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How to Stay Organized with Your Kids at Home for the Summer

You do your best to have your life run like clockwork.  Sure, things don’t always go as planned, but you have a schedule and rhythm about your home that makes things fall into place . . . usually.  But when the kids get out of school for the summer, the schedule and rhythm of your home are thrown into anarchy.  How can you restore order and provide the structure that your kids need and the peace that you need?

1. Have a scheduled wake and bedtime even during the summer. Yes, the kids can sleep late and stay up late as compared to their school year schedule, but setting a wake time of, say, 9 a.m. and a bedtime of perhaps 9:30 p.m. is advisable.

2. Limit access to refined sugar and processed foods. It may be tempting to serve kids ice cream treats, lemonade, soda pop, and fast foods when summer temperatures soar and life gets hectic. Instead, have lots of fresh fruits in your home as strawberries, watermelon, cherries, etc. provide an excellent substitute for sugary snacks. For quick meals, instead of running for fast food, how about a bagel sandwich (with roast beef, Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes), along with side dishes of fruits and veggies, served as a picnic in your backyard? It’s quick and easy to prepare for, and clean up is a breeze as well. Plus, it’s healthy.

3. Increase your kids’ household responsibilities when school is not in session. When they’re in school, they may be able to absorb only one or two chores per week, but when school is not in session, perhaps they have the time for four chores per week. By giving them something productive to do with their time, they can continue to experience the value of constructive activity, and you can reduce your workload. Common summer chores for kids include: vacuuming, dusting, watering the flowers and other decorative vegetation in the yard, weeding the veggie garden, and mowing the lawn. (Side notes: it’s important to ensure that the chores you delegate to your kids are age-appropriate, and you may want to increase the kids’ allowance during the summer to compensate them for their increased contributions to the work of the home.)

4. Have your babysitter plan fun, active, creative, or educational activities for your kids. How about a field trip to your local art museum? Spending a day painting pottery at a greenware pottery retailer? Hiking a nearby nature trail, learning about local vegetation and wildlife? Getting involved in fun events at your local public library?

By planning ahead, for what works best when kids get out of school, throughout the summer, and when the kids transition back into the fall school term, you will help create an organized, fun, productive summer for yourself and your kids.

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