Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Survival Tips

This is... what? Week 4 of summer vacation?

I had this great idea 3 weeks ago. If I would post my Summer Survival Tips, than you all would share your Summer Survival Tips and I would have a better chance of staying sane.

I think of others. 

Some of you might be wondering what is wrong with me. How could summer vacation be less than pure joy. To that I ask: are you a mother? 

I love my kids. Dearly. Of course I do. It's just that we have so many hours together. And the library isn't open all day everyday. 

So here are some of the things we are doing this summer:

A great idea from my friend Lynette, is reusable chore/incentive charts. Simply slide pretty charts into clear pages and let the kids fill them out with dry erase markers. Next week, erase and go. Brilliant.

One of the things we are working on this summer is picking up dirty clothes. And towels. I wonder why this is difficult and then I see my own closet. Hypocrite.

Anyway, this is about training my kids, not me. 

So I finally bought them all different towels so I can tell who the Wet Towel Culprit is. Aha! 

The beautiful thing about the above mentioned incentive chart is it's tied to family activities. Things we do anyway all love to do. 

So the days my kids get 6 out of 8 on their charts, they get a square. So we went to Silver Beach yesterday because the kids earned the trip. 

My kids are old enough now to read independently. I love it! Our library's reading program has more activities than reading so we are just doing our own reading program. We set aside 30-40 minutes after lunch for quiet reading time. When the 3 oldest have their charts filled out I'm gonna think of a really cool prize. Any ideas? So far I've got ice cream cones or cold hard cash.

And I'll confess, we do follow a loose schedule. Very loose. 

Basically we have morning chores after we get ready for the day and we all help clean up lunch and dinner. Trying to the same thing every morning really helps us.

Another thing that keeps me sane is video game tokens. I give my son (the addict) 10 tokens for the week and he can play until his tokens run out. Therefore, I am not the Bad Guy saying no 6x a day.

The same goes for TV. They can watch 1 show every day, whenever they are all ready. I am not part of that conversation. They know how things go and they know what shows they are aloud to watch. End of whine fest.

Other ideas we use at our home:

* The Special Plate. Whoever is setting the table for dinner can choose a person to give the Special Plate to. After prayer they tell the family something special that siblings or parent did that day. 

* On-time Dimes. A cup full of dimes in the van for any kid who beats the parents out. Ten days on time = $1. Thank you Priscilla!

* Timer for Chores. Some of my nameless kids have a hard time getting chores done unless I'm breathing down their necks. I don't like breathing down their necks. The timer helps a lot. Sometimes we just set the timer for 5 minutes and do Wicked Fast Clean-up. It's almost fun.

* Weekly Dinner Menu. At the beginning of the week, I plan my meals for the week and make my grocery list. Granted, the menu is fluid and may change 20 times but it still seems to help. Which is why I am in love with my white board menu. 

* Personal Laundry Baskets. My plan has been: wash, fold and sort clothes. Place in each kids' basket and let each kid be responsible to put their own clothes away and return the basket. Recently I saw another mom did the washing and sorted directly into the individual baskets. The kids folded their own clothes and were paid a little to fold younger siblings clothes. That sounds like an upgrade to me.

So those are some things we do at our house. 

What is something that works well for your family? 
Something that has kept you from pulling out your hair? 

Now please share a Summer Survival Tip with me! 


  1. Love this!
    I'll be keeping these things in mind when I have kids in the future :)

  2. I LOVE that you have shared this!! I am def. going to use the chore thing! I have smaller kids right now, so I hate to say it but the public pool has kept me sane and very tan!! If we don't go to the pool and we are forced to stay home I let the kids play in water. Water and dirt are great!! I let them add soap from time to time, maybe to wash the van or the side of the house, or their little swimming pool! The things are never clean and I might have to give the van another wipe and rinse, but it keeps them busy and they get along, and I can relax a little!!