My kids are home all the time, I promise you can survive summer break.
I’ve been homeschooling my kids since two were in preschool and one was in kindergarten. They are finishing up third and fourth grades right now which means it’s never really been quiet around here for longer than the average toddler nap time.
When I tell people we homeschool they have one of two answers: I wish we could do that or I could never do that. People either want to have their kids home more or couldn’t imagine having their kids home a second longer than they already are.
If you are in the latter group and you’re dreading the long summer break ahead, here are some tips on how to make the most of the summer days ahead.
Get enough sleep
You might be itching to keep your kids on a tight schedule this summer but let them sleep. One of my favorite benefits of homeschooling is having well-rested kids. There are plenty of reasons for late nights or early mornings but summer is the perfect time to let everyone sleep when they need to and enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee or two while you can still hear yourself think.
Give up on the mess
We’ve all seen those signs about not minding the mess because our kids live here. This is SO true for homeschooling families and you might need to adopt the same mantra for the summer break. Keeping the house clean while the kids are home all day is a losing battle. Making peace with the mess will make everyone’s days easier.
Misery loves company
Chances are you have a friend or 20 who is staring at their summer calendar in a panic too. Plan summer playdates with your own mental health in mind. A few hours with someone who understands how badly you don’t want to cook another dinner that no one will eat can totally turn your day around, even if you’re both pushing wagons through the 90 degree heat.
Find the empty places
Every homeschool mom will tell you that a huge perk of homeschooling is having kid-friendly places to yourself during the day. My kids don’t even know what to do with themselves when we head to an overcrowded park. Find somewhere that might not be the most popular summer destination and take the kids there. There’s something really freeing about having a place to yourself and it takes the stress off of worrying about everyone’s behavior every second.
Surprise your kids with a messy day or two and make sure you join them. Let them get out the paints and the glitter and whatever else they have that usually gets an immediate “no” from you. Take it all outside if that keeps your heart rate down. The kids will be grateful for the unexpected treat and I promise your stress level will go down if you participate. I forgot how relaxing painting was until I jumped in and tried it again with my kids. And play dough? It might stick to your carpet but it’s a great stress reliever if you knead it with the kids or mix in a relaxing scent.
If all else fails, start counting.- Our kids have 18 summers of childhood and if you’re like me your kids are more than halfway there. They truly have so few days of unscheduled, unrushed time at home and this summer might be your family’s only time to enjoy it.
So breathe in that summer air and SPF 80 and remind yourself that this summer will be over before you know it. You’ll be in the groove of having your kids home with you each and every day just in time to send them back to school again.
Image via Getty