It’s officially summer and Michigan seems to be finally warming up. Kids who complained it was too cold the other day are now complaining it’s too hot. Kids who were recently complaining about being in school are now complaining they are bored. Every family handles summer schedules differently, but it seems like every family has the issue of summer complaints and “being bored.” After giving it a try – many families now swear by the “what can I do? CAN” solution. All you need is a can and some paper. On each piece of paper write down an activity, such as: read a book, ride your bike, go for a walk, draw a picture, write a letter to someone, have a lemonade stand, take pictures, feed birds… Any time a kid asks “What can I do?” hand them the can.
In our LAST BLOG we talked about doing chores throughout the summer… Possibly the can, can be used to get chores done around the house. If your kid complains of boredom they can pull out a chore to do, like: pick up toys, take out trash, water flowers, clean the car, make beds, do laundry, vacuum/dust, pick up bathroom, wash dishes, feed pets, help make the next meal…
Many homes admit that summer schedules don’t include their usual family dinner plan. There are many excuses, but one that fits many homes is that it’s hot and no one wants to cook – much less eat a heavy home cooked meal. But sitting down to a family dinner is very important to keep (or add) in your schedule. Just as we’ve discussed the importance of chores – family meals – and kids cooking is vital to strengthening the family unit and teaching your children life skills. Did you know there’s a link between doing chores and eating family meals = better behaviors, higher grades in school, less likely to use drugs, etc… Seriously.
Here is a helpful printable for groceries and meal planning (Shopping List). Have your kids help you prepare your next weeks meal plan – then help you shop for it. Teach them the work that goes into feeding the family and the cost. Even lil’ ones can help you locate items in the store and count out pennies. Consider giving your kids an allowance (it doesn’t have to be much) and having them take their earnings on the shopping trip so they learn how far their pennies do and don’t go. Do they have enough to buy the special treat they want or do they need to work harder to buy it next week? Do they want a special meal? Maybe they should research what ingredients they need. Have them help cook meals. Cooking meals equips kids for healthier eating, encourages independence and responsibility, teaches reading and math (measurement and volume), science and chemistry… even cultural studies. Consider introducing dishes from around the world. Maybe one family member picks a country to learn about, another picks a food from the area to try, another picks a cultural craft from that region… It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not difficult, your kids will love it and it will keep their brains from melting during their summer schedules.
Since summer schedules tend to be more flexible try a schedule that has an easy routine that can be modified. Using a chart such as the one above allows kids to know what’s expected from their day and you’ll have less transitional tantrums. Consider how the summer has gone thus far – maybe it’s been great – but you need to figure out how to include chores, meals, activities, or time to relax – try using a schedule and let Mi Families know how it’s going. Ask us questions for suggestions. Check out our Pinterest page for ideas… If you are near the TC area you can grab more ideas and resources for summer activities at our Mini-Camps!