Since I homeschooled, my children were used to being home every day. And yet, when summertime came, they too experienced the lack of direction that traditional school children do.
What’s a mom to do when her kids have no direction and no motivation to do anything with all of their free time?
If we’re not purposeful, summer will cause not only lethargy, but also a slip in the academics that they worked so hard on throughout the school year.
One option is to use this time to sign them up for extracurricular activities, which is great. A break from school means the whole family now has more time to focus on lessons, practices, and even competitions.
But if we aren’t signing them for continual camps, classes, and leagues, we risk leaving our kids to their own devices; which often means countless hours on computer, social media, television, and the like.
I’ve written before about my opinion of children coming to mom saying, “I’m bored.” Before your children even have a chance to get bored, here are a few things you can do to get your summer off to a great start:
- Boundaries. I am a firm believer in boundaries for children. As far as summertime goes, I want to stress that there should be boundaries on technology. Rather than allowing endless hours of tv watching, gaming, and computer time, start the summer by having a boundary on these activities. One of the best decisions we made when the children were young—during summer as well as during the school year—was to keep the tv off during the week until 4pm on Fridays. What’s interesting about this is that once they got used to the rule, no one ever asked to watch a show during the week. They knew it wasn’t an option, so they found something else to do instead.
Brainstorm. Before your summer gets off on the wrong foot, take time to set some goals with your children. What would they like to learn more about? What places might they like to visit—for day trips or even vacations? What skill would they like to get better at? Is there a new hobby they’d like to take up this summer? What type of books are they interested in reading? These questions should be asked of each one of your children and lists made. Mom will definitely have to pick their brains and give some ideas, but allow them to make the choices.
Schedule. Once you have your children’s lists, determine a way that you can incorporate their desires into your summer. Start out by having a regular routine for the day. Breakfast and daily chores, as well as some time where they can each work on their chosen hobby or skill. Schedule in some time each day for reading as well. Then schedule in time each week where you’ll explore or visit the places that are on the children’s lists.
If given no direction or goals for the summer, your children may drop back into lazy habits and most likely cause more of a drain on you than usual. In contrast, with a little planning, your children can keep busy, learn, and have a much more enjoyable summer than you ever imagined. And you will as well!
Question: How do you keep your kids directed during summer? Share your answer in the comments below.