Challenge!
Also, I would love to invite you to join me in our Facebook group. It’s called “Raising Courageous Boys,” and it’s a place for Christian boy moms to connect and encourage each other on this wild, wonderful, chaotic adventure of raising boys.