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During the school year, our blended family is kind of all over the place. Kids here and there, to and from, this event, that practice, and we are always on the go. We all look forward to summer because we get to relax, at least a little bit. In a blended family, you can never truly relax as kids are constantly coming and going, but summer does provide a slight respite. However, that does mean five children to entertain and occupy. There a few things in parenting life than make me cringe more than the dreaded I’m bored.
That is why I begin planning our summer break a month beforehand to ensure we have plenty to do, stay engaged, and encourage family bonding, which in a blended family, is of highest importance. Our children range in ages from twelve all the way down to three, so when planning our summer days, I have to get creative and ensure everyone will enjoy the activities. In addition to daily activities, I also plan weekly events like game night, movie night, and a weekly hike. Our movie nights are kind of a big deal. We have a movie theater popcorn machine that we pull out, I buy themed snacks (Nacho Libre last year was an adventure in Mexican candy tasting!), and we typically create a craft that afternoon to get us pumped up about watching the movie. That gives me almost an entire day once a week that’s covered with activity.
I create a schedule each summer that we try to stick to. It allow for freedom on days like movie night or when we venture out for a hike or to Grandma Ginger’s house for a pool dip, but it’s also structured enough to make sure the kids always have something to do. This is the key to my summer sanity and keeping the I’m bored’s away, ha! We used a similar schedule last year and whenever a child was bored or wondering what to do, they referred to the board which is hung with magnets on our fridge.
To create your own summer schedule for your children, all you need are a few affordable supplies. Using chalk markers simply create a schedule that works best for your family. For us, reading and outside play are important so I emphasized those two things a few times throughout their day. I also have quiet bins (filled with quiet activities like coloring books, paints, etc) made up for each day of the week (which I’ll share soon) and they have the option to use those once a day as well. Our children also each have a chore chart that they must complete each day. As a large family, we create big messes and we require help from everyone to keep our home clean and tidy (not to say there aren’t days where it looks like a toy box puked all over the place), but giving them chores gives them some responsibility over the house and let’s be honest, takes a little of my plate each day.
Another thing I’ve found keeps everyone happy during the summer is a daily activity. It doesn’t have to be some extravagant event each day, some days it’s just a dance party. But I try to plan something fun for each day like making play dough together or playing with water balloons (I’ll be sharing our activities list soon, too!).
Keeping my kiddos engaged and happy throughout the summer is no easy task, but this summer schedule has helped us keep some structure while out of school. Mostly it helps keep me feeling like I have control over the chaos of having everyone home at once, ha!