Summer break is quickly coming upon me. I used to love summer break and not just when I was a kid. When I worked 2nd shift summer break meant I got to see my kids during the daytime and that there was a good chance they would still be awake when I got home. When I left my job and became a stay at home mom, summer break meant that the precious 7 hours I had in the daytime was now overrun with children. Funny shift of perspective, huh?
Whether you have one child or 10, summer break brings up all those good old questions of how to manage your kids for the summer. Do you let them sleep all day and play video games all night? Do you enroll them in various summer activities to get them out of the house? Do you stay in your bedroom with a hidden stash of snack cakes that would otherwise be decimated?
We went to summer camp when I was little and that old standby, vacation bible school. Being raised Catholic and going to a Baptist bible school was like visiting a strange and exotic land. They were loud, their songs were catchy and they fed us lunch. It was amazing. Summer camp was not the same as the movies. There were no horseback rides, no canoe trips, no sneaking over to the boy’s camp and ensuing hijinks. My parents sent me and my sister to a summer camp that lasted 3 days and involved learning to sing Little Bunny Foo Foo while sleeping in WWII era army surplus canvas tents. It was not so awesome. Also, we came home one year with lice. That was exciting.
I have found a combination of things to help me not go completely insane over summer break. #6 goes to vacation bible school at a local church that she loves. She sang Amazing Grapes last year. She really did, it was “Amazing grapes, how sweet thou are.” Can’t argue with her on that one. (Note to self: should probably take my children to church more often as #6 was also confused about Easter and thought that Jesus was a Zombie.) There are summer programs that my town park puts on. They are not expensive but only available to school age kids so this will be the first year that #6 gets to go. They last a week and teach them arts & crafts and go on a field trip. If they served wine, they would be overrun by summer moms!
The other trick is to keep them occupied. Yard work helps with the older ones. Going swimming in the grandparent’s pool is another. We have a huge garden this year and all the kids will be helping with it. #4 & #5 have a summer gig helping with a mowing business ran by our mailman. They enjoy earning some money and it gets them out of the house.
I will bitch that the kids sleep in too much and my hubby will complain about the boys staying up too late. I will enjoy the summer break of sleeping in (at least till 8 am) with no rush to get ready for school. I will juggle trying to carve out time to do schoolwork and teach the kids the value of hanging clothes out on a line. I am going to try and make this a more stress free summer and base it more on what summers were like when I was a kid. Wish me luck.