Monday, July 23, 2012

Kids and Christmas in July

It's almost July 25.  Okay.  Back to life.  Back to being Mommy, or Mom, as they now say.  I have four kids who are easily bored, or rather easily sucked into TV Land/Kindle/iTouch - the Matrix!  But I have a plan for combatting the lazy, hazy days of summer.  The Dog Days. 
Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time "the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies." according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.[1] - wikipedia
We'll see if it works. 

1.  Keep a tight schedule.  This is a copy of our schedule.  You have to come up with one that works for you.  I don't really think anything on it matters that much.  I don't think the time slots matter, the activities, the downtime/active time ratio - none of it matters.  It is merely the fact that the kids have something to reference to see what they might be doing.  I haven't heard one "I'm bored!"  since I hung it up, which was last week.  I put it on the inside of the cabinet while cleaning on Saturday and Annie came to me frantically saying, "Where did the schedule go?"  so it's back front and center on the fridge.  (It is literally front and center because it is the first thing you see when you come in the front door.  Neighbors must think I'm some kind of cruel dictator.)  For some reason it is empowering them to be able to choose what to do, but at the same time to have some parameters.  Let me know if it works for your kids.  I told them we could make a list of things they wanted to do, too...

2.  Oldies are goodies.  I am collecting old toys from around the house, we're talking blocks and Thomas trains, and putting them out for easy access.  I am not kidding - this works.  Summer is a time to rekindle our love affair with the vintage toys that remind us of childhood days when nothing was going on.  (I'd show pictures, but I'd mortify my kids!)

3.  Plan a few surprises.  Back to the 12 days thing.  I am also finding their old project kits, activity and sticker books, games, including an old croquet set we bought two summers ago, and I am putting them in gift bags to open each day.  We haven't done it today yet, but I'll let you know. 

4.  Record your days.  A few summers ago we kept an alphabet list on the chalkboard to fill in as we went.  A-Z - and we filled it all in.  This summer I am planning on taking staged pictures that go with a theme.  A few years ago I did this in my school where I asked everyone, students and teachers, to take a picture of themselves reading in their favorite spot and to share it in September.  We made a hallway display that showed people reading in the coolest places.  I'm not sure if my kids will be up for that, but I'll suggest it.  Maybe they'll want to take pictures of themselves riding or swimming or up in a tree.  Pictures in motion would be cool too.

5.  Write.  I really want the kids to have a journal of what they did this summer.  At dinner we are sharing three word sentences (sometimes 6) of what our days are like.  It came from GMA's Your Three Words, and another friend of mine who taught me 6 word memoirs.  (The youtube video here is really for adults, but there are other versions out there.) It is so much fun!  Try it out!

And, in the interest of full disclosure, lest you think I have it all together or am super-organized and all that, this is what I should've been doing all morning...

Have a Summer Day!

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