Because of how I function best, our summer vacations always include scheduled gym workouts, swimming lessons, library outings, and sports and dance camps. I leave time, however, usually in the afternoons, for the kids and I to try something new, repeat a favorite activity, play with friends, catch up on what needs to be done around the house, or just relax at home.
Three summers ago I created a Summer Bucket List to help us fill those summer afternoons. We accomplished two-thirds of our lengthy list, but because I'd overzealously anticipated crossing off every activity, at the end of our three-month vacation I felt like we'd "failed" summer.
Two summers ago I created a second Summer Bucket List, similar to the prior year's except shorter. This time around we made it through almost everything on our list, but when the end of August rolled around, I was too tired from all of our activities to appreciate the "victory".
Last summer I bailed on the Summer Bucket List tradition and opted to implement a Pinterest-inspired, three-pronged "Jars of Gold" system. We set up three jars - I'm Bored, I've Been Good, and We've Been Fighting - to help reinforce positive behavior and redirect negative behavior. It did NOT go well.
That brings us to this summer. No bucket list. No jars. Here's what we do have:
A calendar full of lessons and camps but that includes large blocks of free time.
|No color-coding this year. I like writing
in pencil - which comes with the option
to erase - much better.
|Hallie cries over homework during
the school year but loves summer
homework. Go figure.
|The kids seemed legitimately pleased when
I hung this guide on the refrigerator. I think
they appreciate its straight-forwardness.
I can tell already - just two-and-a-half days into summer vacation - that both Will and Hallie like knowing what I expect of them but also appreciate having a little freedom within that larger framework…it seems they're like their mama in that way.
Let's hope this is the year we finally get it right with summer planning and spontaneity!
Tell me, how do you organize your summer? Or do you throw all schedules out the window?