I am so excited to be home for a week with hopefully no where to go.
I want to sleep in.
I want to eat a late breakfast.
I want to not worry about packed lunches.
I want to relax and be lazy.
There’s a whole lot of “I” in the spring break that exists in my mind. And somehow that spring break isn’t the one of reality.
The reality of it looks like this:
The kids wake up at 6:30 am, get dressed, and are eating breakfast by 7 am. They find something to play with, color, or build until approximately 9 am. Then they loudly announce, “When are we leaving?” “What are we doing today?” “What’s the plan?” (That last one comes from Caroline. She likes to know “the plan” for every day.)
Inevitably I say we’ll be staying home today to relax and play. At first they’re excited. They may or may not play without fighting until after lunch time. Then they seem to get tired and cranky until their second wind kicks in and they get a little too excitable and “crazy” because they’re restless.
As the days of the week continue, their revolt against no schedule increases. By Wednesday there’s fighting by 8 am and tears by lunch.
They crave routine. Spring break always reminds me that I need to be better prepared for the summer. I should have looked at sites like PlayYourCourt.com for tennis and sports for kids or planned something for the kids to do at least. This is a lesson for the next summer vacation. To be more prepared.
I know of a few families who are taking their kids on holiday, as this is something they had planned for a while. The kids then have something to look forward to even before they start their summer vacation. Like I said, next time I want to be prepared. One day, I might even surprise them with a holiday! Who knows? Saying that though, looking into Auckland campervan hire companies, for example, may not be such a bad idea, especially as planning for a vacation can take some time.
As excited as everyone is for summer, the transition to summer vacation can be a difficult one for many children. The allure of summer is what’s so appealing: no early wake-ups, no packing lunches, no homework struggles, etc. It seems like summer vacation is the answer to all the struggles of the school year.
It’s important to remember, though, that for some kids, this transition needs to be done slowly.
Here are some things to remember as your family makes this transition:
Keep the routine in the beginning
Your children have spent the last 9 months on a routine of getting up early, getting dressed, and out the door. I know you want to ditch waking up early and I don’t think you need to set an alarm at this point. However, it’s important to still get up and dressed and moving early in the morning. You don’t necessarily need to get out of the house but I prefer to for the first 2-3 days. We’ll make a trip to the bank, the grocery store, or a park. This way when we get home it’s time for a snack or lunch. I’ve even been known to just go to the ATM to take out money that I don’t need to get the kids out of the house. I know that might sound ridiculous but it really does help.
Ask your kids what they want their summer to look like
Sometimes we have different expectations for the summer than our kids do. Expectations and reality can collide and make a whole family unhappy. You can make a bucket list or put all the activities they want to do in a jar and pick one out when you need an idea. Make sure that you are all getting your needs met.
Ease into a later bedtime
It sounds so fun to let our kids stay up late because of course we think they’ll sleep in, right? I always think of all the fun things we can do: play board games, watch a movie and eat popcorn, go for a walk with flashlights around the block. It’s fun at night but the morning can be miserable. They’re still on their internal alarm clock. Letting them stay up a little later every night is a good way to ease into a later bedtime. We start working on this before school lets out. It allows their body to naturally shift it’s circadian rhythms so their body still get an adequate amount of rest. This eliminates tiredness which we all know leads to crankiness and tantrums (because yes, tantrums still happen to older kids).
Schedule a few things
While some kids are great at finding their own things to do, some kids need some direction. Providing them with at least 1 scheduled thing a week and some loose activities at home will be helpful. I’m actually working on a few activities because I work from home and need to have some scheduled time to still work and write.
Don’t forget to budget
It can be difficult to keep track of how much you’re spending during the summer vacation. Day trips, food and new clothes can all quickly become expensive, especially if you’ve got a large family to look after. Try to plan and save money ahead of time. If you do run into money troubles during the summer months and are considering taking out a loan or borrowing money to make ends meet, then don’t panic, there are good alternatives to guarantor loans available.
Make the summer fun
We get 18 summers with our kids before they are adults. 18. It doesn’t sound like a lot when it’s put into that perspective. I want our kids to remember the summer as being a fun family time so I try to fill it with things that they want to do.
After a few days or a week (or two for some kids!), they’ll be completely accustomed to a summer schedule and then you can be as loose with your days as you’d like. The transition time will help make that easier for all of you.